Preventing Gestational Diabetes
Magnesium during pregnancy plays a very important role in blood glucose control and metabolism. It helps to transport glucose out of the blood and into the cell via insulin. It is in the cell that glucose does its best work by providing an essential energy source. Magnesium helps to improve and prevent conditions of insulin resistance such as diabetes in pregnancy – also called gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia, affecting thousands of pregnant women.
Between 12-14% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes more commonly around the 24th-28th week of pregnancy. With it comes a lot of finger pricking and an increase in monitoring of diet, and baby, to ensure your blood glucose remains stable and controlled.
If blood glucose levels are unstable or remain unchecked, the risks to you and the baby increase and can include; a higher risk of hypertension which can lead to preeclampsia, induced labour, forceps delivery and caesarean section. Pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes also increase the chance of diabetes in future pregnancies by 35-50%, as well as increasing their chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes can be a larger birth weight, which can complicate deliveries, have more incidences of breathing difficulties and jaundice at birth, as well as being at risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes themselves in early adulthood.
According to research, magnesium may reduce insulin resistance and prevent the development of gestational diabetes.
A Little Too Early:
Preventing Preterm Labour
A preterm birth is an extremely stressful event for both the baby and the baby’s family. Depending on how premature your baby is, it can lead to a long hospital stay, usually in intensive care, breathing and feeding difficulties for the baby, as well as a number of short and long term risks to your baby’s health.
As mentioned above, magnesium deficiency in pregnancy can lead to muscle cramps. The uterus, being a muscle, can become hyperactive, causing the cervix to start dilating before term. Premature labour poses great risks to your baby, and prevention is critical.
The good news is that supplementing with magnesium before the 25th week of pregnancy has been linked to improvements in baby size, weight and health, less preterm births, and fewer days in neonatal intensive care.
You may also be interested in reading my recent article, Preventing Cramps, Headaches & High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy.