Water Birth Wonders

4 blissful benefits of Water Births.

“Water Birth is the best option for a normal delivery. Giving birth to the baby becomes easy. Labour pains become bearable and manageable. I was comfortable throughout the whole process.” – Mrs Sowjanya

“If it was not a water birth, I don’t know how I would have handled the pain. Warm water helped me feel relaxed and in control.” – Mrs Asisha

“Being in water was really calming. The whole birthing experience was smooth and peaceful. I don’t think I could have gone any other way.” – Mrs Stuti

It is no surprise that pregnant women are drawn to the idea of giving birth in water. Water Birth is exactly what it sounds like. Birthing. Your Baby. In Water!

Wondering why Water Births are that good? Here’s listing out the four blissful benefits of Water Births.

  • Serene and Relaxing

Warm water has always been a source of serenity and relaxation. When used for birthing, it presents an entirely different world of benefits for pregnant women.

The warm water in the birthing pool not only “feels nice” during labour, but also leaves a calming impression on your mind. A mind that’s free from worry, anxiety and fear has more room for positive birth affirmations.

Going by the testimonials of mothers who’ve opted for Water Births at Fernandez Hospital, we can vouch for the fact that:

– You feel a sense of serenity and calmness inside the birthing pool

– Warm water in the pool makes labour pain bearable

  • Flexible and Liberating

When you are about to birth your baby, your body is under extreme strain. What is usually a strenuous phase, turns into a calming experience. It is almost therapeutic – all thanks to the warm water in the birthing pool.

Floating in water helps you move around easily. You experience flexibility that cannot be achieved on ground. The liberty of movement is quite unmatched to any other birthing method.

Being in a pool filled with warm water is an option that you can use in entirety or in parts – throughout the course of your labour. You can, at any point in time, get out of the birthing pool if you don’t like it in there. Having said that, there’s a great chance of you loving your Water Birth experience and never wanting to get out.

  • Ease and Comfort

In a birthing pool, you enjoy the much-needed sense of weightlessness. It is extremely relieving after having gone through the 9 months of your-baby-in-your-belly. And guess what ensures more ease and comfort? – According to studies, being in warm water shortens the duration of your labour! Incredible, isn’t it?

Midwives who assist you through your Water Birth are clinically trained and competent. You’d be amazed, they can even check the baby’s heartbeat while you’re inside the pool. Yes, they have their ways. And you have to worry about nothing.

  • Warmth and wonder

We’ve established how the temperature of the water lessens labour pain and makes you feel calm. What’s remarkable is that your body produces less adrenaline because of that.

Low levels of adrenaline make way for oxytocin and endorphins – the “feel-good” hormones. Bubbling in good hormones, you’re sure to feel happiness, warmth, and wonder.

Water Birth is equally good for your baby who will love the transition “from the warmth of your womb – into a pool of warm water”.

You can opt for a Water Birth if….

-You are a low-risk mother

-Your baby is positioned head down

-You’ve had no complications during your pregnancy

At Fernandez Hospital we welcome and encourage your partner to be by the birthing pool, holding your hand fondly. The midwives help you explore all birth positions. Once your baby is born, he or she is gently lifted, brought close to you. You seal the moment in a loving embrace. We let you take your time bonding. Once you both are ready, the midwives help you out of the pool. You are dried off and taken over to a clean, cosy bed.

 

5 Steps to Better Sleep During Pregnancy

It is natural for mothers to expect sleepless nights after the baby arrives, but there is often little preparation for the sleeplessness that comes with pregnancy. Pregnant mothers frequently find themselves incapable of getting quality sleep, which leaves them feeling fatigued and frustrated. Lack of sleep can have adverse effects on the body and mind and in some cases, cause complications. Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder during pregnancy can be managed with the guidance of your doctor. It may also be helpful to try these 5 tips to improve your quality of sleep:

  1. Find A Comfortable Sleeping Position 

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be challenging as you adjust to your growing bump. You can opt for a pillow between your knees and try out a few recommended positions to see what is comfortable for you. Make sure to keep your hands above the belly to avoid cramping.

