Finding out that you have gestational diabetes can be very frightening. Not only do you have to deal with all the emotions and the questions that come with being pregnant, but also the uncertainty of this new-found condition. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to control or eliminate the problem. It should, however, not be taken lightly, but instead as a warning that dietary and lifestyle changes should be made that you may want to continue beyond your pregnancy.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in 3-5% of all pregnancies.
It is the hormonal changes in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, along with the growth demands of the fetus, that increase a pregnant woman's insulin needs by two to three times normal. If your body cannot make this amount of insulin, sugar from the foods you eat will stay in your blood stream and become elevated.
Glucose testing may begin as early as 16 weeks but will more often take place during week 24 to 28. You may think this is too late in your pregnancy to be finding out about such a problem, but in most cases screening before this time would be of little value.
Impaired chromium utilization may be a cause of gestational diabetes. By impairing pancreatic insulin production, chromium deficiency may increase the tendency towards hyperglycemia in gestational diabetes. [J Am Coll Nutr 15(1): pp.14-20, 1996] Hair chromium concentrations were significantly lower in 68 samples taken from non-diabetic pregnant women than in 42 samples from gestational diabetics (472ng/gm versus 734ng/gm). [Am J Clin Nutr 55: pp.104-7, 1992]
Exercising during pregnancy stimulates glucose transport and can help control gestational diabetes without the use of insulin. Moderate workouts appear safe for most females with gestational diabetes. [The Physician and Sports Medicine, March, 1996;24(3): pp.54-66]
By impairing pancreatic insulin production, vitamin B6 deficiency may increase the tendency towards hyperglycemia in cases of gestational diabetes. [J Am Coll Nutr 15(1): pp.14-20, 1996] Supplementation with vitamin B6 may be beneficial during this condition. [Editorial, Lancet: pp.788-9, 1976, J Optimal Nutr 2(4): pp.239-43, 1993]
In one study of 14 women with gestational diabetes, taking 100mg of vitamin B6 for 2 weeks resulted in eliminating this diagnosis in 12 of the 14 women.
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