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Gestational diabetes mellitus is any degree of glucose intolerance with the onset or first recognition during pregnancy. This is irrespective of the form of treatment or whether it continues after pregnancy. Its prevalence may range from 1-14 percent, depending on the population, age, comorbid factors, weight, and Body Mass Index. Almost 4 percent of all pregnancies have complications, due to gestational diabetes mellitus.
A lot of changes happen during pregnancy, major ones being hormonal fluctuations. The hormones cortisol and estrogen increase, as the pregnancy progresses, leading to insulin resistance and increase in sugar levels. The maximum effect of these hormones is seen from the 26th to 33rd weeks. Thus, the screening of gestational diabetes happens between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.
Regular monitoring of sugar levels can keep the baby and the mother away from complications.
Diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus is carried out by doing a glucose tolerance test. In this test, 75 gm of glucose is given to the patient and the sugar levels are monitored after two hours. The cut-off value is >140 mg/dl, and anything above 120 mg/dl regular monitoring is required.
Physiotherapy plays a vital role in this condition. Sedentary women are more prone to gestational diabetes as compared to women who have an active lifestyle. Both resistance and aerobic exercises must be included. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, exercises are recommended at least a minimum of three days a week.
It is recommended to walk 30-40 minutes, at least thrice a week, while resistance exercises are advised twice a week under supervision. A combination of both these exercises will gradually maintain/ reduce the sugar levels.
According to ACSM guidelines, FIIT principle is used for exercise
Frequency: 3-5 times a week
Intensity: Moderate to somewhat severe intensity, according to modified borg’s scale or 60-90 percent of HR max. These things are evaluated by your physiotherapist and an exercise plan is made for you.
Time: 30-40 minutes a day
Type: Combination of aerobic and resistance exercises of upper and lower limbs
Here’s what you MUST keep in mind about physiotheraphy for gestational diabetes:
So, now that we all are aware of the condition and physiotherapy, let’s spread the word!