  1. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene 

Sleep hygiene refers to building habits that ensure you have good quality sleep.

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and schedule naps earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with nighttime sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom and try to read a book, take a bath, or indulge in other calming activities.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  1. Good Nutrition Goes a Long Way

During gestation, your digestive system slows down. You might have to deal with issues such as heartburn, constipation, or indigestion. Healthy digestion can help get a good night’s sleep.

Keep in mind the following things…

  • Cut down on caffeine; not only is it a stimulant that disrupts sleep but is also harmful to your baby.
  • Avoid spicy foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits that can cause acid reflux.
  • Have small meals throughout the day to avoid feeling bloated.
  • Do not eat three to four hours before bedtime.
  • Take plenty of fluids throughout the day but reduce intake before bedtime.
  1. Breathe 

Breathing exercises will help you sleep through the night.

  • Use humidifiers; they help ease nasal congestion.
  • If you suffer from sleep apnea, consider using a CPAP machine, if your physician prescribes it.
  • Sleep in an inclined position by raising the height of the pillow.
  1. Keep Cramps at Bay

Though leg cramps or restless leg syndrome is hard to prevent, there are ways to soothe cramps

  • Exercise during the daytime.
  • Include calcium-rich foods.
  • Indulge in soothing massage and leg stretches before hitting the bed.

Continued or chronic loss of sleep can lead to gestational diabetes, stress, and depression. If the sleep disorders are difficult to manage, check in with your doctor or childbirth educator at your next prenatal appointment. Have a positive mindset and try meditation and calming activities to keep stress at bay.

Low Cost and Lifesaving

Kangaroo Mother Care at Fernandez Hospital

A nurse helping a mother with Kangaroo mother care (KMC)

 

Kangaroo mother care (KMC) involves early continuous, and prolonged skin–to–skin contact between a mother and her newborn. The kangaroo pose consists of skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between the mother and the neonate in a vertical position, between the mother’s breasts and under her clothes. It has been proven scientifically that KMC significantly improves the survival in low birth weight (LBW) infants, reduces the risk of severe blood infections, decreases the length of hospital stay, improves breastfeeding, and leads to better physical and brain growth of the baby apart from psychological healing to the mother. Hence, KMC is now considered as the standard of care for low birth weight (LBW) and very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates in all socio-economic settings. 

 

A father giving KMC to a low-birth-weight infant

 

KMC at Fernandez Hospital

In 2004 Fernandez Hospital introduced a KMC ward. It was started initially at the Boggulakunta unit and later initiated in the other units. At Fernandez Hospital, KMC commences for the VLBW neonate as early as possible, right in the NICU, once the babies are clinically stable and the mother is comfortable. In the absence of a mother, foster KMC is encouraged by other family members. Once the babies are stable, they are transferred to a dedicated KMC ward for continuous KMC. KMC wards attached to the NICUs mimic the home-like environment for the mother-infant and are, in general, low on gadgets and technology. 

 

In the KMC ward, mothers are supported by nurses and nursing aides, but primarily the babies are taken care of by their mothers. This facilitates empowering the mother to care for her baby and allows an early discharge from the health facility. KMC also provides the best developmentally supportive care possible to the neonate and alleviates fear and anxiety in the mother and other caregivers in taking care of these tiny infants. The mothers are encouraged to continue KMC at home.

 

In our initial study, we looked at the feasibility of caring for stable VLBW neonates on full oral feeds in the KMC ward instead of conventional NICU. The study found that KMC ward care is safe, and neonates had similar growth patterns. It decreased the length of NICU by two weeks. Another study published by Fernandez Hospital showed that stable VLBW infants can be shifted to the KMC ward even at 1100 grams. They had better weight gain, reduced NICU, and hospital stay, with a significant cost reduction of almost 35000 INR per baby (500 USD). The effect was consistent even in extremely low birth weight babies. Around 2000 VLBW neonates have benefitted from the KMC since its inception at Fernandez Hospital.

