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Aicelle Santos Suffers From Gestational Diabetes: 'Gustong-Gusto Ko Ng Tinapay'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Aprica and Nice Print Photography
  • Like many preggos, Aicelle Santos, who admits to being “likas akong matakaw,” experienced being “gutom parati” so she kept on eating. She particularly fancied all kinds of bread, and she suspects it could have been a factor in her gestational diabetes. 

    “Gustong-gusto ko ng tinapay,” Aicelle told SmartParenting.com.ph in an online interview. “Kaya siguro tumaas ang sugar ko. Tinapay, kahit walang palaman. Or pastries, pies. You can just order, eh.”

    Test for gestational diabetes

    The singer and theater actress, who’s on her 36th week as of this writing, recalled her doctor suspecting something was not right during ultrasound in her third trimester. Her baby girl looked too big in the scan and true enough, she gained 1 kilo.

    Aicelle was then ordered to take the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) to check if she had gestational diabetes, and it confirmed her doctor’s suspicion.

    Aicelle said her family has a history of the blood sugar disorder. “Sabi ko, ‘Doc, pa’no mo nalaman?’ [Sabi niya], ‘Hindi naman lalaki nang ganyan kung pinigilan mo ang sobrang sugar.’ But, a month before that, I took my OGT test [for the first time], completely normal naman. Gano’n, sobrang bilis.”

    She continues: “I hit gestational diabetes already. Ang gagawin naman nila do’n, ipagda-diet ka muna and then imo-monitor mo within the week. After that one week, the perinatologist will tell you kung mag-i-insulin ka or not. So ako naman, sabi ko, ‘Ayokong mag-insulin.’

    “Gusto ko, makapag-diet and maging normal kami ni baby. Awa naman ni Lord, after three weeks ng monitoring, I was able to control my diet. Nag-decide ang doctor ko not to give me insulin. Pero mino-monitor ko pa rin. Sabi niya, ‘Ituloy mo lang ’yang diet until your delivery.’ Kasi nga we want to make sure we don’t have high sugar pag nilabas si baby.”


    Who is at risk of gestational diabetes

    According to experts in the Philippines, one in every seven deliveries in the country suffers from gestational diabetes complications. Those women diagnosed with the disease are likely to develop Type 2 diabetes after two to three years from pregnancy. They can also pass the disorder on to their children, which may start manifesting in their adolescence. 

    Medical sources worldwide say that there’s no clear explanation on why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t. But they agree that excess weight often plays a role. Blood sugar usually rises because hormone levels change during pregnancy, which then gives the body a harder time in processing blood sugar sufficiently.

    Aside from being overweight and obesity, there are other risk factors. A pregnant woman may develop gestational diabetes if:

    • She’s not doing enough physical activity.
    • She had a previous case of gestational diabetes or prediabetes.
    • She had previously given birth to a baby weighing more than 4.1 kg.
    • She suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome before pregnancy.
    • She has an immediate family member who is diabetic.

    What to do if you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes

    The American Diabetes Association (ADA) urges pregnant women to act quickly when diagnosed with the disease. The first thing to do is work with doctors in coming up with a plan and ensure a heathy pregnancy until birth. It's also important to ask questions and request for help. They assure that the disease is always treatable and there are ways to combat it. 

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    Maintaining a balanced diet and following a regular exercise routine will not only treat but also prevent gestational diabetes. Aicelle, for one, has learned to curb her appetite for bread, rice, and other foods high in sugar. She has also started going for healthier alternatives, like quinoa and cauliflower rice.

    “Yesterday lang ako nag-start with cauliflower rice,” she informed us. “Gano’n pala ang itsura no’n? Di ko alam. Mukha pala siyang minced garlic. Hindi siya masyadong appetizing. But, as in, okay siya sa glucose level.”

    Indeed, there’s nothing Aicelle won’t do to ensure the health and delivery of her and her husband Mark Zambrano’s first child. She has overcome such pregnancy complications as gestational diabetes, and she’s ready to meet the baby girl they’ve already named Zandrine Anne

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