11 Home Remedies for Gestational Diabetes during Pregnancy

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home remedies for gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can happen during any period of your pregnancy. It is more commonly seen in the third trimester of pregnancy. For this condition, the glucose levels in the blood begin to rise to an abnormally high value. The symptoms of gestational diabetes for the mother are usually mild but it really is a pregnancy warning sign that you should not ignore as gestational diabetes effects on baby can be very serious if not managed correctly. Controlling gestational diabetes naturally is always the preferred course of treatment, but as luck would have it, there are several home remedies for gestational diabetes that you can try alongside to compliment your existing medical advice.gestational diabetes effects on baby

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy

Gestational diabetes is caused by malfunctioning insulin receptors. Insulin is naturally produced by your body and is responsible for maintaining the sugar levels. Any underlying problem in its receptors can trigger spikes in blood sugar level, leading to gestational diabetes

The symptoms of gestational diabetes usually include the classic signs of hyperglycemia including:

However, these signs are not specific to gestational diabetes and specific tests might be required to make a final diagnosis.

Furthermore, some women are more at risk to gestational diabetes than others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one to fourteen percent of women in the United States develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. [2] The most commonly affected victims include women who:

  • Are overweight
  • Are more than 30 years of age
  • Have a familial history of diabetes type 2
  • Have previously delivered a baby weighing more than 4.5 kg
  • Have suffered from diabetes in previous pregnancies
  • Are taking steroids or antipsychotic drugs
  • Are secreting glucose in urine
  • Have a body mass index greater than 30.

If you are in one of the high-risk categories outlined above, then need to be especially diligent in monitoring the warnings signs of gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes effects on baby

The symptoms of gestational diabetes for mothers are reasonably mild. However, the effects on baby are much more serious. Indeed, gestational diabetes effects on baby and its complications can be potentially life-threatening if not managed correctly.

Gestational Diabetes effects on baby include:

  • Large birth weight. Expectant mothers with the condition produce too much glucose which makes its way across the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. The baby’s pancreas compensates by producing too much insulin. The overproduction of insulin can lead to the baby growing too large, a condition known as macrosomia. Many mothers wonder whether they can have a natural birth with gestational diabetes and due to macrosomia, a vaginal birth can be dangerous. Large babies (over 9 pounds) can get stuck in the birth canal and sustain injuries during delivery. As such, c-section is common for sufferers of gestational diabetes.
  • Preterm birth. Pregnancies are less likely to reach full term with gestational diabetes as high blood sugar increases the risk of premature labor or, due to macrosomia, a doctor may advise for the baby to be induced.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome. Any baby that is born prematurely runs the risk of respiratory distress syndrome as the babies lungs are not quite fully developed and can require mechanical assistance from a respirator. However, even if the baby is not born prematurely, babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more prone to respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Low blood sugar. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes can often develop low blood sugar after birth as their body continues to produce too much insulin. Low blood sugar can be dangerous to a newborn as severe cases can cause seizures requiring intravenous glucose treatment to return blood sugar levels back to safe levels.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Even if it goes well for you during pregnancy, the disease may strike back later in life. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as an adult [3]
  • Preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes during pregnancy increases your chances of developing preeclampsia, a very dangerous condition that affects the blood flow to the placenta stunting your babies growth or, in severe cases, the condition can impair kidney and liver function, disrupt blood clotting, and lead to seizures and sometimes mother and infant death.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, don’t worry. The effects on your baby are usually mild and are easily manageable. Even if you develop preeclampsia, the condition can be treated. For most mothers, gestational diabetes does not require expensive medical treatments or harmful drugs. It can simply be controlled by following some simple home remedies.

Home Remedies for gestational diabetes

1) Follow a Diet Schedule

If you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, what to eat is something that needs to be taken very seriously. There is a wide variety of superfoods for moms-to-be that you know as diet makes a huge difference when it comes to gestational diabetes. Most women focus on avoiding sugary food and eating healthy, but they forget to regulate their eating habits. Irregular eating is regarded as one of the biggest causes that trigger gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It has an ability to adversely hamper all the systems in your body.

Eating irregularly allows the body to get used to huge influxes of food loaded with calories and sugar. This is followed by a long period where the body does not receive the required nutrients and minerals. In this way, irregular eating complicates the natural metabolic processes occurring in your body and lead to malfunctioning of insulin receptors. [4]

So, the answer to how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy is by following a diet schedule. According to the experts, pregnant females must eat small portions of food every 2 hours in order to keep the metabolic processes intact.

2) Work Out

Just like other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes can also be managed by exercising regularly. Exercising on a regular basis helps to manage weight and avoids a sedentary lifestyle. Pregnancy often comes with weight gain which can also be managed by working out.

It is said that exercising for thirty minutes twice every day can boost your metabolism and prevent gestational diabetes. [5] Hence, exercising can be included in the most suitable ways of how to manage gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Walking is the most appropriate and suitable exercise for you if you are pregnant. Try walking to the nearby stores to get grocery or take a quick stroll to the park to get some fresh air. Additionally, you can also rely on swimming and use stationary machines.

Exercising will also treat other discomforts like cramps, backache, constipation, and swelling that are commonly observed by a pregnant female. Be sure to consult your obstetrician before starting any exercise for your own safety.

3) Consume Fiber

A commonly suggested ways of how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy is by eating food rich in fiber. [6] Fiber is a great superfood for diabetes. It has an ability to improve the working of insulin receptors in your body. At the same time, it can also control the release of insulin in the blood.

In this way, fiber can prevent the development of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Food rich in fiber can be easily found in the market. Flaxseeds are said to be an important source of getting fiber. Additionally, consuming whole grains can also be included in your personal regimen of how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

3) Stock Up On Vitamin D

Vitamin D does not usually get much attention when it comes to home remedies. However, vitamin D is critical for regulating various body processes such as absorption of nutrients. Indeed, research has shown that a vitamin D deficiency can trigger gestational diabetes [7]

Vitamin D actively helps in absorbing nutrients like phosphate, calcium, magnesium, and iron and keep your body healthy and avoid complications during pregnancy. Hence, vitamin D should be considered a must-have home remedy for gestational diabetes and all pregnant women should consume food rich in vitamin D.

You can consume tofu, mushrooms, and salmon to keep the vitamin D levels up in the body. Vitamin D will also help the useful bacterial to grow within your gut and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

4) Try Astragalus

Astragalus is a traditional herb which is famous for its potent effects on various conditions and is one of the best home remedies for gestational diabetes during pregnancy [8]

Research has indicated that women who use this magical herb during their pregnancy improve their control on the blood sugar. Such women also tend to avoid the harmful symptoms of gestational diabetes.

However, even the most useful herbs can have certain side effects. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a doctor before using it as a remedy for how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

5) Get Help From Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been the center of attention for many researchers for a long time. The vitamin is particularly famous for its benefits for women going through pregnancies. Medical research has proven how the deficiency of this important vitamin can expose a pregnant woman to the risk of developing gestational diabetes. [9]

Conversely, women who keep the levels of vitamin C high do not suffer from the serious symptoms and the consequent complications of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Moreover, they are also less likely to develop diabetes of any type in the future.

So, how to deal with gestational diabetes includes eating a lot of green vegetables, tomatoes, oranges, kiwi fruit, papayas and berries.

6) Keep A Check On Your Blood Sugar

The most important factor for dealing with gestational diabetes during pregnancy includes checking your blood sugar often. In order to manage gestational diabetes and avoid any dangerous complications, it is important to monitor your sugar levels, both before and after having a meal.

In an ideal situation, the fasting blood glucose level must be no more than 95 mg/dl while the sugar level two hours after having a meal must not exceed 120 mg/dl. So, if you are a pregnant female, it is better to get a device for checking sugar at home. It is also important to have a meeting with a diabetes educator and learn about how to measure blood glucose levels.

If you suspect any abnormality in your blood sugar level, a doctor must be consulted immediately who can guide you about the necessary adjustments required to avoid complications.