 

Biases are Meant to be Broken

3 Historical Women who paved the Way for Women Studying Medicine

History remembers women who reclaim the power of womanhood by breaking biases. They overcome social exclusion and obstacles of family, society, and patriarchy to actualize their potential. They create history and pave way for more such pathbreakers.  On International Women’s Day, we remember three fearless women who became trailblazers for women to study medicine, which predominantly was a male domain.

Dr Kadambini Ganguly (1861-1923)

Well-behaved” women rarely make history. Dr Kadambini Ganguly is fondly remembered, to this day, as a revolutionary rebel. She dedicated her life to fighting for women’s education and rights, at a time when women were not allowed to have any other aspirations except raising a family. Dr Kadambini became the first female physician in India to be trained in western medicine and was one of the first working women. She did not let biases or societal norms prevent her from fulfilling her dreams. With the support of her husband, Dwarkanath Ganguly, who himself was a crusader of women´s emancipation and encouraged them to participate in every walk of life, she secured a seat for herself to study medicine. After obtaining her degree, she openly addressed Calcutta Medical College’s practice of not admitting female candidates, which led the university authorities to open their doors to all female students. She was also part of the first female delegation that helped secure voting rights for women. Although the journey was not easy, Dr Kadambini remained a working professional till her last breath and is still remembered for the incredible contributions she made towards this change.

Anandi Gopal Joshi (1865- 1887)

Driven by passion and purpose, Anandi Gopal Joshi, became the earliest pioneer for women’s healthcare in India. She overcame the barriers of caste and societal stigma to secure an education in medicine overseas at the tender age of 18. She wanted to change the sad truth that women, in most cases, due to the lack of female doctors, would rather die than take medical aid at the hands of a male physician. Her vision was to study medicine and set up a school of medicine in India for Indian women.

Although she actualized her dream of securing a medical degree, Anandi (22) succumbed to tuberculosis on 26th February 1887. She could not open the women’s medical college she’d envisioned or put her hard-earned knowledge into practice for too long. Her legacy, however, lives on. The Maharashtra government offers healthcare fellowships to women in her name to keep the memory of this Braveheart alive.

Dr Mary Poonen Lukose (1886–1976)

Born on 2nd August 1886, Dr Mary Poonen Lukose was the trailblazer that set the wheels of change in motion. She championed the message that gender is no measure of potential. She is accredited with many legendary accomplishments. She was the first woman from Kerala to graduate in medicine; first lady gynecologist of Thiruvananthapuram; first lady legislator; and the first lady surgeon general (in the world) among many other firsts. Although extremely bright, she was denied admission into medicine because of her gender. She, however, did not let this prevent her from following her dreams and moved to London to secure an MBBS, an MRCOG (gynecology and obstetrics), and training in Paediatrics. As early as 1920, Dr Lukose delivered modern-day Kerala’s first C-section baby and began training professional midwives with the support of Travancore’s Maharani Sethu Bai.

In 1924, when she was promoted to head the medical department, she undertook many revolutionary steps, including the establishment of training classes for local midwives. By 1929, this led to 1.6 million residents of the state, having access to modern medicine. She was appointed Surgeon General of Travancore in 1938 and was awarded the civilian honor of Padma Shri in 1975 by the Government of India. She inspired women across the country to overcome stereotypes.

History is made by women of courage who shatter stereotypes and inspire change. Happy International Women’s Day to all the brave women out there. May your tribe grow!

 

Empowering Women to Shatter Biases since 1948

A gender-equal world is possible. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination is possible. We can make it possible!

For over seven decades, Fernandez Hospital has been breaking biases by empowering women to make choices and voice their views on issues surrounding birth. This International Women’s Day, we share how Fernandez Foundation has been breaking biases by empowering women to make choices and voice their views on issues surrounding birth.

