Gestational Diabetes in Canada

Gestational Diabetes

You have probably heard a lot about diabetes in Canada recently. The number of people with diabetes in Canada has been on the rise for the past 20-years. According to diabetes.ca, there are roughly 11-million people in Canada living with diabetes. This is an epidemic proportion.

There is no cure for diabetes. However, there is treatment. Treatment along with diet and exercise can allow a person with diabetes to remain healthy. Without treatment, diabetes can cause a wide range of serious health problems and can lead to death.

What is diabetes?

There are several types of diabetes. The three most common types are Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. All three types are dangerous and should be treated seriously.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin regulates your metabolism and aids in the absorption of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 Diabetes is usually treated with insulin injections and medication.

Type 2 Diabetes happens when the body does not produce enough insulin or no longer uses the insulin it produces properly. This causes organs such as the kidneys, liver, heart, and eyes to fail. Type 2 Diabetes is usually controlled with proper diet, exercise, and sometimes oral medication. 

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that a woman gets while she is pregnant. It usually shows up in the second or third trimester. When a pregnant woman gets gestational diabetes it means her body cannot produce enough insulin for her and the unborn child. Sometimes this is due to excess weight, especially if the woman was overweight when she became pregnant. But, that is not a hard-fast rule. Sometimes the body just cannot effectively use the insulin it makes or it cannot make enough. Often the combination of hormone changes, weight gain, and demands on the mother’s body is enough to cause her to have gestational diabetes. It is important to address this issue as it can affect the child and the mother.

Photo credit: Pixabay

What can gestational diabetes do to the mother and child?

When you have gestational diabetes, the levels of sugar in your blood can cause several disturbing problems. These problems include, but are not limited to the following?

  • Cause high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy – called preeclampsia
  • Causes the amount of glucose (sugar) in the baby to be high
  • It can cause the baby to grow larger than expected. They are usually bigger in the upper body, increasing the need for a cesarean section
  • possible birth injury due to the baby’s size and difficulties during delivery

As a result, this may put the mother and child at a higher risk of health problems later in life such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Prevention

As soon as a woman discovers she is pregnant she should begin eating healthy foods and cutting out foods that are high in sugar, trans fat, and saturated fat. She should get or stay active. Walking, swimming, and other exercise is good for her and good for the baby. Do not make the mistake of overeating or eating junk food because you are “eating for two”. If you would not feed the food you are eating to a child, don’t eat it. Eating right and exercise will keep your body healthy, help you sleep, and make your delivery much easier.

If you have ever had diabetes in the past, or if diabetes runs in your family you can begin checking your blood sugar early to keep an eye on your health. At some point, your doctor will call you in for a formal diabetic test. But if you know you are at risk, you can check your blood sugar on your own with a blood meter. You can get a Contour Next USB meter free.

Contour meters are made by Ascensia Diabetic Care. They have been leading the way in bringing diabetics quality equipment to make their lives easier for more than 70-years. They invented the first blood glucose monitors and the first monitors that were portable so every diabetic could have one within reach without having to go to the doctor or hospital. They have taught scores of people how to use their products to stay healthy. That is their single goal. They want diabetics to have healthy and comfortable lives. Until there is a cure, this is the top-of-the-line diabetic control tool you can have.

Photo credit: Silviarita

Treatment

You will closely monitor your blood sugar during this time. This is one of your first responsibilities as the mother of your child. You will be instructed to eat a well-balanced diet and to exercise unless there are unusual circumstances. If your glucose is still too high, you may be given medication to reduce it or you may be given insulin to inject. Your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment for you.

In most cases, after you give birth, it will go away. However, you could find you have type 2 diabetes later in life. If you ignore your treatment and allow your blood sugar to remain high through your pregnancy, there is a chance that both you and your child could get type 2 diabetes at some time in your future.

The best gift you can give yourself and your child is health. If you get gestational diabetes, keep it under control. You will be rewarded with a healthy delivery and a healthy body.

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