Category Archives: diabetes during pregnancy

Nine Months That Are Worth A Lifetime

Pregnant women who have diabetes prior to their pregnancy have special health concerns. In addition to the new demands that pregnancy puts on the body, women with diabetes must also monitor and control their blood sugar levels and manage their diabetes medications. Your health  directly affects your baby’s health.

If you are planning a baby, a meeting with your healthcare practitioner is important to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Your healthcare practitioner can ensure that your diabetes is well-controlled for you to stop birth control measures. A blood test called the glycosylated haemoglobin test can help evaluate how well your diabetes has been controlled over the previous 8-12 weeks. Other medical tests before you become pregnant can also help monitor your health and prevent the development of diabetic complications during pregnancy. Pre-conception counselling can educate women so they can be physically and emotionally prepared for pregnancy.

Importance of blood sugar control

Good blood sugar control is important before becoming pregnant because many women do not even know they are pregnant until the baby has been growing for two to four weeks. High blood sugar levels early in pregnancy (before 13 weeks) can cause birth defects. They can also increase risk of miscarriage and diabetes-related complications.

Blood sugar control means keeping blood glucose levels within the ideal range as well as balanced meals, exercise and diabetes medications taken religiously.
Those urges for sweets must be kept in check.

How diabetes may affect Baby

Pregnant women with diabetes may have babies who are considerably larger than normal. This is because they receive too much sugar via the placenta because their mothers have high blood sugar levels. The pancreas senses this and produces more insulin in an attempt to use up all the extra sugar. That extra sugar is converted to fat. The doctor may have to plan for the safest mode of delivery. If the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally, a caesarean may become necessary.

If you have high blood sugar levels consistently during pregnancy (specially in the 24 hours before pregnancy), your baby may develop dangerously low blood sugar levels right after delivery. This is because the baby has high levels of insulin to use up the extra sugar and when that source of sugar is suddenly taken away its  blood sugar level drops quickly. Babies of mothers with diabetes may need to be monitored for low blood sugar levels and given glucose intravenously. Your baby may also have imbalances in calcium and magnesium levels, which will need to be replaced with medication.

Pregnancy is a special time. You are bringing a new human being into the world. This is a time when pregnant women, especially women with diabetes, need to take health issues seriously and be particular about following the doctor’s advice on diet and exercise. Your baby’s health and well-being not only inside the womb but after he or she is born, depend  on your health. Those nine months are worth a lifetime.