As advocates of natural birthing, we have successfully sowed the seeds of Midwifery in India. Gaining momentum with each passing day, our midwifery initiative is reducing C-section, mortality, and morbidity rates in the state of Telangana.

We’ve shattered many birth-related biases by…

  • Promoting and establishing midwifery-led care at Fernandez Hospital
  • Working with Telangana Government in establishing midwifery care in public hospitals
  • Preserving the rights of pregnant women
  • Midwives, obstetricians, and doulas working together as a team
  • De-medicalizing births

Doctors breaking the bias

Bias: Only doctors can help women birth

Breaking the bias by letting Professional Midwives – my trusted colleagues – help women birth naturally. Midwives provide respectful, equitable, evidence-based care to low-risk mothers and I dedicate my expertise to high-risk pregnancies.

Midwives breaking the bias

Bias: Women can only give birth lying down

Breaking the bias by helping women birth in positions of their choice. I provide the highest standards of maternity care. I strive to reduce medical interventions and help mothers have normal, physiological births.

Mothers breaking the bias

Bias: I have no say in the way I birth

Breaking the bias by ensuring I have a say in everything related to my birthing journey. I seek midwifery care that protects my voice and my rights. My midwife keeps me in charge and helps me birth the way I want.

#BreakTheBias #IWD2022 #InternationalWomensDay2022

 

India Needs Midwifery Trainers

International midwifery educators training midwives at Fernandez Foundation. ©Fernandez Foundation

India records 25 million births each year, out of which 2.7 million babies are stillborn, and 0.56 million babies die during the first month of their life. Thirty-five thousand women die of pregnancy-related complications. Most of these deaths occur during childbirth and are preventable with the presence of a skilled midwife. The Lancet series on Midwifery (2014) revealed, midwives trained to international standards can avert 83 per cent of all maternal deaths, stillbirths, and newborn deaths. However, India needs to train and deploy thousands of new midwives to meet its needs. This is a question of training capacity, public expenditure, and a race against time. There is an opportunity here for experienced midwives from across the world to come and help us establish this professional cadre in India.

India’s maternal mortality ratio remains high even though institutional births have increased. Today, nearly 90% of all births take place in health care institutions. An unfortunate outcome of institutional births is the strong medicalized birthing environment. This has led to an unacceptably high caesarean birth rate (21.5% of total institutional births) both in private (47.4%) and public facilities (14.3%) (NFHS 5, 2019-21). WHO considers the ideal rate for caesarean sections to be 10-15%.

Professional midwifery is a multi-pronged approach to address the range of issues plaguing childbirth and maternal health in India. However there is an acute shortage of trained midwives—and just as importantly, there is a shortage of skilled and experienced trainers. This is a chicken and egg issue: unless a critical mass of clinically experienced midwives becomes available, it will be hard to find good trainers.

The PROMISE campaign

The Professional Midwifery Services (PROMISE) campaign strives to make birthing safe for Indian mothers. It embodies the promise of humanized, evidence-based, and respectful care for childbearing mothers irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. The campaign has four clear objectives:

  • make pregnancy safe
  • humanize births
  • train a midwifery workforce
  • promote midwifery

India needs midwifery trainers. ©Fernandez Foundation 

The PROMISE campaign delivers on these objectives by focusing on training and capacity building of nurses as professional midwives.

The campaign aims to train midwives and also build up a national cohort of midwifery educators. PROMISE runs the Nurse Practitioner in Midwifery (NPM) course for nurses in the public sector. The NPM course is designed to train registered general nurses with global standards of knowledge, skills, in providing highly quality midwifery led care to mothers and neonates. It also runs a Midwifery  educator’s programme to help build a national cohort of midwifery educators and trainers An excellent example of PROMISE’s outreach is its support to the 18-month Midwifery training programme run by the Indian state of Telangana. The PROMISE campaign aims to train for India, 10,000 midwives by 2032.

