Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition occurring during pregnancy, under which a hormone produced by the placenta hinders the appropriate use of insulin in the body, leading to accumulating sugar in the blood. Persistent or frequent high blood sugar levels can cause different pregnancy complications and adversely impact a baby’s health. Nevertheless, expectant mothers can manage GDM by following specific lifestyle programs designed by doctors and taking prescribed medication, if needed. This paper aims to discuss current alternative drug treatments and patient education strategies for the management of GDM.
Treatments and Strategies
The treatments for GDM can comprise dietary and lifestyle interventions and pharmacological therapy if required. Moderate physical activity (PA) and reasonable adjustments in a personal diet can be recommended as a first-line treatment for GDM (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020). In particular, healthy nutrition implies consuming an adequate amount of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein and reducing or avoiding highly refined carbohydrates, especially sweets. Regular PA, comprising at least 30 minutes of moderate exercising per day, can noticeably decrease or align blood sugar. Besides, as an education strategy, doctors advise monitoring blood sugar during and after pregnancy a minimum of four times a day, primarily in the morning and after main meals.
If PA and an adjusted diet do not help, patients can need insulin injections to diminish sugar in the blood. However, evidence indicates that prolonged use of insulin can induce insulin dependence over time (Brown et al., 2017). Thus, insulin should be applied cautiously and under physicians’ supervision. Another medicine includes the use of oral anti-diabetic medications, such as metformin and glibenclamide (glyburide). A meta-analysis has discovered that metformin can be an effective and safe treatment for GDM, especially compared to glibenclamide (Guo et al., 2019). Herewith, the researchers specify a necessity for amplified attention to offspring outcomes because it can have a toxic effect on embryonic stem cells. Finally, some women can resort to herbal products and traditional Chinese medicine, but there is no substantial reliable evidence demonstrating their effectiveness (Xu et al., 2019). Therefore, among pharmacological treatments, insulin and metformin are determined as the most efficient and safe but only under medical professionals’ control.
Brown, J., Grzeskowiak, L., Williamson, K., Downie, M. R., & Crowther, C. A. (2017). Insulin for the treatment of women with gestational diabetes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1. Web.
Guo, L., Ma, J., Tang, J., Hu, D., Zhang, W., & Zhao, X. (2019). Comparative efficacy and safety of metformin, glyburide, and insulin in treating gestational diabetes mellitus: A meta-analysis. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2019, 1-29. Web.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Gestational diabetes: Diagnosis & treatment. Mayo Clinic. Web.
Xu, Y. X. Z., Xi, S., & Qian, X. (2019). Evaluating traditional Chinese medicine and herbal products for the treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2019, 1-6. Web.