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Changing lives: Gestational diabetes poses increased risk to mother, child

Talofa Samoa! A young lady, pregnant for the first time, came to our Clinic the other day, quite distraught and wanting help. 

During pre-natal check-ups she had been diagnosed with ‘gestational diabetes’, a condition affecting over 5% of pregnancies, in which women without a history of diabetes develop high blood sugar in the diabetic range during their pregnancy. 

The doctor had put her on the usual oral medication to bring down her blood sugar level.  She and her husband were happily proceeding with plans to migrate to New Zealand when the NZ immigration authorities blocked her because of her diabetic condition and being obese. When we checked her, in spite of the drugs she was taking, her blood sugar was still elevated.

 She attended METI’s Health Seminar and started strictly following the whole food, plant based (WFPB) diet. When we saw her one week later, she had lost 1.5 kg (which tells us that she had been following the diet without cheating) and her blood sugar level was close to be dangerously low. We stopped her medication and advised her to continue to follow the WFPB diet. 

The last we heard was that the NZ authorities had taken note of her progress and she was allowed to proceed with her plans to migrate to NZ…

We highlight this case, not to show the way for obese diabetic ladies to get past the immigration authorities in spite of their medical condition but to encourage all patients with gestational diabetes to attend METI’s Health Seminar and to strictly follow the WFPB diet. There are several reasons for this advice.

Gestational diabetes poses an increased risk to both mother and child. The reason for concern about high sugar levels during pregnancy is that it leads to an increase in size of the baby, which can lead to a difficult delivery and often requires the baby to be delivered by caesarean section. 

The most dreaded complication of gestational diabetes is a condition called ‘preeclampsia’, which causes the mothers to develop –at times- a dangerously high blood pressure.

The conventional approach to treating gestational diabetes is inadequate. 

Even when on drugs and with the dietary advice typically offered of a ‘balanced diet’ it is not sufficient –as we saw with the young mother mentioned above- to reverse the diabetes. Yet, pregnant women are highly motivated to follow the WFPB diet. 

This ideal nutrition will enhance their health and that of the baby and free them of the stigma of being labelled ‘diabetic’.  

Finally, gestational diabetes is a warning sign to the mother: The majority of women, who develop diabetes during pregnancy, if they continue to consume high fat, animal based diets, will eventually develop full blown Type 2 diabetes with all its potential complications.

Obesity is closely linked with gestational diabetes, therefore following the WFPB diet will ‘kill two birds with one throw’ it will reverse the diabetes and at the same time lead to steady weight loss, as mentioned earlier, about 1.5 kg per week, if the patient sticks firmly to the diet guidelines. 

We are happy to present here –in her own words- the testimony of  Mrs Gagau Siaki, another one of our ‘champions’, who has rapidly brought down her high blood pressure and blood sugar by strictly following the WFPB diet. After only two weeks on the diet, she was able to discontinue all drugs she had been taking for years. 

 

TODAY’S TESTIMONY

Talofa Samoa, my name is Gagau Siaki. 

I am a woman of 61 years of age from the village of Samalaeulu. I developed Diabetes and Hypertension more than 10 years ago. In spite of being on diabetic and hypertension pills for all these years, my condition became worse. 

I felt my body become weaker and finally I hardly could keep walking.

I am so impressed when METI’s program arrived in my village. My extended family has a history of diabetes and most of them died because of this disease. 

But I am very happy when I heard for the first time that diabetes and hypertension could be reversed. 

The moment I attended METI’s Health Seminar delivered in our village, I started the so-called reversal diet right from that time. 

I have been on this diet now for one month and two weeks. 

After two weeks on the diet, I stopped taking my pills and my blood pressure and blood sugar became normal. 

I felt my body lighter. I am back to my normal duties as I was used to before I developed Hypertension and Diabetes. 

Thank you very much, to my dear family, for supporting me with my diet, also to the lady called the ‘Taiala’ (frontline multi-disciplinary community worker trained by METI) in my village for teaching and helping me to cook the right food. 

A big thank you to METI for this program in my village and especially for their message of hope that saved my life from this progressive disease. Soifua.

 

If you, reading this Health column or if any of your family or friends are suffering from NCD, it might be wise for all of you to come to the METI Clinic at Motootua to enroll in our Health Seminars to get all the details of how to start the life-saving WFPB nutrition program. 

You can reach us at 7636358 during working hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.

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