India has now become the global capital of diabetes. With patients getting younger, and the pregnancy age among women getting higher, the complications faced by pregnant women are aplenty.

Diabetes should be ideally diagnosed prior to pregnancy, because otherwise the high blood sugar levels could affect the growing foetus in the uterus through the umbilical cord and result in congenital deformities in the child. Therefore, those with abnormal blood sugar levels are advised to first get it under control before conceiving, and to use contraceptives to postpone the conception until then.

It is advisable to conceive only after the blood sugar reaches normal levels. It is of paramount importance to maintain normal blood sugar levels during the first trimester because that is when the foetus’ organs are formed, and the child begins to take shape. In order to ensure proper growth, it is very important that the right levels of blood sugar be maintained.

Here Are Some Of The Things That Could Go Wrong To The Baby:

 1.      Premature birth

2.      Miscarriage

3.      Congenital defects

4.      Overweight baby at birth

5.      Breathing difficulties at birth, and a sudden drop in blood sugar

6.      Prolonged jaundice lasting for a few days

Difficulties Suffered By The Mother:

1.      Eye diseases

2.      Damage to the kidneys

3.      Proneness to infections and illnesses

4.      Increased blood pressure

What Are The Prescribed Normal Blood Sugar Levels?

1. On empty stomach, that is, after at least eight hours of fasting, the blood sugar levels should ideally be 96 mg/dl (60-99 mg/dl)

2. Two hours after food, it should be <126mg/dl (100-129 mg/dl)

Even if blood sugar remains normal before pregnancy, it should be tested during the first check-up. If the blood sugar levels are higher than those mentioned above, it must be brought under control through proper treatment and dietary restrictions.

Following Are The Methods To Control Blood Sugar:

1.      Dietary regulations

2.      Tablets

3.      Insulin

Blood sugar can be controlled by making dietary changes. This works only when there is a moderate increase in blood sugar. The everyday intake must be increased by only 300 calories. Otherwise, it would lead to weight gain and it would be impossible to control the blood sugar levels.

Ideally, The Diet Should Include

1.      Vegetables

2.      Grains and pulses

3.      Fat-free milk products

4.      Fruits

5.      Different types of beans

6.      Fish

Proper exercise routine is very important. Simple exercises like walking and swimming should be followed.

Exercises Bestow The Following Benefits:

 1.      Removes pains and aches in the feet

2.      Since the sugar in the blood is used up by the muscles, the blood sugar levels decrease

3.      The mind gets rejuvenated

But, Those With The Following Issues Are Advised To Not Exercise

1.      Mothers-to-be with high blood pressures

2.      Those with defects of the eyes and other organs.

Strenuous exercises must be strictly avoided. In addition to physical well-being, higher blood sugar levels also tend to affect the mental health. Depression can be cured easily if it is diagnosed and treated at a very early stage.

Otherwise, the mothers-to-be might lose interest in watching their diet and fail to keep their blood sugar levels in control. This could result in serious complications. Maintaining excellent mental health during pregnancy is very important.

 

Dr Radha M, MBBS, MD, DM Gastroenterolgoy, is a Consultant Gastroenterologist,

Fortis Malar hospital, Chennai.