Get the facts on Gestational Diabetes and find out how you can protect yourself, your baby, and your wallet mama!
Did you know that up to 1 in 5 pregnant women in Singapore is likely to develop Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) ? That’s one of the highest rates in the world, mama. (By comparison, the rate is only about 10% in the United States.) So what can you do to avoid GDM? Or, if you are diagnosed with it, what can you do to treat it, while also ensuring you’re covered financially?
Read on to find out!
The Facts on Gestational Diabetes
GDM is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, occurring either when a mother can’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin is not working well enough to act on the sugars in her body. This leads to excess glucose in the bloodstream, which can be passed on to your baby.
Associated complications during pregnancy and labor include excess birth weight, premature birth and, in some serious cases, stillbirth. GDM can also increase your risk of developing pre-eclampsia, which can be life-threatening to the mother, and can also lead to emergency C-sections and intensive interventions for the baby. Babies can also be put at increased risk of developing diabetes later in life.
Risk factors for GDM can include age, lifestyle, ethnicity, high blood pressure, and high BMI (in other words, exercising and eating right during pregnancy are hugely important, mama!), but the actual causes of GDM are still unknown.
How Gestational Diabetes is Diagnosed and Treated
Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, your OBGYN will conduct an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), where you’ll be asked to drink a super sweet glucose formula and take a series of blood tests to determine the level of glucose in your bloodstream. The process is relatively straightforward, but takes a few hours (so as to measure how the glucose affects your system) and requires fasting beforehand, which is never fun for hangry pregnant mamas!
If you test positive, and are diagnosed early, you can reduce the risk of complications with medical treatment and healthy lifestyle switches. This would involve things like cutting down on sugar, simple carbs and fatty foods, and choosing healthy food alternatives like steaming instead of frying. It’s also so important to exercise with at least moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, mama. This could be something as simple as going for a walk after dinner!
Dr. Watt Wing Fong, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Centre, also suggests pregnant mamas consider spacing out their meals. That is, eat smaller portions, but more frequently. “It’s also important to monitor your sugar levels and stick to the diet plan or medication advised by your doctor throughout the pregnancy,” she tells us.
How will GDM affect medical costs?
It’s been estimated that the combination of prescribed medications, additional clinic visits, and professional dietician support can add up to around $500 in out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, not all standard insurance plans cover those extra treatments.
Vitana is a cool new product that is Singapore’s first standalone cover for GDM. Pay a single, one-time fee of $99 and, in the event that you are diagnosed with GDM, Vitana’s system automatically triggers a flat payment of $500 into your bank account. (We love that the one-time $99 fee also includes the cost of your OGTT at participating clinics – about $40-$55 on average). Read on to see how Sassy Mamas can save $50 off the policy!
If you happen to experience any GDM-related conditions covered by Vitana, you’ll receive an automatic $2,000 payment. So you’ll never need to make a claim, mama! (Sweet! Err…Hooray!)
Want to know more?
Check out Vitana’s website to read up on eligibility criteria (refreshingly straightforward!). After you visit a participating clinic (woohoo I see my awesome OBGYN on that list! –Ed.), you can sign up in just two minutes and get yourself covered with the Vitana app. Or email the Vitana team at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more, mama!
For a limited time, Sassy Mama readers can save $50 off the registration fee with the promo code GONGXI (valid through 11 February 2019). You’ll also get a FREE Oral Glucose Tolerance Test at participating clinics (for a limited time)!