Healthy Mother—Healthy Baby: Diabetes during Pregnancy

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Healthy Mother—Healthy Baby: Diabetes during Pregnancy

Diabetes during Pregnancy

Diabetes is a very serious disease that affects over 400 million people all over the world. However, mothers-to-be are especially concerning, since they have two lives to maintain and two bodies to keep healthy and balanced. So, how can you battle pregnancy diabetes and keep your glucose levels normal while expecting? Here’s a little guide that can help.

What is pregnancy diabetes?

Most women who suffer from diabetes have it before they get pregnant. That type of diabetes is known as pregestational diabetes. However, some future mothers only get diabetes while pregnant or suffer from gestational diabetes. This happens due to hormonal changes and changes in the way a woman’s body utilizes glucose. The placenta is the main culprit. It provides oxygen and necessary nutrients for the baby but also releases many hormones that can block insulin and cause insulin resistance. This doesn’t allow glucose to travel into other cells but causes them to stay trapped in the blood and trigger an increase in blood sugar.

Who is at risk?

There are no strict rules when it comes to pregnancy diabetes, but some research shows that overweight women have a slightly bigger chance of developing gestational diabetes. Women who suffered from gestational diabetes in their previous pregnancies are also more likely to have it again. Also, women with type 2 diabetes (or those with family members who suffer from diabetes) more commonly develop complications during pregnancy.

How is it diagnosed?

Almost all pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes during their term, usually between 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. At this time, they are given a glucose solution and administered a test. If the measurements show high blood sugar, the specialist will diagnose the woman with gestational diabetes.

How can it be treated?

The treatment for gestational diabetes varies depending on the symptoms, severity of the condition, age, and general health levels. The whole purpose of the treatment is to keep blood glucose levels at bay. Usually, it includes careful diet changes with minimal amounts of carbs in food and drink. Your doctor might also encourage more physical activity and regular blood glucose monitoring. Some women might also get insulin injections and medication for hypoglycemia. For extra information about how to reverse insulin resistance, you can check out various blogs that can supply you with useful facts and tips. These also have plenty of information about diabetes and diabetes management and can offer great support during your battle.

What does it cause?

Pregnancy diabetes mostly affects the mother, but it can also have effects on the baby. The worst thing that can happen due to diabetes is a stillbirth. Affected baby might develop slower in the womb which can prematurely end its life. The exact connection between stillbirth and diabetes is yet unknown, but the rate of stillbirth in mothers with poor glucose control is definitely increased. Some birth defects are also possible, especially in the heart, blood vessels, and brain.

What happens after childbirth?

Once the baby and the placenta are delivered, most women experience very low insulin requirements. The first few days after the birth are especially critical, but they usually increase in time. It’s very important to have your target blood glucose levels reviewed. They should be a bit higher than your pregnancy targets to enable healthy breastfeeding and other baby-related routines. After some time, your blood glucose levels should go back to your pre-pregnancy levels, although you might want to have regular tests in the future to avoid type 2 diabetes developments.

All of this might sound very scary, but only between 3 and 9% of women experience gestational diabetes. Nonetheless, make sure to consult with your physician before and during the pregnancy in order to stay healthy, have a smooth delivery and get a strong child.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Diana Smith is a full-time mom interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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