Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)

Increased blood sugar level detected first time during pregnancy is called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. It may be asymptomatic which means that it is present but patient may not have any complaints. Women who have gestational diabetes need to watch their protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake carefully.

The high glucose levels in the mother’s blood stream causes increase in secretion of insulin in the foetus, leading to higher fat deposits in the foetus, large babies, premature labour, birth defects and even foetal death. It also increases the need for a caesarean section. The infants in such cases are at higher risk for breathing problems, low sugar levels immediately after birth and grow into children at risk for obesity and adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

During this time, some pregnant women experience increased stress. The usual symptoms of diabetes like increased hunger, thirst and urination may occur. Women who have gestational diabetes are more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes later in life, and in many cases at a much younger age.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes include:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Excessive Need To Urinate

Other environmental factors, in addition to lifestyle, also have a role in the development of gestational diabetes. Obesity, working-style, stress and pollution are major contributory factors of gestational diabetes. The primary reason is the change in dietary patterns and increased fatty ingredients in the diet has only worsened the situation. Also, people prefer heat-and-eat food which may be detrimental for metabolic complications of GDM.

While there is no sure-fire to prevent gestational diabetes, there are steps women can take to ensure no lasting damage is caused by it. Throughout the pregnancy, they must undergo routine blood testing because an early diagnosis is preferable. Preferably, the couple should consult an Endocrinologist as a part of preconception planning so that diabetes can be ruled out and hyperglycemia be effectively managed in case partner/patient has it. Exercise and a healthy diet are essential. It is imperative to take prescribed medication exactly as directed. They must also watch out for employment that would put them under a lot of stress during the time. Although all pregnant women are advised to take extra precautions, gestational diabetes patients must pay special attention and consult a doctor at best hospital for endocrinology as effective management is the key to a good outcome.

What to eat if you have Gestational Diabetes Mellitus?

A balanced diet is the key to properly managing gestational diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes should pay close attention to how much protein, carbohydrate, and fat they consume.

  • Carbohydrates: whole grains, brown rice, beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes, starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits should be preferred over refined flour, pasta and bakery item etc.
  • Protein: Pregnant women should eat two to three servings of protein each day. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu and dairy products.
  • Fat: Healthy fats to incorporate into your diet include unsalted nuts, seeds, olive oil and should avoid saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Doctor
    Dr. Vimal Upreti
    Associate Director
    Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology
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