What Should Mothers with Gestational Diabetes Be Doing After Childbirth?

What should mothers with Gestational Diabetes be doing after childbirth (1) - Tian Wei Signature

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy. It is different from type 1 diabetes where it is caused by having too little insulin. Instead, it happens because the hormone(s) created by the placenta during pregnancy does not allow the body to use insulin effectively; this is called insulin resistance. When that happens, blood sugar is not absorbed by the body but builds up in the blood.

Although gestational diabetes typically goes away after childbirth, the possibility of it staying and maybe causing the development of type 2 diabetes later on is not nil.

How do you know if you have it?

Now, any woman can develop gestational diabetes, however, there is a higher risk in those who:-

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy
  • Are over the age of 25
  • Are prediabetic
  • Have high blood pressure

While there are no specific symptoms that could directly indicate the occurrence of gestational diabetes, there are some signs that could point in the direction, and also tests to confirm.

The symptoms include:-

  • Urinating more than normal
  • Feeling hungrier than usual
  • Feeling thirstier than usual
  • Having blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Losing weight despite feeling hungry or for no reason
  • Constantly feeling tired/fatigue

That said, the symptoms may not necessarily mean that you have gestational diabetes. Which is why there are tests that are done around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

  • One-hour blood sugar/glucose tolerance test

This is where a beverage high in sugar is to be taken, and blood sugar levels are checked 1 hour after. Having higher than normal blood sugar levels will mean that there is a possibility of gestational diabetes.

  • Three-hour blood sugar/glucose tolerance test

This second test will confirm the occurrence of gestational diabetes. Another beverage, this time with even more sugar, is taken, and blood sugar levels will be checked 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after. If at least 2 of the measurements show higher than normal readings, it is a confirmation of gestational diabetes. 

What can you do to manage it?

It might be very scary to know that anyone can get gestational diabetes. But do not worry. With the right care and monitoring, it becomes easier to manage. And here are some steps you can take to do so. 

1. Exercise regularly

What should mothers with Gestational Diabetes be doing after childbirth (2) - Tian Wei Signature

Fat can get easily stored in the body during and after pregnancy, especially when you are eating more and do not get enough exercise. Hence, regular, moderate-intensity exercise would help to improve insulin resistance and encourage uptake of glucose into the body cells which in turn would be good for you to manage gestational diabetes or delay the possibility of type 2 diabetes. You could have a routine walk, go for a swim, or even play with children.

2. Get tested for diabetes

Gestational diabetes usually goes away within a few weeks of childbirth. So, at the 6th to 12th week mark after delivery, it is crucial to get tested, and even every 1 to 3 years after. This is because those who experienced gestational diabetes have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life. Thus, monitoring your blood sugar levels will help keep you updated about your health.

3. Monitor blood sugar habitually

Blood sugar levels change due to the body’s need for energy at different timings, even more so when you are pregnant. If you do have gestational diabetes, checking your blood sugar regularly will tell you if you’re on the right track and helps you to understand your diet better.

4. Eat healthy

Food is of the utmost importance. With gestational diabetes, if you could refer to a dietitian, it would be even better as he or she would be able to plan meals to suit your needs and even help you control your blood sugar levels. Balanced, nourishing meals are ideal for general health for both mother and child, be it during or after delivery. Having a healthy diet goes a long way.

5. Be consistent

This is easier said than done, but being consistent is part of the key process of regulating your blood sugar levels well with gestational diabetes.Thus, it’s a good idea to keep your meals to only a select few restaurants that you would go if you do eat out, similarly cooking similar combinations of meals if you eat at home. This is so that type of carbohydrate and portion sizes can remain the same and be consistent. When there’s a spike or a dip in sugar levels, it will be easy for you to identify and compensate accordingly.

And this is why you need the best confinement food you can get after childbirth. When it comes to confinement food breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all equally important and should be nutritious and healthy to aid in your recovery and health.
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