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Diabetes and Pregnancy that You Need to Know

Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood to be used as energy. This glucose builds up in the blood causing high blood glucose levels.

It is not understood why this happens but it is felt that as the placenta grows to support the growing baby, the hormones from the placenta blocks some of the action of the mothers insulin. This makes the mother insulin resistant. Becoming insulin resistant makes it hard for the mothers body to use insulin. She may need up to three times her usual amount of insulin.

The March of Dimes estimates that 9 out of every 100 women in the United States have diabetes. It is estimated that four to seven percent of pregnant women will develop diabetes.

Pregnancy

Desire to become pregnant and give birth to a child is very joyous period any women faces in her life. But diabetes may spoil your pleasure and happiness of being pregnant and giving birth to a child.

When your pancreas can’t produce insulin, or produces insufficient insulin you are said to be diabetic. A diabetic has to face a lot of problems such as nerve damage, blindness, kidney failure etc. But if you are a diabetic and pregnant women, complications can be very serious and even fatal for you and your unborn child if you don’t take proper care of your sugar level.

You must take prenatal because it contains folic acid which your body needs the most during pregnancy.

Monitor your blood sugar regularly. Now-a-days there are different blood sugar testing machines in the market which are handy, economical and convenient to use at home. Thus you can always keep an eye on your blood sugar level.

Eating right diet during pregnancy is very essential if you are diabetic. You should eat whole grains, green vegetables and drink juice of bitter-gourd and bottle gourd. Fiber too helps a lot in lowering the blood sugar level in your system.

If you maintain good blood sugar in your body then the risk of miscarriage minimizes. Also to avoid preterm birth or to reduce any kind of birth defects, you need to control your blood sugar.

Exercise for diabetes

Excess blood sugar in your blood can cause you placenta due to which your unborn child’s pancreas produces extra insulin which may result in growing the size of your child abnormally which can cause complications during the delivery. Therefore don’t let your sugar level rise and walk 10-15 minutes everyday after meals and exercise moderately for half an hour once or twice a day. Seeking physiotherapist’s guidance can be very helpful.

Make sure that you don’t skip any medicines during your pregnancy. In many cases your doctor may switch to insulin injections instead of oral medicines.

Since medical science has progressed greatly, you don’t have to worry about giving birth to a child even if you are a diabetic. Follow the instructions given by your doctors and they will take care of safe delivery of your child. It is wise to consult an obstetrician during pregnancy so that he can monitor your health till the delivery of your child.

How do I know if I have gestational diabetes?

A doctor should test most women who have average risk for gestational diabetes when they are between 24-28 weeks pregnant. If your risk is higher-than-average, your doctor may test you earlier, possibly as soon as you know you are pregnant. Most women with diabetes during pregnancy have no symptoms. Most of the time the symptoms are vague and are not recognized as a problem. Some of the earliest signs include excessive thirst, frequent urination and feeling more tired than usual.

Will gestational diabetes affect the baby?

Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially when they control their blood sugar, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and keep a healthy weight. In some cases, though, diabetes during a pregnancy can affect the baby. Some potential risks include:

  • The baby's body can be larger than normal
  • The baby’s blood sugar may be too low.
  • The baby’s skin turns yellowish and the whites of the eyes may change color
  • The baby may have trouble breathing
  • The baby may have low mineral levels in the blood.

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