S: Simple information about gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects about one in five women during pregnancy. They develop high blood sugar levels and may pose risks to both the mother and baby. The condition typically resolves itself after pregnancy. However, one must still take the necessary steps to manage – and if possible, prevent this condition.
Mothers with certain risk factors are more likely to develop GDM. Some common risk factors are:
- family history of diabetes
- history of GDM in previous pregnancies
- high blood pressure or other medical complications
U: Understanding the management of GDM
There are ways to reduce your chance of developing GDM. One way is to start your pregnancy at a healthy weight. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but sudden and drastic weight gain can increase your risk of GDM.
Eating well is crucial. Dietitian can often help to create a suitable meal plan for you. Eating foods high in fibre and limiting the consumption of simple sugars (sweets, sugary drinks) help to reduce blood sugar level. In the Asian context, having smaller portions of rice or less carbohydrates throughout the day will improve the condition.
G: Going to a doctor: do I have GDM?
Gestational diabetes generally has no obvious symptoms. Therefore, it is important to visit your gynaecologist to check for GDM. Often the oral glucose tolerance test can be done during the early part or around 28th week of pregnancy.
A: Are you or your baby at risk?
Well managed GDM generally has minimal effects on the health of the mother and baby. In some cases, untreated GDM can lead to macrosomia, where the baby grows too large. This results in difficulties during delivery. The baby might also suffer from breathing difficulties and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) at birth.
R: Repercussions and consequences: how does it affect me?
GDM usually resolves itself after you deliver your baby. However, you might be at risk of developing GDM in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Finally, GDM can pose risks to you and your baby, but with proper management and healthcare, both should remain safe and healthy.
Dr Ng Ying Woo is a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology with advanced laparoscopic skills. Dr Ng believes in holistic care for his patients and has vast experience in performing surgeries and deliveries. He is passionate about offering the best surgical solutions for the management of gynaecological conditions.