The Fernandez Foundation spearheads the PROMISE campaign. The Foundation runs a tertiary referral perinatal centre, the Fernandez Hospital, with 320 beds and an annual birth rate of 10,000. Based out of Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Telangana, the Foundation is a crucial player in promoting midwifery services across India.

Work with us

There is an urgent need for midwives in India to provide women-centred, respectful, kind, and compassionate maternity care. The Foundation is looking for experienced midwives who can work with us to train and establish this new cadre of professional midwives across India.

If you are interested, do get in touch.

Write to us with a short letter of intent and a brief resume at midwifery@fernandez.foundation or WhatsApp us on +91 7995566001

My Sleeping Child! 7 tips to help your baby sleep better

Quality sleep is as crucial as proper nutrition. Babies grow and develop in their sleep and therefore a baby’s sleeping habits are a major concern for mothers around the world. While it is natural to be worried there are several ways to improve your child’s quality of sleep.

As your little human grows, their sleeping needs will change, and the hours of sleep required will gradually reduce. While newborns sleep through most of the day (14- 17 hours), they are light sleepers with their sleep divided into sleeps cycles of 4-5 hours till the age of 3 months. Babies between the ages of 3 to 6 months require 12-15 hours of sleep which spans 2-3 naps in the day and possibly a long stretch of sleep at night. From 6 months to a year, the baby’s sleeping patterns start coming closer to that of an adult. They will sleep through the night and require about 11-14 hours of sleep.

Here are 7 tips to help improve your baby’s quality of sleep:

  1. Monitor your child’s sleep rhythm

Although it can be difficult and erratic in the beginning as your child grows, they will start to present a more consistent sleep schedule.

  1. Respect your baby’s preferences

Adjusting to your baby’s sleep cycle might not always be ideal and can often be life-altering. But it is recommended that parents respect their baby’s sleep patterns. As your child grows older, you may gradually introduce a healthy sleep cycle.

  1. Giving the baby time to settle down

Babies might fuss or cry before finding a comfortable position and falling asleep. Be patient and monitor them. Check on your baby, offer comforting words, and leave the room. Your reassuring presence might be all that your baby needs to fall asleep.

  1. Soothe the baby

The baby needs to be calm to be able to fall asleep. As you acquaint yourself with your baby’s likes and dislikes, make sure to take note of the activities that your baby finds soothing to get them drowsy and ready for bed. You may start rocking the baby or sing lullabies to them.

  1. Introduce a bedtime routine

As your baby grows, it is a good idea to introduce them to a bedtime routine. It helps the baby develop habits that prepare them for quality sleep. A positive bedtime routine involves going through a few quiet yet enjoyable activities with your baby about 20 minutes before bedtime. This could include giving them a warm bath or reading to them.

  1. Feeding before bedtime

Make sure that you feed your baby in a dimly lit, calm environment between naps and before putting them to sleep at night. This will indicate to your baby that they have to prepare for sleep and not play.

  1. Keep distractions away

Babies are easily amused. It is a good idea to provide them with an environment that free from distractions to improve their quality of sleep. Avoid using mobiles or TVs especially, one hour before bedtime.

As your newborn grows, their ability to sleep soundly will improve. Good quality sleep plays a key role in your child’s physical and mental development. If you notice that your child is sleeping too little or too much, it is recommended, that you consult a paediatrician as sleeping issues could indicate underlying medical issues.

To book an appointment with our expert Paediatricians, call: 1800 419 1397

Preventing Birth Defects – All You Need to Know!

Every mother-to-be needs to be aware of certain conditions that might affect her baby. One of those is the risk of birth defects. 1.7 million babies are born with birth defects every year in our country as per UNICEF, India.

Not all birth defects can be prevented, but you can reduce the risks by taking certain precautions.

Here are 4 measures you can take to help you prevent birth defects:

  1. Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle– Leading a healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy choices. Various studies show that an obese woman having a BMI of more than 30 is at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy. Some serious birth defects can be prevented if one maintains healthy weight before and during pregnancy.

What can you do?

