Beware! Pregnant Indian women face severe gestational diabetes threat

Beware! Pregnant Indian women face severe gestational diabetes threat

The incidence of gestational diabetes is likely to increase 79.4 million in India, a 15 per cent increase from the current 31.7 million

For most women, pregnancy is a time for relaxation. That also means that they don't mind putting on a few extra kilos. But did you know that those extra kilos could be an indication of a lifelong diabetic condition.

A recent revelation by experts suggest that "The incidence of diabetes mellitus, a chronic, lifelong condition that affects the body's ability to use the energy found in food, is likely to increase 79.4 million in India, a 15 per cent increase from the current 31.7 million."

This means that most pregnant women in India may actually suffer from gestational diabetes in the future.

A shocking revelation indeed. So what is gestational diabetes and how will it affect your unborn child?

What is gestational diabetes/diabetes mellitus?

This condition is characterised by high blood sugar level. This condition usually develops between the 24th and the 26th week of pregnancy.

Dr. Shobha Gupta, medical director and IVF specialist, Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi, spoke to Indusparent and explained, "It is caused by excessive production of hormones that reduce the body’s capability to use insulin as well as it should. Nearly four to six percent of Indian women only develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy."

And even though it may not occur in all women, here are some typical symptoms of the condition.

Signs and Symptoms
  • You may feel thirsty more often than usual
  • You may feel the need to urinate more often
  • You may develop infections that affect the urinary tract

Dr Gupta of Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi, lists the following observations that indicate whether or not a mother is at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.

  • If your body mass index is over 30 and you are considered obese
  • If you’ve had gestational diabetes during your previous pregnancy
  • If you have sugar in your urine
  • If you have a family history of diabetes

This condition often leads to serious damage to the unborn child and even to the mother in the future. The problems to the baby could be:

  • Excessive birth weight
  • Respiratory problems
  • Low blood sugar
  • Diabetes in the future

Dr Gupta of Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Delhi says, “Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. But once you’ve had gestational diabetes, your chances are two in three that it will return in future pregnancies. Many women who have gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes a few years later.”

She adds that even if you are diagnosed, it does not mean the end of the world and you can still work on getting better. Apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, expecting mothers should also keep up regular and moderate physical activity during and after the pregnancy.

Read: Did you know gestational diabetes can cause preterm labour?

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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