Is Sugar Dangerous In Pregnancy ?

Is Sugar Dangerous In Pregnancy ?

If you ask for a one-word answer, then it has to be “yes”, a high intake of sugar can prove to be harmful in pregnancy. But wait, there’s a lot more to know about the consumption of sugar during pregnancy. Pregnancy triggers certain substantial changes in the body of a woman. Apart from nausea and vomiting, there are a lot of symptoms that come along.

When you are pregnant, tiredness and dizziness will accompany you the whole day. You might notice sudden hair fall, that huge number of strings of hairs entangled in the teeth of your comb. Most of the symptoms are normal and no stringent precautions are required to curb them, but as talking of sugar levels, you must be attentive towards carbohydrates utilization rate during the pregnant term. There is no doubt in saying that higher sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to undesired and devastating results.

Changes In Body During Pregnancy

Before we proceed further, you need to know about some usual changes which your body goes through. Some of these changes are necessary for carrying out a successful pregnancy. They assist the body to bear the developing baby and deal with the parturition process.

1. Hormonal changes –

Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important pregnancy hormones. These hormones secreted by ovary on females acquire their peak levels when pregnancy sets in. Estrogen is necessary for stimulating the contractions in the uterus while progesterone is required for maintaining the good health of both mother and child.

2. Development of mammary glands –

Mammary glands are groomed up well through various hormonal influences in order to boost the milk production for breastfeeding.

3. Increased metabolic rate –

A sudden increase in all the physiological processes is observed as a result of accelerated hormone secretion.

4. Pregnancy glow –

This happens as a result of increased blood circulation in the body.

5. Frequent urination –

You are most likely to experience this bt the end of the first trimester. This also a consequence of increased metabolic rate to some extent.

6. Vaginal changes –

You may observe mild bleeding and white discharge. The common experiences can be painful cramps which are more or less normal.

Why Is Sugar Dangerous During Pregnancy: All The Negative Impacts At A Glance

Sugars are obtained by the body in the form of carbohydrates. The food that we eat, like potatoes, rice, chapatis and so on, are a potent source of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates get broken down into simpler sugars by numerous enzymes to provide energy to our body.

Of course, we need sugars to fuel up our bodies. The energy to perform all the vital life processes is extracted through them. But when the amount of sugar to be consumed increases too much, then it will act as a driving cause for certain health risks.

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Gestational Diabetes

If proper care of sugar intake amounts is neglected while pregnancy, then it may cause gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes further develops many complications during the delivery time.

Preeclampsia

This is when blood pressures are abnormally raised up during pregnancy. It is more likely to happen when blood sugar levels are high. This can affect vital organs like kidney, heart, and liver.

Fatty Liver Syndrome

This disease generally sprouts up during the third trimester. A diet exceedingly rich in glucose can cause fatty liver syndrome. Due to malfunctioning of fatty acid metabolism in mothers, liver cells acquire too much fat. Moreover, this can initiate several abnormalities in fetal liver too. Acute fatty liver symptoms are more common in first pregnancy or when the expectant woman is thin.

Constipation and Dehydration

The problems of constipation and bloating are usual during pregnancy. But inflated levels of glucose in the bloodstream for persistent time frame worsen the conditions. Dehydration can be a direct consequence of hiked up blood sugar levels. This can be prevented by drinking a plentiful amount of water. Water is indeed an elixir for people with elevated blood sugars.

Weight Gain

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Gaining body weight during pregnancy can be harmful in manifold ways. It opens the gateway to certain critical health issues.

Blood Sugar Spikes

If your input levels of glucose are increased beyond safe boundaries, then your blood glucose levels will rise up.

Heartburn Symptoms

Fast foods and caffeine are primarily responsible for invoking heartburn related symptoms. Foods containing fatty acids can also cause similar symptoms.

Autism

Researches find that women with gestational diabetes have 42% more probability of having a child with autism. Not only this, but the cognitive development of the child is also hindered due to high sugar levels left unchecked during pregnancy.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is said to occur when your body unable to produce extra insulin required during pregnancy. The insulin hormone plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism. It compels body cells to take up all the extra glucose and lessens its amount in the bloodstream.

In this way, it keeps a check on the blood glucose levels. Now, you can imagine that can happen when the body is incapable of producing a sufficient amount of insulin. Mostly, the body of pregnant women acquires the tendency to elicit more insulin production in order to cope up with the additional demands.

But in some cases, this may not happen. Such women whose body fails to boost up insulin production upon commencement of pregnancy undergo through the disorder of gestational diabetes. Moreover, because of the variation in hormonal levels and other changes, the body develops insulin resistance.

This means that cells cannot utilize insulin to an optimal extent even when it is being produced in the right amounts. Not to forget, chances of acquiring gestational diabetes are more in obese people than slim ones. Obesity can reasonably contribute to the advent of insulin resistance.

How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes

The positive side is that women with gestational diabetes can to have a normal delivery. It takes a little bit of extra effort to set everything into the right place.

  • When you are planning a child, make sure you are having a healthy weight.

If not so, then immediately switch on to the weight loss diet routine.

  • Don’t be feeble with your blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. Be watchful towards them with utmost precautions.
  • Visit your gynecologist regularly so that you are diagnosed at the earliest and avoid any upcoming problems handily.
  • Gestational diabetes is said to occur by the 24th week of pregnancy. You have a good time to get everything sorted.

If you find yourself in conditions that may favor gestational diabetes, instantly come up with rightful measures. You can take the help of the internet or consult your doctor regarding this.

  • Your doctor will check for gestational diabetes along with other prenatal tests.
READ  Does Drinking Water Help In Gestational Diabetes ?

Or else, you must prefer to go for an oral glucose tolerance test to assure that everything is well in control.

