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Diabetes mellitus is a serious medical disorder characterized by varying or persistently high blood sugar levels resulting from the defective secretion of the hormone insulin. It is a lifetime condition and has many possible complications.



Although there are no rules, it is proven that some risk factors could contribute to developing the gestational diabetes. Some of those are:

Age
It is proven that women older than 25 are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, although it can actually happen at any age.

Family or personal history
Several researches done in the past have proven that chance of developing gestational diabetes increases if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has type 2 diabetes.
 
Weight
It is reasonable that being overweight before pregnancy makes it more likely that you'll develop gestational diabetes. However, gaining weight during your pregnancy doesn't cause gestational diabetes.

Race
Some statistical data are indicating that woman is at increased risk if she is African American, Hispanic or American Indian.

Previous complicated pregnancy

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes

To screen for gestational diabetes, most doctors recommend a glucose tolerance test. The woman is given a solution of glucose to drink, and then the blood samples are taken and analyzed at different intervals to see how the body deals with the glucose over time. The experts do not agree on whether a pregnant women who is younger than 25 and has no other risk factors for gestational diabetes needs to have this test done. Another very useful test is a simple urine test. Unfortunately it isn't a reliable indicator of gestational diabetes because the amount of sugar in your urine can vary throughout the day as a result of what a woman was eating.

Treatment of diabetes in pregnancy - Controlling body sugar


Diet

A pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with diabetes should follow a diet designed especially for her.  The number of calories a pregnant woman with diabetes should eat depends upon many factors, including weight, stage of pregnancy and baby’s rate of growth. However, there are some rules that should be followed. A pregnant woman with diabetes who is of average weight should consume about 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day.

This should help her gain the recommended 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.

The dietitian will most likely recommend a diet that includes:

  • 10 to 20 percent of calories from protein (meat, poultry, fish, legumes);
  • about 30 percent from fats (with less than 10 percent from saturated fats);
  • avoiding the sweets.


Home glucose testing kits are also available. These usually involve taking a tiny blood sample with a pinprick device. The blood is put onto a strip and inserted into a glucose measuring device, which gives the blood glucose level.

Regular exercise

Exercise can help control diabetes by prompting the body to use insulin more efficiently and is recommended for most women with gestational diabetes and some women with preexisting diabetes. Not only that but regular exercise can help prevent some of the discomforts of pregnancy, such as:

  • back pain,
  • muscle cramps,
  • swelling,
  • constipation
  • difficulty sleeping

It can also help prepare you for labor and delivery. Woman shouldn’t practice some hard exercises. She should aim for moderate aerobic exercise on most days. For best results, aerobic activity should be combined with stretching and strength-training exercises. Exercising at the same time every day, varying your fitness routine and working out with other pregnant women can help a woman stay motivated.

Medications

Sometimes diet and exercise may not be enough. In that case, a pregnant woman should take daily medication to help lower her blood sugar to safe levels. The most commonly used substance is of course the insulin! Until recently, insulin was the only option for women with gestational diabetes because it doesn't cross the placental barrier. But there is a new anti-diabetes drug, Glyburide, which may also be safe and effective in controlling blood sugar in gestational diabetes.

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