GDM or gestational diabetes mellitus, as it is otherwise known, is a medical condition that affects a pregnant woman usually in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Any woman who has not had diabetes earlier but gets it only when she is pregnant, is said to suffer from gestational diabetes. The most effective way to combat this disease is to adhere to a strict diet plan for gestational diabetes.
In the normal course of digestion, carbohydrates in foods are broken down into glucose which is the main source of energy for the body. This glucose passes into the blood to give energy to the body with the help of a hormone called insulin produced by the pancreas. In gestational diabetes the blood glucose level of a pregnant woman rises to a level much higher than the normal level because her body is not able to produce the level of insulin required to break down the glucose in the blood so that the cells in the body can absorb it to produce energy. Hence the glucose keeps building up in the blood.
This happens because the placenta that connects the baby to the uterus of a pregnant woman and supplies nutrients from the mother to the developing baby produces hormones which interfere in the metabolism of glucose in the mother’s blood. Although the pancreas of a pregnant woman produces nearly three times the insulin normally produced in a woman. This happens to overcome the effects of the interference caused by the hormones released during pregnancy, many times it proves insufficient and this results in gestational diabetes.
About 200,000 pregnant women in the United States suffer from gestational diabetes every year. The majority of these patients are able to control their blood glucose through a diet plan for gestational diabetes. This is a diet plan which is prepared by a qualified dietitian or health professional and contains explicit details of food that the patient needs to eat every day in order to control her blood sugar level and keep it within the normal range. The diet plan for gestational diabetes takes into account the total number of calories to be consumed every day and lists a variety of foods to be taken in specific quantities at different times of the day in order to complete the daily calorific intake required to keep the patient in good health with sugar levels well in control.
A properly designed diet plan for gestational diabetes lists different foods from similar food groups. The patient can choose to avoid a monotonous menu during diabetic pregnancy. However, she needs to prepare a chart of what she eats every day in order to keep track of the calories ingested and make sure that she does not exceed the prescribed limits or take a low calorie diet that can adversely affect her health and make her weak.
To check if the blood glucose level of the patient is within the desired level, the caregiver of the patient will periodically collect blood a sample at different times of the day for testing. This will show whether the diet plan for gestational diabetes is working to bring about the desired control in blood glucose levels. If it is found not to be working adequately, modifications to the diet are made and, if required, injections of metered doses of insulin are also given to keep blood sugar under control till the baby is delivered.
Generally gestational diabetes disappears after the baby is born.
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