Diabetes and Pregnancy: All You Should Know

A big decision in every women’s life is having a child. This decision becomes more difficult if you’re facing a problem as serious as diabetes. There are quite a few women with diabetes who have got healthy babies. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that the whole process is quite challenging. This article is all you need to know how diabetes and pregnancy are linked and how to cope with this issue.

 

Understanding the Basics

Before knowing how to deal with pregnancy when you have diabetes, you should know about diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which the level of blood glucose becomes abnormally high, either due to the decreased synthesis of insulin or decreased responsiveness of body tissues to available insulin. This leads to a rise in blood sugar levels.

The common types of diabetes during pregnancy are:

Type 1 or 2 diabetes

During type 1 diabetes, there isn’t enough insulin manufactured in the body and the body can’t convert the blood sugar into energy. Daily insulin has to be administered to deal with this diabetes type.

During type 2 diabetes, the secretion of insulin by body is normal or near normal. But, the body can’t use this insulin to turn sugars into energy. Exercising and eating a clean diet on regular basis is the key to controlling type 2 diabetes. If this doesn’t work, the last option is always to turn to medications.

But why is it so important to know and treat diabetes during pregnancy? Can’t both processed go hand in hand without causing complications? Your question is indeed logical and here is a list of complications that a diabetic mother and her child might face if the pregnancy is completed in a state of aberrant glucose control.

Defects in Birth – During the first two months of pregnancy, the organs of a child are formed, even before the woman knows she is pregnant. If the blood sugar levels aren’t kept in check during the formation of baby organs, it can lead to serious problems, like those in heart, brain and bones.

Large Baby – If a woman doesn’t control her diabetes well, it can cause the baby’s blood sugar level to become high. Due to this, the baby becomes large as he continuously gets fed on the extra sugar. Now you can imagine how an extra-large baby can create problems for the mother, especially during the last few months of pregnancy. During delivery, it can create problems for both the mother and the baby.

Preeclampsia and Hypoglycemia – Pregnant females tend to have abnormal blood pressure, a condition known as preeclampsia. This is a serious condition, as it can threaten the life of both mother and baby. Clinical studies have shown that the chances of preeclampsia and related complications are higher in diabetic pregnant females as compared to normal females.

Premature Birth – Research has shown that it is more likely that a woman with diabetes will give an early birth as compared to woman without diabetes. Early birth can cause several serious problems like the underdevelopment of baby’s heart, brain and bones.

Miscarriage – Diabetes can lead to stillbirth and miscarriages. Stillbirth means that a baby dies in the womb after a period of 20 weeks. On the other hand, miscarriage means that the baby dies before 20 weeks. Diabetes isn’t the only cause of miscarriages and stillbirths; it can happen for a variety of reasons, but having diabetes can make you more prone to them.

 

Gestation Diabetes

If a woman gets diabetes AFTER she gets pregnant, it is mostly gestational diabetes. Like other forms of diabetes, this form of diabetes can be cured through healthy eating and balanced diet. The good news regarding gestational diabetes is that it goes as soon as a woman delivers the baby. If diabetes doesn’t go after that, it is more likely to be type 2 diabetes.

It is usually diagnosed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If blood sugar isn’t controlled, a number of problems can be caused due to gestational diabetes, which are mentioned below:

  • A C-section surgery is required for women with gestational diabetes. It is the surgery in which the baby is delivered through the belly. Now there is nothing dangerous about delivering the baby through C-section. But a woman with C-section surgery takes a longer time to heal after childbirth.
  • High blood pressure and low blood sugar are also the complication of gestational diabetes. High blood pressure is no joke; it is really a serious problem. It can lead to complications like seizure and stroke in the woman delivering the baby and premature birth of the baby. Low blood sugar, too, is quite dangerous. An early treatment of diabetes can help a woman avoid these problems.

 

Monitoring Diabetes during Pregnancy

Now let us see how to keep the diabetes under control during pregnancy. Following are the steps you should take to lower blood sugar levels and to control diabetes:

Healthy Diet – Sticking to a healthy diet is quite important during pregnancy. You can manage your weight and blood sugar levels through a healthy diet. So, you need to pay some serious attention to your diet. You should go to a dietician for this purpose, as he will be able to give you a healthy diet plan for you to follow within your budget. This is beneficial for both the mother and the baby.

Smoking – There is a reason it is said that “Smoking Kills”. Smoking affects your overall health and can increase the chances of premature birth of the baby. People with diabetes should especially avoid smoking as it can lead to many health problems during pregnancy.

Exercise – To control diabetes, exercise is a MUST- no matter if you’ve type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. You can exercise during different phases of pregnancy, but make sure you consult the doctor before that. Do light intensity exercises for about 40 minutes at least 2-3 times a week.

Medication – To keep your blood sugar levels under control during pregnancy, take insulin and anti-diabetes pills as recommended by the doctor.

Checking Blood Sugar – During pregnancy, if you have diabetes, the blood sugar levels will fluctuate often. Therefore, you should keep on checking blood sugar level during different phases of pregnancy.

 

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a sensitive condition and your health and the health of your baby largely depend on the choices you make. If you’ve made a vow to your little angle that you won’t let anything harm him/her then the first thing you need to do, for the sake of your baby, is get your blood glucose undergo control throughout the pregnancy proce

 

References

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/diabetes-types.html
  2. http://www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/pregnancy/
  3. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg63
  4. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/diabetes-pregnant.aspx
  5. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/pregnancy/
  6. http://www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/pregnancy/

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