I have diabetes. What do I need to know before I get pregnant ...
I have diabetes. What do I need to know before I get pregnant ...

Pregnancy happens to be one of the greatest gifts that life bestows on you. As you are about to welcome a new member to your family, there are a lot of precautions that you have to undertake to make sure that your baby stays safe and healthy.

If you have diabetes and you are planning to extend your family, then you should work hard to get your blood glucose level close to your target before getting pregnant. As it is, pregnancy is full of challenges and being a diabetic just adds to the problem.

Ladies who suffer from diabetes have special concerns. Apart from the new demands that are put on your body by pregnancy, your diabetes medications and your blood glucose levels are also going to be affected by pregnancy.

It does not matter whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, but you should always plan your pregnanacy as much as possible if you are a diabetic. By controlling your blood sugar level right from the conception throughout the entire phase of pregnancy, you can get a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby.

But what if you experience unplanned pregnancy! There is also plenty that you can do to ensure that your baby gets the best start in life if your pregnancy is not planned and you have diabetes.

Preparing for pregnancy when you have diabetes
Preparing for pregnancy when you have diabetes

Here are some precautions that you should take which will help decrease the risks for both your baby and you.

Planned Pregnancy

You should visit your doctor about six months before starting to try to get pregnant. You will be advised to take supplements like folate and also be suggested to control your level of blood sugar. Your medications can also be changed because of this.

If your diabetes is well-controlled and you are healthy, then there are more chances that your pregnancy will lead to a normal delivery. If uncontrolled then diabetes can lead to some complications in your pregnanacy.

Unplanned Pregnancy

It is quite understandable that everyone cannot have a planned pregnancy. If you are diabetic and suspect that you are pregnant, then you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

How to Get Ready

Counselling before conception will help you to be emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy.

You should discuss with your doctor to see if your diabetes is well-controlled to stop your birth control preventive method. You can see how well it is going for the past 12 weeks by going for the glycosylated hemoglobin test like A1c or HbA1c. There are some other medical tests that can prevent pregnancy complications like the ones mentioned below:

  • Examining the Foot
  • Blood Test to Ensure Whether Your Liver and Kidneys are Working Fine
  • Urinalysis for Checking the Problems of the Kidney
  • Eye Exam for Checking If You Have Cataracts, Glaucoma, or Retinopathy
  • Triglyceride and Cholesterol Blood Tests
  • Electrocardiogram

How Your Baby Gets Affected by Diabetes

A condition called “Macrosomia” is often seen in babies who are born to mothers with diabetes. This means that the babies are much bigger.

As the mothers have high levels of blood sugar, too much sugar gets inside the placenta. The pancreas of the baby realizes that and creates a greater amount of insulin for using it up. The excess sugar ultimately converts into more fat that leads to the formation of a large baby.

Some hospitals observe the babies of diabetic mothers for several hours post birth. While pregnant, if you have daily levels of high blood pressure, especially a day or 24 hours before the delivery, then there are chances that the baby may get deficient levels of blood sugar just after they are born.

This happens because the baby’s body produces insulin based on the high blood glucose level of the mother when it is inside. Then when it is suddenly taken out, the level of blood glucose level drops abruptly. Glucose can be offered to balance it out.

The magnesium and calcium levels can be low, too. Medications can be used for bringing the balance back.

Because of diabetes, there are some babies that are too big to be delivered through the vagina. You will require a C-section or a cesarean delivery for that. Your doctor will keep a close eye on the size of the baby so that you can plan the safest way to deliver.

Tips to Get a Healthy Pregnancy and Baby for a Diabetic Mother

So if you have a diabetes Type 1 or Type 2 then here are some of the steps that you should undertake from day one to have a healthy pregnancy and a baby.

  • Assemble the Right Team of Professionals –Women with diabetes may require almost three times as many appointments than women with lower risk of complications. Go to a highly proficient endocrinologist and obstetrician for monitoring your pregnancy.
  • Shun the Oral Medications and Go for Insulin at this Time – Many doctors suggest women discontinue their oral medications for diabetes when they are pregnant. This is because there is not enough evidence that the diabetes-related oral medications like metformin are safe during this phase. Instead, insulin should be taken to control your blood sugar before and during pregnancy.
  • Go for Quick-carbs Stash – Hypoglycaemia is a common condition that occurs if you are dependent on insulin and the blood glucose level of your body is too low. Not eating the right amount of food or taking too much insulin can give rise to this condition. For this, you can keep glucose gels or tablets, always with you, for reversing Hypoglycaemia.
  • Get a grip on Morning Sickness –Since you need insulin, you must have food. That becomes a problem when you are unable to keep any food down. You should take a few bites of salt-lines even before you come out of bed. Discuss the options with the other doctors if you have severe morning sickness.
  • Try to Maintain the Control over Your Blood Sugar – You should work hard to keep the blood sugar level under control throughout your pregnancy. This means to closely monitor your blood glucose level during this time. You should check it every hour more than almost fifteen times a day. Remember this is essential for the safety of your baby.

The above discussion will help you to have a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby. Even before you have detected your pregnancy with a quality pregnancy test kit, you should take regular advice from your doctor and start to keep your blood sugar level under control. Keep it in mind that this will help you to ensure a brighter and healthier future for your baby.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Diabetes in Indian women is rapidly on the rise in India. This can be due to many reasons – lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and irregular sleeping hours. We explore in detail. Read more on parentcircle.com

    • Thank you, Amy. I want to invite you to be a guest blogger at FoodnHealth.org and tell us more about the rise in diabetes in Indian women. Hope you agree to write and submit a guest blog post on the subject of diabetes.
      Let me know. Would be happy to have you on board 🙂

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