Women go through a lot of problems during pregnancy. Constipation, anemia, back pain, heartburn, cold, cough, infections are just some in this list. Most of these are not dangerous, but you should consult your doctor to treat them before they cause any complications. Just a few changes in your diet and lifestyle can make you healthier and avoid risks. In this blog, we talk about one problem that is common among pregnant women in India - sugar in pregnancy.
If you have sugar in pregnancy, this blog will help you understand the reason for this condition and how you can control it.
What is sugar in pregnancy?
Sugar in your blood comes from the food you eat. This sugar is used as energy in your body. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which controls the blood sugar by making sure that the sugar is used properly to get energy. When insulin does not get produced properly, the sugar remains in your blood. This causes high blood sugar, leading to diabetes.
Sugar in pregnancy is also known as Gestational Diabetes. This type of diabetes only happens during pregnancy. It is a common condition that can be easily treated if detected early. If sugar in pregnancy is not treated, it can cause many problems during the delivery of your baby.
Don’t worry. If you did not have diabetes before, it won’t continue now. After your baby is born, gestational diabetes, or sugar in pregnancy, usually goes away.
What causes sugar in pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your placenta produces hormones that can increase the sugar in your blood. If your body does not produce enough insulin to control this, you might get gestational diabetes. You are at a higher risk of getting sugar in pregnancy in the following cases:
- If you already have diabetes
- If you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- If you have a history of diabetes in your family
- If you were overweight before pregnancy
- If you have high BP (blood pressure) or other medical conditions
As sugar in pregnancy is a common condition, your doctor will do frequent tests to check your sugar level. But even you should inform your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms.
What are the risks of sugar in pregnancy to you?
If you have sugar in pregnancy, it can cause many complications to you like:
- Premature delivery
- Cesarean delivery
- High BP (gestational hypertension)
- Gestational diabetes in next pregnancy
What are the risks of sugar in pregnancy to your baby?
If you have sugar in pregnancy, it can cause health risks to your baby as well like:
- Your baby might put on extra weight, so he/she might grow larger than a normal baby. This condition is called macrosomia. This can cause problems during delivery.
- To deal with the high blood sugar, your baby’s body might produce extra insulin. After birth, this can cause low blood sugar in your baby. This condition is called hypoglycemia.
What are the symptoms of sugar in pregnancy?
You may not really notice any clear symptoms for sugar in pregnancy. These are a few symptoms to look for, which are similar to the symptoms of regular diabetes:
- Feeling very hungry or very thirsty throughout the day
- Frequent urination
- Feeling weak and tired
- Blurry vision
These symptoms may not be noticeable until your second trimester. So it is better to have regular health checkups that can detect high blood sugar.
How is blood sugar level tested?
Sugar in pregnancy can be confirmed only after checking the blood sugar level in your body. Here we have listed the type of tests that are done to detect high blood sugar. Your doctor might do these tests to check for sugar in pregnancy:
- Glucose screening test: Your doctor will provide a juice with a high amount of glucose. After one hour, your blood sample will be taken and tested. If the blood glucose is high, you will have to take more tests.
- Glucose tolerance test: This test is done after overnight fasting. Again, you will be given a juice with a high amount of glucose. Your blood sample will be taken before you drink the juice, and once again, an hour after drinking the juice. The blood glucose levels in both these samples will be compared. This will give a clear indication of your blood sugar level.
How to reduce high blood sugar?
Your doctor may provide you with the necessary medicines for dealing with sugar in pregnancy. He/she might also increase your folic acid dosage. You should lead a healthy and fit lifestyle and do a little exercise daily.
- Take your medicines on time.
- Check your blood sugar level regularly using a home glucose meter.
- If your doctor has prescribed insulin injections, keep the injections with you at all times.
Your food habits are very important during this time. Eating healthy food with less sugar can keep your sugar level in control.
- Avoid junk food.
- Change your diet to eat more protein-rich food like egg, paneer and chana.
- Reduce your sugar intake. If you feel like eating something sweet, eat fruits like apples.
You can do the following activities which can control your high blood sugar:
Walking barefoot on grass: This is a general suggestion for any type of diabetes. So, you can do this while you are pregnant as well. Walk for at least 30 minutes every morning or evening. This will keep your sugar in control.
Yoga: You can do yoga if you have sugar in pregnancy. There are a few yoga poses that help in controlling the blood sugar level in your body. Some helpful yoga poses are konasana, trikonasana, virabhadrasana and marjariasana.
Only do yoga if you are comfortable. Always practice the yoga poses with an expert.
Precautions for your baby’s health after birth
If you have sugar in pregnancy, it can affect your baby even after birth. You should take care of your baby’s health as he/she will be under the risk of getting diabetes until 15 years of age. Keep track of your child’s weight and do regular health checkups for your child. This way, you can take the necessary steps to make sure that your child does not get diabetes.
By keeping your blood sugar level in control, you can easily avoid sugar in pregnancy. All you need to do is take good care of your diet and lifestyle. Ask your husband for help and support during this time to reduce your blood sugar. Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor in case of any doubts so that you can be safe and healthy throughout your pregnancy.