Pregnancy is a beautiful journey where a woman discovers a lot about herself, her body, her emotions, her relationships, her strengths. While she embarks on this journey there are a few risks that she has to face. Afterall creating a new human life within her is not easy. Reproduction for that matter is the most common natural phenomena, however, each day comes with its own challenges.
Gestational Diabetes is one such risk that can be harmful to the baby if not managed very well. It is a temporary rise in blood glucose levels during pregnancy. There are some factors that expose you to the risk a little more than others. I was one such pregnant woman who was at risk of being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). I had a family history of Type II Diabetes and I was myself overweight. With the help of my doctor and appropriate discipline during the 9 months, I was able to manage the risk of GDM without taking any insulin or other medication
From my experience, these are some tips to manage the GDM.
- Take test earlier – If you are amongst the risk group for the GDM, it is better to get screened earlier in the pregnancy. Usually, the women are screened during 26-28 weeks. I was personally screened in the 13th week. Being diagnosed on the higher side of the GTT nos earlier in the pregnancy is always better than later. I was on higher side on the 1 hour parameter and my doctor advised that I could avoid taking insulin if I managed my sugar levels well throughout.
- Monitor your sugar levels – Get a blood glucose monitor and screen yourself every single day for fasting and post-meal. Discuss the blood glucose levels to be maintained with the doctor. The numbers that I had to maintain were : fasting < 5.3mmol or 95mg and postmeal < 6.8mmol or 120 mg. These numbers are lower than what is prescribed as normal for a non-diabetic person. So maintaining these numbers takes a good amount of effort.
- Watch what triggers sugar spike – Within a few days of monitoring fasting and post meal bgl I knew very well what foods triggered the sugar spike in me. When I had rice or products made of refined flour my nos went high. So usually starchy products and direct sugar are culprits. Having at least 50 gms protein in each meal helped me keep the sugar levels in control.
- Eat after every 3 hours – A tried and tested way to keep sugar levels in control is eating small portions every 3 hours. Even if it was a handful of nuts, a boiled egg or a fruit, not starving for more than 3 hours made a huge difference.
- Exercise makes a big difference -Walking 30 mins a day is a blessing for GDM management. Sometimes when I felt tired, splitting the 30 minutes into 2 sessions of 15 minutes each was always helpful.
- Calm mind, calm body – Meditation and breathing exercises during pregnancy helps to fight anxiety and keep mind calm. Sugar spike is directly related to increasing in stress. So the more u manage your anxiety and stress less is the risk of a sugar spike.
- Choose right GI foods – Foods with lower Glycemic Index are better than one with high GI. The high GI foods spike the BGL levels within a short time. Now-a-days one can find low GI options in almost all products including breads, jams, breakfast cereals, rice etc. Opt for these varieties of foods.
- Get adequate rest – A sound sleep and a good rest will help to bring the fasting blood glucose levels down. With growing belly and frequent trips to the restroom, this can be a little difficult. Gauge what works for you in terms of soft music, sleep meditation or for that matter reading a book to sleep. Whatever helps you sleep better should be your favorite activity before sleep.
- Midnight snack options – With a growing baby inside a woman can have frequent urge to eat or binge. This can knock you out of sleep in the middle of the night. To make sure that fasting sugar levels are not hampered choose a right midnight snack. Choose options that have more protein than sugar. A nut protein bar, nuts mix, Brown bread toast, carrot and celery sticks with dips or even oat snacks can be a few options.
- Keep the weight gain in check – Too much increase in weight during pregnancy can pose a risk to the blood glucose levels. Try to keep the weight gain in the limit as per your own BMI.
These are some things that I followed with a very strong determination. Until I delivered my baby my BGL were in control. If I was reckless in managing them I would have to be put on insulin and would also have chances of being induced into labor earlier than the due date.
With 9 months of discipline and will power my healthy baby was born on her due date through natural birth.
When I look back I realize that a woman is so powerful.
Pregnancy is not just about a strong body but more about a strong mind.