  • If you are prediabetic, your carbohydrates’ inputs need to be declined to the minimum limit possible for a risk-free pregnant term.

What To Avoid to Keep Blood Sugar Levels In Control During Pregnancy

Artificial sweeteners

Never go for artificial sweeteners while you are pregnant. Instead, opt for natural alternatives like coconut sugar and raw organic honey.

Caffeine

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Caffeine is known to cause some bad impacts on the health of a growing fetus. Caffeinated coffee and cold drinks hinder the mental development of the baby and are responsible for low birth weight during delivery.

Alcohol

Alcohol can be the driving cause of miscarriage and stillbirths. Apart from this, the baby can suffer through facial disfigurement, mental deformities, and even heart-related defects.

Junk foods

Street foods can significantly pave the threat for developing gestational diabetes. They can result in the birth of an overweight child which in turn imposes long term health hazards on your child.

Unpasteurized milk

Raw milk often comes contaminated with numerous harmful bacteria that deteriorate your health. Before you consume milk in any form, make sure it is boiled for sufficient time to kill all the pathogenic agents.

Packaged Beverages and Bottled Juices

During pregnancy, even teeth and gums need special attention to protect them against enamel  erosion.  Furthermore, bottled juices come with extra added sugars and preservatives which are not at all a good choice. They just provide a large number of calories without any nutrition making you lethargic.

What To Adopt To Keep Blood Sugar levels In Control

Find healthy sugar alternatives

Natural fruits are an excellent source of natural sugars with ample calories that provide good nutrition. The fruits like mango, strawberry, apple, and pineapple can offer you immense benefits. Custard apple is another such fruit that is remarkably beneficial for both mother and fetus and helps to cope up with certain troubles arising during pregnancy. Avoid taking fruits in the morning when you are pregnant. It is not preferable during the term.

Vegetables And Whole Grains

Green leafy vegetables are the best thing to include in your diet. Whole grains contain healthy carbohydrates and not refined ones. They can help you to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Probiotics

These are nothing but a living bacteria to boost up your health. They aid your digestion process without any side effects. Probiotics enhance carbohydrate metabolism and reduce the risk of preeclampsia to a fairly good extent.

One of the greatest sources of probiotics in day to day life is natural yogurt, made from dairy milk. But don’t add table sugar to it while eating. Its nutritional content will decrease by doing so, otherwise, it serves as a decent food choice for pregnant women.

Fiber Foods

Fibers offers multifarious health benefits. They deter obesity, regulate blood sugar levels and promote better digestion. Taking fiber-rich food along with your regular diet can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.

Protein-rich diet

Your body demands somewhat additional proteins to sustain the changes accompanying pregnancy. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to level up the proportion of proteins in your meals through pulses, dry fruits, milk, and eggs.

Exercise

You don’t need to join big gyms or yoga classes for this. Just find a peaceful corner in your home. Place a mat there in the early morning or evening hours and perform simple deep breathing exercises.

While you are outdoors, you can try swift walking whenever possible. Besides, cycling and jogging for short distances along helps a lot. However, if you are really enthusiastic about fitness, you can join yoga classes especially meant for expectant mothers near your house.

Some Frequently Asked Questions Related With Sugar Levels In Pregnancy

Let’s have a quick sneak peek into the answers to the questions widely asked by most of the expectant mothers.

Q. Is eating sugar safe in Pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat sugar in pregnancy but to a limited range. You should completely avoid having foods that contain refined sugars. These can be processed snacks, packaged beverages, and caffeinated drinks.

READ  Glycemic Index of Banana and its Impact On Diabetes

Q. How much sugar is safe during pregnancy?

Normally, up to 30 grams of sugar is ideal during an expectant stage. For better clarity, you must get yourself diagnosed well regarding blood sugar levels, metabolic rates, and body weight.

Then decide your appropriate calorie levels accordingly. This is the best way to deal with sugar levels during pregnancy.

Q. How can excessive sugar harm the baby?

Extra sugar during gestational diabetes or other disorders crosses the placenta and entries the fetus’s blood. This causes increased insulin production in the fetus’s body. The size of the fetus grows larger than normal, the condition termed as macrosomia. This may require premature delivery or C-section delivery.

Q. Can I eat jaggery during pregnancy?

You can eat it in lesser amounts if you are perfectly healthy without any risk of developing diabetes.

But if you are prediabetic or diabetic, better to neglect it and keep it away from your plate.

Q. Are dates good for pregnancy?

Yes, dates are completely fine for pregnancy. Even though they are sweet, they don’t alter blood sugar levels. Besides, they aid healthy delivery by shortening the time of labor. But as it advised to limit sugar inputs in any form, be careful of the consumption amounts of dates too.

Q. Can high blood sugar in pregnancy lead to miscarriage?

No, high blood sugar levels in pregnancy are related to many health complications but no case of miscarriage due to hyperglycemia has been reported till date. However, both mental and physical development of your child can be disastrously affected.

Concluding Words

There are enough facts and figures to exemplify that high levels of blood sugars are harmful during pregnancy duration. It also depends on the previous history of your health. Whether you are already diagnosed with any other disease or not. Many women can develop diabetes during pregnancy. Those who are obese with cumbersome body weight are even more likely to fall prone to it.

The conclusion that comes out is –  the way to have a healthy pregnancy is by putting a limit on sugar consumption levels. Don’t follow all your cravings blindly as some of them might prove dangerous for your baby. Find a complete list of healthy menu and stick to it for the nine precious months.

The crux of the entire article is that sugar has to be limited in any form. Whether it is table sugar in your daily morning teas or refined undesired sugars in candies, both have their own health crises when consumed beyond secured lines.

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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