According to a study conducted by Stanford Medicine, elevated maternal blood sugar levels has been linked to a risk of congenital heart defects in infants. This can even affect mothers who are not diabetic.
As per this research, high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can limit cardiac cells of the fetus from maturing normally. It was also found that heart cells were generating more DNA blocks than normal when they were exposed to a high level of blood sugar.
The body usually goes through metabolic changes during pregnancy which makes blood sugar available more to the fetus than the mother, in order to give more nourishment to the baby. However, in some cases especially when the mother is obese or has a family history of diabetes, these changes progress a bit too far, to an extent that the mother develops gestational diabetes.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women signifying they have higher than normal sugar level. Ideally the sugar level in blood comes back to normal post-delivery but there are certain risks that remain.
Diabetic expecting mothers are at an increased risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal disorder that is characterized by higher than normal sugar level.
In some cases, babies born to mothers who have diabetes upon reaching adulthood are at a higher risk of obesity as well as high blood sugar levels.
Also diabetic mothers usually have a higher probability of delivering the baby through Cesarean.
Key preventive measures pregnant women with diabetes need to follow:
- Blood Sugar Test: Get a sugar check done at least 4 times in a day when pregnant. A glucose test will help measure how your body cells are responding to glucose after you ingest a given amount of sugar (glucose).
- Urine Test: A urine tests helps assess the bladder or kidney for infections, diabetes, dehydration and preeclampsia. This is done by screening for high levels of sugars, proteins, ketones and bacteria in the urine sample. High levels of ketones may suggest gestational diabetes.
3. Eat Healthy: Plan a diet chart with your doctor to keep blood sugar range within normal. The ideal chart would include protein in every meal, more diabetic friendly fruits and vegetables, limited intake of processed foods and portioned consumptions.
4. Exercise: To control diabetes related complications it is important to incorporate physical activity and exercise in your regime. This is also advisable for non-diabetic pregnant women for a normal delivery.
Invest in a glucometer: A glucometer will help you keep track of your sugar levels and help monitor and manage diabetes better.
Apart from monitoring your sugar levels, your readings record will help the doctor determine alterations to your medication or diet