Pregnancy and Diabetes

Pregnancy brings with it the happiness and fears of having a baby. A pregnant woman who is suffering from diabetes has to be extra careful about the effects diabetes can have on her baby right from conception to its birth. The biggest challenge for you in a diabetic pregnancy is to keep a check on your blood sugar levels. As the pregnancy progresses, all possible precautions must be taken to avoid any kind of complications.

To keep your blood sugar levels under check and control, you can refer to the following health specialists or doctors who will help you to manage your sugar levels during pregnancy.

  • An obstetrician – they have experience in dealing with high risk pregnancies and diabetic pregnant women.
  • An endocrinologist – they specialize in the treatment of diabetes.
  • A dietician – they will help you to plan a healthy meal to be consumed during and after pregnancy to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
  • A neonatologist – they specialize in taking care of sick babies specially ones who are born to diabetic women.

As your pregnancy progress, you have to keep a watch on the progress and growth of the baby and your health. During the first trimester, first 10 to 12 weeks, your endocrinologist or obstetrician will help to keep your blood sugar levels close to normal because the baby’s organs are developing at this time. This is done by a regular blood sugar monitoring. Any carelessness at this time may lead to birth defects in the baby.

In the second trimester, the congenital anomalies in the fetus are checked by an ultrasound. This is because the congenital anomalies can affect your pregnancy. For diabetic patients too much of weight gain during pregnancy is not advisable and if you gain too much of weight then you may need to consult a dietician to keep it in check. Also the insulin requirements of your body will increase gradually from 16th week to 20th week and then suddenly shoot up since the hormones made in the placenta, which are needed for the baby’s growth block the effect of insulin

In the third trimester which is the last stage of the pregnancy, your doctor will keep a check on any complications related to diabetes  like high blood pressure, swollen ankles, and kidney buildup. Because the diabetic women usually give birth to overweight babies therefore another ultrasound is done to check the size and weight of the baby. This also checks out if the placenta is working properly and everything is under control.

A number of women develop diabetes during pregnancy which is referred to as “gestational diabetes” which may or may not go after delivery. Gestational diabetes during pregnancy can be controlled by taking proper diet and exercise as suggested by your doctor but in certain cases the patient needs to take insulin also to control it.

If gestational diabetes is not controlled during pregnancy, your baby can also develop low blood sugar level. The baby under such circumstances must be watched very closely till the body of the baby adjusts with the amount of insulin it makes. During pregnancy a number of changes happen in your blood sugar and if a control is not kept on the sugar level, you may end up getting various problems related to diabetes and if you already have these problems, they might get worse. Blood sugar levels if not controlled may lead to a miscarriage or may cause high blood pressure. The high blood pressure may lead to an early delivery and at times can even lead to seizures or strokes during the labor and delivery. At times out of control blood sugar levels, may cause a women to make extra large amount of amniotic fluid and this leads to an early delivery. Another problem of uncontrolled sugar levels is that the baby grows too large and causes a discomfort to the carrying mother along with a number of complications during the delivery.

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