  • Exercise regularly (consult your obstetrician about the best course of action)
  • Consult your nutritionist for a personalized diet plan and eat healthy meals
  • For light exercise, you can go for short regular walks
  • Attend prenatal yoga sessions, which will help calm your senses.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight.

In case, you are an expectant mother and have diabetes, you need to take precautions advised by your obstetrician. If left unchecked gestational diabetes can cause serious complications for the unborn baby. You can prevent birth defects and other problems by keeping your blood glucose levels in control. Consult your nutritionist for a healthy diet plan and get ample exercise.

  1. Keep away from Alcohol and Cigarettes

Drinking and smoking are a BIG NO during pregnancy. The alcohol passes through your bloodstream and the placenta to your baby. As your baby is still developing in the womb, be mindful that the liver is the last organ that develops.

It is important to abstain from alcohol and all other harmful substances. Drinking alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy can result in miscarriage or preterm birth. Even after the first three months, drinking  may result in the baby being born with birth defects.

What can you do?

  • opt for a healthy lifestyle and consume healthy drinks like fresh juices
  • Meditate – Meditation helps you to take control of your mind and body
  1. Include Folic Acid in your diet

If you are planning to embrace motherhood or are pregnant, Folic acid is a diet essential. WHO advises pregnant women to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps create new cells in our body.

Why Folic acid?

  • It helps form the neural tube
  • Prevents major defects at birth
  • Helps prevent defects in the baby’s brain and spine.

What can you do?

  • You must take 400 mcg of folic acid every day during pregnancy
  • Include folate-rich foods in your diet each day, all through your pregnancy.
  1. Avoid Self-medication

Most women  self-diagnose medical issues and take certain medicines without consulting their doctors. From menstrual problems, abortion to back pain and other issues. On an average, nearly one-third of pregnant women practice self-medication using  herbal and/or conventional medicine.

Effects of self-medication:

  • Impacts foetal health
  • The medicinal product or chemical agent can cause morphologic or physiological abnormalities in the baby.
  • Can cause developmental delays in the baby .

What can you do?

  • You must consult your doctor before taking any medicine/drugs
  • Be aware of all the medicines you take
  • Rely on the doctor’s advice.

All in all, the risk of birth defects can be reduced  to a large extent if mothers adhere to  prenatal care. At Fernandez Hospital, we have an experienced team of obstetricians, nutritionists, and childbirth educators who can help you have a healthy pregnancy.

To know more, call 1800 419 1397 (toll free).

Don’t Stretch the Stretch Marks!

With pregnancy, comes unparalleled joy. But one thing that follows is the dreaded stretch marks.

Stretch marks occur on the skin when it stretches beyond capacity. With the growing baby, the skin stretches beyond the bounds. Thus, stretch marks appear. Skin is elastic, but it is bound to leave marks when stretched. Though the stretch marks are painless, some women feel distressed when they appear.

Usually, they appear on the areas accumulating fat such as the belly, breasts, thighs, or hips. Before birthing, one might encounter purple reddish stretch marks that turn white. They might fade off after birthing the baby.

It is unlikely that one can get rid of stretch marks completely. However, they can be made less noticeable.

Here are 5 ways to reduce stretch marks:

  1. Exercise

As surprising as it may sound, exercise can help in the lightening of the stretch marks. Exercise helps tighten the tissues, which makes the stretch marks look like fine lines, matching the skin tone of the person.

Home Remedies 

Home remedies such as egg white, shea butter, olive oil, honey work to a certain extent to make the skin soft and supple. This prevents and controls the stretch marks.

  1. Creams with Hyaluronic acid or Tretinoin

Applying gels containing hyaluronic acid or creams with tretinoin can help in the lightening of the stretch marks. Provided the creams must be applied every day to the affected area. However, it is advisable that you consult a skin specialist before applying any medicated cream on your body.

  1. Hydration

Keeping yourself well hydrated is essential for good skin health. Dehydrated skin will lack moisture and is prone to developing stretch marks more easily, as compared to the hydrated ones.

