Black To Life… For A Healthier You
During pregnancy, too much sugar is not so sweet
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
Put the sugar down. November is the perfect time for this reminder, as we observe American Diabetes Awareness Month.
Many African-Americans suffer from diabetes due to the foods we consume, but pregnant women are at risk for gestational diabetes during the final stages of pregnancy. Even if they have never had diabetes before, expectant mothers with high blood glucose levels can receive this diagnosis.
It is important to follow your doctor’s advice on blood glucose levels while planning a pregnancy. According to a 2014 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of gestational diabetes is as high as 9.2%. While the exact cause remains a mystery, there are a few clues that provide some insight into how it may be controlled.
It is known that a pregnant woman’s placenta supports the baby as it grows, and that hormones created in the placenta help the fetus develop. But these hormones can also lead to insulin resistance in expectant mothers, who may need up to three times more insulin than women who are not carrying a child. Without sufficient insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be converted into energy.
Gestational diabetes typically occurs during the final weeks of pregnancy, when the baby is almost completely formed. This means there is far less risk for the birth defects that sometimes affect children born to women who have suffered from diabetes prior to pregnancy. However, untreated or poorly controlled gestational diabetes can cause the baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, extra energy is stored as fat and can lead to macrosomia or a fat baby.
Some preventive methods that can be taken during pregnancy include:
- Make a pregnancy plan and talk to your doctor before conceiving a child.
- Have your blood sugar tested early, and ask your doctor about your glucose levels and possible risk for gestational diabetes.
- Seek nutritional counseling.
- Maintain a healthy body weight and be sure to exercise.
Las Vegas All Women’s Care is here to provide excellent prenatal care. For additional information, contact us at (702) 522-9640, or visit the office at 700 Shadow Lane No 165 (1st Floor) in Las Vegas.