Diabetes is a condition where you have too much sugar in your blood and your body can’t use it. This can
be hard to manage by itself, but pregnancy can make it even harder. By working with your doctor and taking care of yourself, you can make sure you are healthy for you and your baby during your pregnancy.
Before getting pregnant, it is a good idea to make sure your blood sugar levels are already under control. Your blood sugar levels can change how your baby develops, especially their heart, lungs, and kidneys during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Having diabetes while pregnant can also put you at risk for health conditions, such as high blood pressure and a harder delivery.
You can keep your blood sugar under control by taking medicine, using insulin, losing weight, eating a
healthy diet, and exercising. Many women can become pregnant before they know it, so they don’t have time to prepare before getting pregnant. If this happens, meet with your doctor right away to start making a health plan for you and your baby.
During pregnancy, you will need a lot of help to make sure you and your baby are healthy. Most people work
with several doctors, including:
- Your regular doctor, or general
- An obstetrician, who works with
pregnant women and developing babies
- A pediatrician, who is a doctor
- A diabetes educator to help manage
- A dietitian to create a meal plan
that will keep you healthy and prevent high blood sugar
Working with these professionals throughout your pregnancy will help keep you and your baby healthy.
Visiting your doctors regularly throughout your pregnancy can help catch issues before they become big problems. Many people also find support from family, friends, and other groups.
If possible, find a doctor who has completed training in the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, also called “Sweet Success”. Participants in this program go through specialized training to address issues of diabetes in pregnancy and are uniquely equipped to provide direct and comprehensive care to women with diabetes while they are pregnant.
If you have morning sickness, you need to watch your blood sugar because vomiting can keep your body from digesting food. Consider having snacks on hand to keep your blood sugar from getting too low. You will need to monitor your blood sugar more often, since your blood sugar might vary more frequently. Your body can also have a harder time taking in insulin. This can be a big concern later in the pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body will need more insulin to control blood sugar. If you are taking diabetes medicines, other than insulin, your doctor might want to switch you to insulin because we don’t know how these medicines affect the developing baby.
When you are delivering your baby, you will have your blood sugar measured throughout the procedure to make sure your blood sugar isn’t too high or too low. Women with diabetes sometimes have bigger babies. If you have a bigger baby, you might have more trouble during labor. You can try breathing exercises to make labor easier. During the delivery, your doctors will keep track of how you are doing.
Life After Delivery
After the baby comes, your body’s is healing after the delivery. Your blood sugar might change quickly as
you heal. Monitoring your blood sugar is important. After you have your baby home, keep eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking your medicine. You will have some visits with your doctor and your child’s doctor to see how you are getting better after the delivery.
It is a good idea to work with your doctors throughout each stage of your pregnancy. Here is a checklist that can be a good guide for your pregnancy.
By Carley Star for the Healthy Moms Magazine
Carley Star is a Marketing Specialist at NorthCounty Health Services (NCHS) with over six years of experience in online marketing leveraging the power of blogs, online communities and social media platforms to increase brand awareness and boost brand loyalty. Stay up to date on everything from healthy living to our community events by following me on LinkedIn.