Probiotics and diabetes in pregnancy trial

Currently there is a clinical research studying the effects of probiotics on gestational diabetes at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, building on international research suggesting pregnant women who take probiotics, i.e. live beneficial micro-organisms, are less likely to suffer the gestational diabetes.

The article in The Courier Mail quotes Mater Clinical School Head Professor, David McIntyre as saying “gestational diabetes rates are definitely increasing and there are two obvious factors – increasing obesity and women having their babies later,” he said.

Some of my girlfriends have experienced gestational diabetes during their pregnancies.  I still remembered how stressful they were at the time. Most of them have managed their gestational diabetes by changing their diet and increasing their physical activity. A few actually have used insulin to help manage the condition. Most of them do not have diabetes after the births of their child.

So what is the risk of gestational diabetes you might ask? Well, for starters, gestational diabetes increases the risk of babies becoming bigger, thus more difficult deliveries. The baby has the same blood glucose level as the pregnant woman since the glucose goes into the baby’s blood through the placenta. Thus higher blood glucose level will lead to greater insulin production in the baby too. The baby will grow bigger if he/she faces a lot of glucose and insulin.

It also cause higher blood pressure in the expectant mothers. How  to manage gestational diabetes you might wonder? Current treatment options for gestational diabetes include increased physical activity and a modified diet generally. Some patients may need to have insulin injections.

After the birth of the baby, most mothers’ maternal blood glucose levels will usually go back to normal. However, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on is increased for the mothers who had gestational diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on is also increased for the child. There are more researches in gestational diabetes and I eagerly await the results from those clinical trials.

Viv Hsu
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