7) Control Your Sugar Intake

A simplest and rather conventional way of managing gestational diabetes is by controlling your sugar intake. [10] Obesity and sugar are the two main reasons why diabetes occurs during pregnancy and it is important to control these factors in order to treat the disease.

For this reason, include consuming a diet with low or absolutely no sugar in your personal remedies about how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Avoid eating any sugary food such as ice cream, sweets, candies, cookies, desserts, sweet fruits and baked products. You also need to cut down the consumption of sodas and packaged juices as they contain loads of sugar.

If you are finding it hard to control the sugar intake, you can also try one of the many natural sweeteners available as an alternative to sugar (avoid artificial sweeteners though).

8) Be Careful With Carbohydrates

One cannot simply miss out on carbohydrates while considering the perfect diet plan for any type of diabetes. However, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are good for your body, especially during pregnancy.

Complex carbohydrates can prove to be a disaster for you when you are already exposed to a risk of developing gestational diabetes. This is because such carbohydrates break down to form sugars which the body cannot digest easily. This causes a negative impact on the insulin levels and increases the chances of acquiring gestational diabetes.

It is important to cut short your carbohydrate intake at once. This can treat the condition immediately and help prevent your body from developing it again. [11]

How can you do this? By avoiding packaged and processed food. Avoid eating food from restaurants as their effects cannot be fully predicted. Make your own food and don’t forget to include lots of fruit, vegetables, milk, lentils, quinoa, carrots, and other items in it. Try to avoid white bread and other junk foods as they are rich in complex carbohydrates.

9) Enjoy A Good Breakfast

A healthy breakfast is recommended by every medical professional irrespective of what problem you are suffering from. In case you are pregnant, having breakfast becomes even more important. Not eating anything for a few hours continuously makes it harder for your body to control blood sugar in the morning and also give rise to other problems such as ketonaemia. [12]

Ensuring to eat a healthy breakfast can make it easy to control sugar level, especially in the morning. This helps to avoid complications regarding gestational diabetes as well.

A breakfast with low glycemic index is usually considered as the most ideal in this case. It can include eggs, oatmeal, porridge, low-fat yogurt and whole-grain cereals. Spinach juice makes up for an extremely healthy drink to be included in breakfast as well.

So, if someone asks you about how to deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, be sure to advise them about a healthy breakfast.

10) Make Some Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon is great for managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It consists of certain bioactive constituents that not only enhance glucose metabolism but also have a positive impact on LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels in your body. [13]

Moreover, it is absolutely safe to consume cinnamon during pregnancy. You only need half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to increase the insulin sensitivity and deal with gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Place a cinnamon stick in boiling water for about ten minutes. Strain the solution and drink it once every day. If you don’t like the taste of cinnamon tea, try consuming it in powdered form by sprinkling some on your smoothies, oatmeals or even fish and chicken dishes.

Do not consume cinnamon in excess as it can sometimes induce contractions. In exceptionally high doses, it can also prove to be toxic to your baby. Consult with a doctor before using it as a medicine.

11) Have A Sound Sleep

Getting a good nights sleep has to be the easiest home remedy for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.  [14] You will often find yourself exhausted or fatigued during pregnancy. This is because your hormone levels are changing. The exhaustion will increase by several folds if you are suffering from gestational diabetes at the same time.

So, get rested and have a sound sleep as sleep helps balance your blood sugar levels. This will help with the nourishment of the baby and prepare you for labor. Try to sleep on the left side while bending your knees as this will release the tension on the backside. Try to take short naps of no more than 30 minutes during the day to prevent fatigue and manage gestational diabetes.

Do’s

  • Set up a meeting with a dietician to get better nutritional guidance
  • Go for follow-up visits to your doctor regularly
  • Measure your glucose level on a daily basis
  • Be active
  • Monitor the growth of your baby regularly. [15]

Don’ts

  • Do not completely stop eating carbohydrates
  • Avoid sweet drinks
  • Don’t skip meals

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