Dear pregnant women, this is how you can prevent gestational diabetes

Pregnancy might be a blissful time for mums-to-be, it is also a time of great concern because the risk of gestational diabetes is looming about.
gestational diabetes
Exercise and maintain your weight to stay safe from gestational diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 13 Oct 2023, 13:29 pm IST
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Pregnancy is a precarious time for women. While the thought of a wee-little baby changing your life completely is beautiful, it’s also a great time of concern for the well-being of the to-be-mother. After all, it is during this time that many otherwise healthy pregnant women develop high blood sugar levels–a condition called gestational diabetes.

While gestational diabetes has no marked symptoms, it can increase your risk of depression, preeclampsia, and even a Caesarean delivery. In fact, women who get diagnosed with it give birth to premature babies. There is also an increased risk of babies being born with low blood sugar and high birth weight.

But what causes gestational diabetes really?
The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not fully known, but it is associated with a variety of risk factors in women. These include being overweight, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, and insulin-resistance conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Women who have had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy and/or are expecting twins or triplets are also at a greater risk–according to researchers from Harvard Medical School.

Here’s how women can reduce their risk of gestational diabetes

1. Exercise
Since obesity is linked to gestational diabetes, exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy weight and staving the chance of the disease.

Scientists have found that structured moderate physical exercise programmes during pregnancy decrease the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus and diminish maternal weight gain.

Walking, jogging, yoga, and light exercise are all good ways of keeping the body fit and active. However, mums-to-be should definitely get a green signal from their doctors before engaging in any physical activity.

2. Maintain your body weight during pregnancy
Exercise is important during pregnancy–but it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage body weight before conceiving.

pregnancy weight
Don’t let the weighing scale move too much.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to a study published in the journal American Diabetes Association, being overweight is a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes.

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3. Eat well during pregnancy
You might crave for a certain food when you are pregnant, but experts opine that eating the right kind of food could go a long way in preventing this disease.

Eating foods that only allow a healthy amount of weight gain during each trimester can be a good way to your reduce risk. Lean protein, fish, tofu, healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, non-starchy vegetables and fruits could go a long way.

Researchers from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, Germany, say that eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids can also help.

4. Don’t skip regular appointments with your gynaecologist
Pregnant women must visit the gynaecologist regularly for routine care. Don’t miss even a single appointment as regular screening can help you get detect early signs of gestational diabetes.

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