An extensive study conducted in Singapore has thrown up some rather interesting findings for pregnant mums. According to The Straits Times, the study reveals that there is a clear link between the number of hours of sleep and gestational diabetes mellitus.
Pregnant woman sleeping in bed
Findings of Gusto study
According to the findings of the Gusto (Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes) study, pregnant mums who sleep for less than 6 hours a night have a greater chance of getting gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). It also means that they have a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, once the baby is born.
This important finding which links lack of sleep with higher risk of GDM, was even published online in the internationally accredited Sleep journal last month.
A total of 1,247 women patients at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and the National University Hospital (NUH) were studied, between June 2009 and September 2010.
High rates of gestational diabetes mellitus in Singapore
The study also found that Indians were at the highest risk, with 25 % getting GDM, compared to 20.5 % among Chinese and 12.4 % for Malays. Interestingly, findings reveal that that adults in urbanised Asian countries like Japan, Korea and Singapore “sleep substantially less than their counterparts in Western countries.” Is it because of poor work-life balance, we wonder?
Another important finding was that one in five pregnant women in Singapore suffer from GDM, double that in the United States.
The lead investigator, Associate Professor Joshua Gooley from Duke-NUS Medical School opined that the results “raise the possibility” that good sleep habits could prevent GDM among pregnant women in Singapore.
At this point of time, though, it is not sure if daytime naps would make a difference to GDM rates.
Gestational diabetes mellitus is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Diabetes means, your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Your body uses glucose for energy. Too much glucose in your blood is not good for you or your baby.
Am I at risk of getting gestational diabetes mellitus?
Your chances of getting gestational diabetes mellitus are higher if you
- are overweight.
- have had gestational diabetes mellitus before.
- have given birth to a big baby (weighing more than 9 pounds).
- have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
- have pre-diabetes, meaning your blood glucose levels are higher than normal yet not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
- have a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS.
How is gestational diabetes mellitus treated?
Treating gestational diabetes mellitus involves keeping your blood sugar levels under control. You can do this by:
- Healthy eating – Your doctor or dietitian will help you with your dietary plan. The plan will help you know which foods to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. Try not to skip breakfast. Avoid sugary drinks.
- Physical activity – Be as physically active as you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Insulin shots, if needed – Again, your doctor will be the best person to advise you on whether you would require insulin shots. Note, insulin will not harm the baby.
How can I prevent or delay type 2 diabetes later in life?
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Eat more grains, fruits, and vegetables. Cut down on fat and calories.
(Source: The Straits Times, NIDDK)
Read more about cures for GDM here