Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: Treatment, Prevention, Recovery, Coping
Usually gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM and its symptoms goes away as soon as soon as baby is delivered but it can increase the possibility of type 2 diabetes in mother. Thus it is recommended to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels after pregnancy. This article explains about the treatment for gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM, prevention, recovery period/healing time, coping, prognosis/outlook.
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
It is important in case of gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM to keep a close watch on blood sugar count during pregnancy and keep it within the safe range. Even after delivery, it is necessary to monitor for any rise in blood sugar level. Following as some of the strategies adopted for the treatment:
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar:
You would be asked to monitor blood sugar count four to five times in a day starting including early morning just as you get up and then after every meal during the day.
While it can be very tough for you initially but gradually it will become easier.
It is very simple to measure blood sugar count with blood glucose meter. All you need to do is use the small needle (lancet) to draw a drop of blood and carefully allow it to move on the tip of test strip after inserting it into the meter.
Doctor would carefully monitor your blood sugar level during labour and delivery as any increase in the level can trigger your baby’s pancreas to release more insulin resulting into low blood sugar count in baby just after the birth.
The blood sugar levels are also monitored in a women after pregnancy at regular intervals as there is a risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, you can reduce the risk by following healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercising regularly.
- Healthy Diet is the Best Treatment for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: It is important to include healthy nutritious food in your diet and watch your meals to prevent excessive weight gain and minimize risk of complications. However, losing your body weight during the pregnancy is not recommended as your body needs to support your baby’s growing requirements but you can always set up a target weight before pregnancy after consulting with your doctor. It is recommended to include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grain in your diet to treat gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM as they provide fiber and nutrition with little space for calories and fats. Highly refined carbohydrates must also be avoided. The best way is to fix an appointment with registered dietetion who would help you prepare a diet plan that can fulfil nutritional and energy requirements of your body, keeping in mind your weight gain goals, current weight, food preferences, exercise habits, blood sugar levels and budget.
- Daily Exercise to Treat Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: Women can ensure a good health with lesser complications before after and during pregnancy by following a exercising regularly. Exercise increases demand of energy in the body which forces glucose into cells, thus resulting into lower blood sugar count. Exercises also enhances the sensitivity of cells towards insulin resulting lesser requirement of insulin. Apart from rectifying blood sugar levels, exercising also helps in making your pregnancy easier by relieving you from common problems such as muscle cramps, back pain, constipation, swelling and difficulty in sleeping. Exercise also prepares you for the labor and delivery which is tough on the body. Always consult with your doctor to determine the right set of exercises. Initially you need to go slow and then build on gradually increasing your work outs including swimming, brisk walking, cycling etc... Even simple household activities and gardening can also help.
- Medication is Yet Another Way to Treat Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: In case of some women who are unable control their blood sugar level with exercise and diet, doctors usually recommend insulin injections as the last measure for keeping blood sugar count with safe range. On an average, 10 to 20% of women suffering from gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM have to rely on insulin. Some doctors also recommend oral medications for controlling blood sugar count but most of the experts feel that it is not as effective as insulin injections.
- Close Monitoring of Your Baby: In case of gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM, it is important to monitor growth of baby in the womb to ensure good health. Your doctor may use some specialized tests like ultrasound to monitor the growth of baby. Also if the women misses the due date of labour, doctor would induce labour through medications as delay in labour can result into complications.
Prevention of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
There are no methods that can guarantee prevention against gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. However, it is always good to adopt healthy lifestyle before pregnancy including good diet and exercise. Moreover, if you have already experienced gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM during pregnancy, these healthy habits can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In future.
- Eat Healthy Foods to Prevent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: It is always good to include more fiber and less fat and calories in your diet to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. Vegetables, fruits and whole grain are good for health. If you will include variety in your diet, it will be lot easier for you to follow a good diet without compromising with your taste.
- Another Way to Prevent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM is to Become More Active: Exercising is very helpful in reducing the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM if followed before and during the pregnancy. Usually a 30 minutes routine of exercises including brisk walking, cycling, swimming etc can do the job. You can also break it down into shorter spells of exercises. You can also make yourself walk by parking at a distance or getting off the bus one stop earlier as every single step is key to good health.
- Lose Excess Pounds Before Pregnancy to Prevent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM: While it is not recommended to try losing your weight during pregnancy, it is always good to do it before you get pregnant as it helps in reducing complications during pregnancy. Encourage yourself towards a healthy lifestyle by recalling advantages of staying healthy. Follow a good diet and exercise regularly.
Recovery Period/Healing Time for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
The period of recovery or healing time is not fixed for gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM and changes from one individual to another as it depends of intensity of problem and type of treatment adopted. Thus, you must refer to your doctor to know about the precise recovery period or any questions about reoccurrence for next pregnancy.
Coping with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
You can easily get stressed if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM as it can be harmful for your baby. However, you can avoid any complications due to gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM in pregnancy as long as you maintain proper blood sugar count and following healthy lifestyle with good diet and regular exercise. It can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in future.
Gathering more information about gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM is always helpful as it makes you more aware of the problems and how to manage them effectively. You can read about gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM in books and internet and can also refer to your doctor. There are various support groups who can help your cope up with problems of gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM.
Prognosis/Outlook for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
The prognosis/outlook for gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM is good if necessary precations and timely treatment is taken. It is usual for a women to develop diabetes during pregnancy. However, it does not affect your pregnancy as long as you maintain proper blood sugar levels. Women who develop gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM during pregnancy tend to give birth to larger babies which can result into various complications while giving birth to baby like:
- Injuries to baby (trauma) due to excessive size of baby.
- Increased chances of surgery for delivering baby.
Also baby can experience low blood sugar count (hypoglycemia), especially during the very first week after the birth. There is also increased risk of high blood pressure in pregnant mother due to gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM.
After delivery of the baby:
- Usually blood sugar count returns to normal.
- However, there is risk of developing type 2 diabetes in future somewhere between 5-10 years post delivery. Thus, you doctor would ask for follow-up appointments to monitor your condition.