February 25, 2010

Gestational Diabetes in Pregnant Women

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and is a condition where the woman has intolerance towards carbohydrates. This condition can be of variable severity, but mostly it disappears after the woman has given birth. The condition usually occurs when the tissues of the body become incapable of absorbing glucose from the blood stream. As a result, the glucose remains in the blood stream and is present in the blood. A lack of insulin is usually the cause of gestational diabetes.

The treatment for gestational diabetes doesn’t differ from the treatment for other forms of diabetes. Since sugar is present in most of the foods that we eat, it is also important to take care of the diet. Most doctors recommend a gestational diabetes diet plan in order to get rid of the high sugar levels in the blood. Some of the common food items that should be avoided are rice, potatoes, pasta, and refined flour breads. Glucose itself is stored in the muscles, fatty tissues, and the liver, and it is insulin that binds itself to the sugar to allow the body to absorb it. If insulin is present in low quantities, this digestion of sugar does not happen.

While generally in diabetes, the pancreas is at fault, it is not so in gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is caused due to the many additional hormones produced by the placenta. These additional hormones may interfere with the pancreas’ ability to synthesize the requisite amount of insulin. This condition is often also termed as ‘insulin resistance’.

For preventing gestational diabetes, women who are high risk are usually recommended to have control over their diet. Women, who are overweight, have a history of diabetes in the family, and have previously had a large baby or a stillborn baby, are usually considered at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Certain ethnic groups have a higher tendency of developing is condition as well.

There are no particular recognizable symptoms gestational diabetes during pregnancy.  A gestational diabetes diagnosis is usually performed as a part of the regular prenatal screening tests. All pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes during the twenty-fourth to twenty-eighth week of their pregnancy. If there are any particular symptoms, they are usually very mild and are never really life threatening.

For high risk pregnancies, preventing gestational diabetes during pregnancy is one of the primary motives of doctors. Women are usually made aware about the complications which could result from maintaining a certain lifestyle and are given recommendations for preventive measures that they can take. There may be several herbal remedies for gestational diabetes treatment. However, these too should not be used without a consultation with a doctor.

The gestational diabetes treatment options usually depend on the severity of the diabetes and the other risk factors involving the pregnancy. The goal of such treatment is almost always related to lowering the blood sugar levels in order to maintain a healthy one.

Herbal remedies for diabetes treatment are also used to bring down the sugar levels to the normal limits. Most of the milder forms of gestational diabetes can be treated with the help of a planned diet. Overall, the diet is used to reduce the amount of fats and simple sugars in the food. A diet that is high in protein but low in fat and carbohydrates may be recommended to women who have slightly higher blood sugar levels than normal. The total calorie intake is advised to be 30% less than recommended. Simple sugars should ideally be consumed in moderation. The help of a dietician can be taken to make further modifications in the diet and meal plans.