To bear a child in this world is no doubt one of the most wonderful things that can happen to a woman. But for some women, it is not as simple as carrying a child in your womb and delivering them after nine months. Such is the dilemma of women with diabetes. For the longest time, diabetes and pregnancy are two things that didn’t really mix well together. It was used to be discouraged by health workers and doctors due to the complications that may arise from the combination of the two. Thankfully, after years of research and advances in medicine, diabetic women are now given the same chance as any other woman to experience the joys of being a mother.
Women with diabetes now have better chances of having a successful pregnancy. However, there are a few important things that they have to consider before, during, and after pregnancy in order to ensure the health of both the mother and the baby. If you are planning to become pregnant, one of the most important things that you must do is to monitor your blood glucose level tightly 3 months before the planned pregnancy and aim for an almost normal level. This is very important so that your body would be prepared for the pregnancy, but most of all, because high blood glucose levels during the first trimester of your pregnancy could cause birth defects in your baby or even miscarriage. It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor way before your planned pregnancy so that he can give you the proper guidelines and program to follow for a successful and safe pregnancy.
Since monitoring your blood glucose level and maintaining it to an acceptable level is of utmost importance, you must put a lot of effort into this. One of the things that you have to do is to develop a special diet that will help you maintain a healthy sugar level. This is usually done with the help of your doctor. Another is to continually self-monitor your sugar level and this should be done 6-8 times a day. Lastly, in order to control your sugar level, use insulin injections instead of oral medications as the effects of oral medications on the baby are still unknown.
Once you’ve become pregnant, it becomes more critical as the baby is now growing inside you. Therefore, the things that you’ve been doing before the pregnancy must still continually be practiced and strictly followed. Ideal gain weight during the pregnancy varies and must be consulted with your doctor, but for a person with a normal weight to start with, 25-35 pounds of gain weight is considered to be ideal.
There are also times that a non-diabetic pregnant woman develops diabetes midway through the pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes and it happens to 3-5% of pregnant women. Since it occurs midway during pregnancy, birth defects are not as much of a problem as formation of organs occurs during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Still, it could be very dangerous as it could result to the death of the baby. Thus, the precautions done by the women who are diabetic even before the pregnancy must also be strictly implemented in this case specially when it comes to controlling the blood sugar level.
Another complication that may occur during a diabetic pregnancy is having a very large baby. During pregnancy, there’s a lot of interaction happening between the mother and the child. As the mother nourishes the baby, a very high glucose level in the blood received by the baby could cause the baby to become very large. This is due to the inability of the natural insulin in the baby’s body to convert the excess glucose into energy and it becomes converted into fats instead. Thus, you have a very fat baby. This could lead to a more complicated delivery, often needing a cesarean section. After the baby has been delivered, he/she still has to be monitored closely for changes in the blood sugar level.
Women who develop gestational diabetes often lose it after the delivery. However, there are some who retain it and develop type 2 diabetes. Women who developed gestational diabetes must be tested every year for type 2 diabetes as a precautionary measure. Extra large babies also tend to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes later on in their lives. Although this could not be prevented altogether, living a healthy lifestyle and taking precautionary measures can help lower its chances of happening.
In the end, although it’s much more complicated than a normal pregnancy, pregnancy in diabetics now has a good chance of success. All you need is to be informed of all the necessary care that must be taken, and be sure to involve your doctor throughout the whole process to guide you and ensure that everything is in place and that both you and your baby will be in good health.
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