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During your pregnancy you logically get more hungry, because now you eat for two. And in addition to the jars of pickles that are flying by, you're also consuming all kinds of carbohydrates. Potatoes, pasta, bread and rice are foods that are high in carbohydrates and often form a large part of the average Dutchman's diet. These carbohydrates cause the blood sugar level to rise. Normally, this is not a problem; your body can handle it just fine. But sometimes the body is not able to keep the sugar level in the right balance; gestational diabetes is lurking. You can read more about this in this blog. 

What is gestational diabetes?

Under the influence of carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises. Normally your body produces extra insulin. But when you are pregnant, you are less sensitive to this sugar-reducing substance. In a properly functioning system, your body would then produce more insulin, but this does not always happen. If the body is unable to keep the blood sugar level in balance during pregnancy, we speak of gestational diabetes. With the emphasis on pregnancy, because chances are your body will have it all back under control once you give birth (Diabetes Association of the Netherlands).

Is gestational diabetes dangerous?

Gestational diabetes, just like "normal" diabetes, takes all kinds of risks. Only in this case those risks are not only for yourself, but also for the little one. To start with, in the case of gestational diabetes both you and the little one have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on. In addition, there is a high chance that your little one is too big at delivery, which in turn can lead to more complications and an increased risk of tearing (Diabetes Fund). 

Is gestational diabetes common?

Figures show that the number of women with gestational diabetes has increased compared to the past. This is not necessarily to say that the number of women with gestational diabetes has actually increased. Some of that growth is also due to better research. Simply put, more women are being tested these days. The average age at which women have children today also plays a part. Nearly 20 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 40 and 44 develop diabetes (Diabetes Association of the Netherlands). 

How is gestational diabetes treated or - even better - how do I prevent it?

Our motto, and hopefully yours, is always: prevention is better than cure. And although there is a lot you can't control (think of diabetes in the family or background), there are some things you can influence. Make sure, for example, that you are not too heavy before pregnancy. A healthy diet also works wonders. Do not eat 'fast' carbohydrates but choose products like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta or brown rice. Products with 'slow' carbohydrates contain more fiber which reduces blood sugar spikes and also keeps you feeling full longer. Less chance of unhealthy snacking between meals. Double profit (Diabetes Fund)! 

If you do develop gestational diabetes, the treatment often consists only of a diet and more exercise. Generally speaking, this will bring your values back under control. If not, you will have to temporarily inject insulin. Your diabetes nurse or dietician will, of course, guide you through this (Diabetes Association of the Netherlands).

 

Sources

Diabetes Association of the Netherlands. (s.d.). Gestational diabetes. Consulted from https://www.dvn.nl/wat-is-diabetes/andere-typen-diabetes/zwangerschapsdiabetes?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpreJBhDvARIsAF1_BU24FaPhFQEK-j3E2Gd0C62dI2JGMAUHXuwxZVi1Squ6qdKcS5zsqDMaAvUfEALw_wcB

The Diabetes Fund. (s.d.). Gestational diabetes. Consulted from https://www.diabetesfonds.nl/over-diabetes/soorten-diabetes/zwangerschapsdiabetes?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpreJBhDvARIsAF1_BU1XxjzioPYrVsgXb5Kna2qpY-Wx8GIhrw-s23DB8tqP39IhZUW7jNIaAtR3EALw_wcB