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How can gestational diabetes be treated?

The treatment of gestational diabetes must be strictly followed as persistent sugar levels in pregnancy can harm both the mother and the baby. Management always includes special diet regimens, physical activity and may also require insulin injections and glucose monitoring. If gestational diabetes is confirmed, the treatment should be immediate as persistently high sugar levels in pregnancy can harm both the mother and foetus.

Managing Gestational Diabetes:

  • Appropriate dietary changes that may include:
    • A balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables
    • Restricting fat intake to 30% or less than the daily calories
    • Eating food rich in unsaturated fats such as
      – Nuts and seeds
      – Soybean, corn, sunflower oil
      – Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.
  • Follow the dietary plan prescribed by the dietician. It’s important to write down everything one eats to keep track of weight. Appropriate dietary changes that may include:
  • More frequent monitoring of blood glucose (advised by the diabetes expert along with individual targets of blood glucose) This will include doing a home blood sugar test one or more times a day. If you know that your blood sugar level is within target, you will be at ease.
  • Increased physical activity
  • Moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, particularly aerobic exercise – brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or low-impact aerobics
  • Avoid activities which may hit your stomach or risk a fall
  • In the third trimester, one should avoid exercise on the back as blood flow to the baby may be restricted.
  • Controlling weight gain during pregnancy helps prevent type 2 diabetes in future
  • Sometimes Medication
    • If blood sugar cannot be controlled over first one to two weeks with lifestyle changes, doctor can advise you medication, mainly insulin injections or oral anti-diabetics if necessary.
  • Monitoring foetal well-being

Monitoring foetal movements, or kick counts, helps a doctor find out if the foetus is moving less than usual. Foetal ultrasounds reveal how well the baby is growing and a non-stress test shows how well the baby’s heart responds to movement.

As per the physician’s suggestion, the woman may require to regular check the sugar levels and Indian guidelines recommend the below targets:

Target for women with gestational diabetes (to be confirmed after discussion with your physician)

Time point of blood sugar testing Sugar level
Before meals and when you wake up Around 90 mg/dL
2 hours after eating Around 120 mg/dL