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Gestational Diabetes Q & A

How does gestational diabetes affect you and your baby?

Dr. Kiran Mechineni, an Ob/Gyn specialist with The Austin Diagnostic Clinic in North Austin discusses risk factors, its affect on mom and baby and what you can do if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

What is it?

It’s diabetes that occurs in pregnancy. This causes high blood-glucose levels, which can negatively affect the pregnancy and the well-being of the baby.

Risk Factors 

If women eat a lot of carbs, about 50-60% of their diet is carbohydrates, they are at an increased risk. If they are obese and also they have a sedentary life. Those are the risk factors that increase gestational diabetes.

According to the American College of Gynecology, gestational diabetes is more likely in women who

  • are older than 25 years
  • are overweight
  • have had gestational diabetes before
  • have had a very large baby
  • have a close relative with diabetes
  • have had a stillbirth in a previous pregnancy
  • are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, Latina, or Pacific Islander

How can it affect my baby and me?

Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and also the babies are big so increased risk of cesarean deliveries or operative deliveries in the women. And, in the baby, they can cause, because there is high sugar levels, the babies grow bigger and they are called macrosomic babies. Also, the fluid around the baby increases, called polyhydramnios, and at the time of delivery, there is increased risk of operative delivery like vacuum, forceps or cesarean deliveries. Also, there is increased risk of unexplained fetal deaths. And after delivery, there is increased risk of the babies having hypoglycemia, jaundice and later on, they may become obese and diabetic too.

What can I do?

Women with gestational diabetes have to change how they eat and they mainly should eat less carbs. Carbohydrates should be around 30-40% of their diet and 20% of protein and 40% of fat. And in the carbs too, they have to eat low glycemic index foods and switch from simple carbs to complex carbs like from white rice to brown rice, quinoa, all those things, oats. From white bread to brown bread, things like that and also increase their fiber intake so that way, the diet is controlled. And also, do moderate exercise.

Resources:

American College of Gynecology (ACOG) Gestational Diabetes Overview