New Delhi: Every year on International Women’s Day, there’s talk of celebrating the essence of being a woman. But seldom does anybody highlight how important it is for a woman or a man to stay healthy and not ignore their body. Since Woman’s Day is knocking at the door (March 8), we thought of throwing some light on the lesser talked-about health condition faced by women during pregnancy – Gestational Diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is basically women developing high blood sugars between the 24th to 28th week of their pregnancy, who otherwise are not diabetic.
Around 2 to 5 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes.
The possible long term negative impact of it is “increased risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney problems and Cancers,” shares Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, and Senior Diabetologist and Physician at Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital.
She also added that Maternal Hyperglycemia or high uncontrolled sugars for a long time can lead to obesity, development of Insulin Resistance and Neuro-Cognitive problems in the baby.
There are some factors that increase your chances of experiencing Gestational diabetes.
“Those who are overweight or obese, lead a sedentary lifestyle, are smokers, those who’ve had Gestational Diabetes in earlier pregnancy or whose close relatives like parents or siblings are diabetic, are at increased risk,” reveals Dr Ingale.
HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
While it is not 100 percent possible to prevent Gestational Diabetes, there are lifestyle changes that can possibly delay or reduce the risk of women developing this condition. They are:
- Maintaining a healthy desired weight since pre-conception and throughout the pregnancy.
- Following a healthy diet – Avoid food with a high Glycaemic Index, high carbohydrates and saturated trans fats. Go for lean proteins and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits as per recommendation.
- Avoiding sweets, colas, deep-fried food, and fast foods.
- Exercising regularly.
- Practising relaxation techniques and yoga.
- Taking adequate sleep.
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol.
- Regular check-ups with your physician – it is very important as you may not be able to understand and monitor yourself, the way your physician does.
WHY TALKING ABOUT GESTATIONAL DIABETES IS IMPORTANT?
Talking about a general lack of awareness about gestational diabetes in India and how it is impacting the lives of women, Dr Ingale said, “Awareness about gestational diabetes is poor in our country. Doctors and paramedics can play an important role in creating awareness about the same. This awareness will help women prepare for future pregnancies by taking proper care of themselves – maintain a healthy weight, healthy eating habits and exercise so that both maternal and fetal complications can be prevented.”
She further added, “With this, the lady may not progress towards type 2 Diabetes and also the baby may be safeguarded from many complications in later life. It is said that Gestational Diabetes should be taken as a perfect window of opportunity to prevent type 2 Diabetes in the next two generations.”
Now, that you are aware of gestational diabetes and the lifestyle changes that can help you prevent it, go share it with your female friends, so that whenever you or they plan to embark on the journey of motherhood, you are better prepared.
Stay healthy, happy and celebrate your womanhood daily.