  1. Oil treatments

  • You can apply any oil of your choice to the affected areas, keep it for 30 minutes, and follow it up by a warm bath. Doing this regularly can show results, albeit at a slow pace.
  • Take a Vitamin E capsule. Break it open and mix with the oil of your choice. Massage and rinse it off later.
  • Or add Vitamin E oil to your moisturising cream, apply on the affected area.

Stretch marks shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed. They’re signs of the changes your body has gone through in your journey towards motherhood. Stretch marks are as natural as they can be and stressing about it will only take away your joy as a mother.

 

4-Step-Guide to Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes, unlike other forms of diabetes, is temporary. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can cause insulin resistance, which means glucose levels stay high in the blood instead of being taken to the cells for energy, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. These imbalances occur through the course of some pregnancies and usually disappear after childbirth. The good news is that a healthy pregnancy is possible with appropriate management. You can keep your blood sugar levels in check through proper nutrition, physical activity and working closely with your doctor.

 Step 1: Identifying the Symptoms

The symptoms of Gestational diabetes can be tough to identify on your own. However, through routine pregnancy screening tests, your obstetrician will be able to identify high blood sugar levels. 

Imbalance in blood sugar causes symptoms like:

• Increased thirst

• Frequent urination

• Fatigue

• Dry mouth

 Step 2: Diagnosis

The primary method to diagnose gestational diabetes is blood testing. Your obstetrician may advise a glucose screening test, oral glucose tolerance test or both.

Glucose screening test:

This test may require fasting. Your obstetrician will take a blood sample one hour after prescribing you a liquid containing glucose. If your blood sample indicates high glucose levels i.e., 140 mg/dL or more, your doctor may request you to go for a glucose tolerance test.

 Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT):

OGTT is typically done between 24 – 28 weeks of the pregnancy. You will be required to fast for at least 8 to 10 hours before this test. Two blood samples will be collected, one on arrival and the other after you have consumed a prescribed drink containing 75 grams of glucose in 200 ml of water. Further, your blood sample is collected one or two hours after.

Normal values are as follows:

  • Fasting (before drinking glucose) – 92 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L) or lower.
  • 1 hour after drinking glucose- 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) or lower.
  • 2 hours after drinking glucose- 153 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L) or lower.

 Abnormal values would indicate Gestational diabetes.

Step 3: Treatment and Prevention of Gestational Diabetes:

You can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes by staying healthy before and during your pregnancy. Eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise.

Treatment for gestational diabetes primarily involves maintaining and monitoring blood sugar levels with frequent checkups throughout your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will closely monitor the health of your baby and check your blood sugar levels. You may need to monitor your blood sugar at home with a glucometer.

Some women need medication to manage gestational diabetes, but most women can keep their blood sugar levels under control with diet and exercise.

If the sugar levels continue to fluctuate, your obstetrician may start you on insulin treatment.


Step 4: Management

The good news is that a healthy pregnancy is possible even with gestational diabetes with the help of the correct precautionary measures and medical nutrition therapy. The four primary factors in managing gestational diabetes are:

  • Meal timings
    • Apart from having a dedicated meal plan, it is crucial to adhere to fixed meal timings. Skipping or delaying meals can cause high/low blood sugar.
  • Quantity of food
    • Observe control on serving size, as a greater quantity of food intake can raise blood sugar.
  • Quality of food
    • Balanced diet of healthy foods with a low glycemic index (GI).
    • Follow a split meal pattern of eating that will control your blood sugar levels while you’re pregnant.
  • Physical activity
    • A health-conscious diet is paramount, but it is also important to get 45 minutes of daily physical activity.

Your dietician will keep track and plan a healthy and nutritious diet according to your needs during pregnancy to keep your blood sugar levels on track. A healthy and safe birth experience is possible even with gestational diabetes. Please consult with your obstetrician at the earliest to construct a Gestational Diabetes management plan best suited to your personal needs