Healthy Pregnancy in Diabetic Women
Even if you have not had diabetes before, some women may have temporary diabetes during pregnancy. This raises blood sugar levels for the first time. However, it usually returns to normal after delivery. This type of diabetes is called gestational diabetes mellitus. Read the article on the symptoms of gestational diabetes and what to do to know more about it .
What are the possible complications if a diabetic patient becomes pregnant?
Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes in pregnant women increases the risk of some complications in both the mother and the fetus during pregnancy. Below is a discussion of the risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth for diabetics and their potential effects on the unborn baby.
Risk of diabetic pregnant mother
Patients with diabetes have a higher risk of certain health complications. Pregnancy can increase these risks. Or if you already have these health problems, they can get worse. These complications include:
- Eye complications (diabetic retinopathy)
can range from blurred vision to blindness due to uncontrolled diabetes.
- Kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy)
You can read more about the various health complications of diabetes and what to do to know more about the problems
In addition, some patients with type 1 diabetes may develop a complex problem called diabetic ketoacidosis due to the accumulation of harmful chemicals called ketones in their blood . Excessive blood sugar levels due to lack of insulin cause this problem and require immediate treatment.
Risk of pregnancy and childbirth in diabetics
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes –
- The chances of miscarriage increase
- The baby may be larger than normal in size. As a result, there is a possibility of various complications during childbirth. Many times the delivery process has to be started artificially with the help of medicine and other methods, or the child needs to be cesarean section .
Risk of the fetus in a diabetic patient
If diabetes is not controlled, there is a risk of some complications in the fetus of a diabetic patient. E.g.
- The chances of being born with various birth defects are somewhat increased. Such as: Heart and nervous system defects.
- Post-birth heart problems or various other health problems, including respiratory problems, may require hospitalization.
- A stillborn baby can be born or die shortly after birth.
- Obesity or diabetes may occur later in life .
Properly controlling diabetes before and during pregnancy can reduce these risks.
How to reduce the health risks of pregnancy and fetus?
The most effective way to reduce the risk of pregnancy as a result of diabetes is to control diabetes before pregnancy. Therefore, before getting pregnant, you need to have proper planning and preparation.
So if you decide to get pregnant, you should first consult your doctor. If necessary, he can refer to a specialist.
1. Preparing for pregnancy
Controlling blood sugar levels
- Your doctor may recommend a HbA1C test to determine your blood sugar level. This test will give you an idea of how blood sugar was controlled in the last 2-3 months.
- It is best to keep HbA1C levels below 8.5% before pregnancy. To reduce the risk of maternal and fetal complications, try to keep this level as close as possible to 8.5%.
- If the HbA1C level is 10% or higher, it is safest not to get pregnant right now. Lowering sugar levels can actually be used to try to control diabetes.
- Birth control methods should be used until blood sugar levels are under control. Talk to your doctor about which method is best for you.
- If you have type 1 diabetes, check your blood ketone levels to see if you have diabetic ketoacidosis. You can buy testing strips and monitors to understand the levels of ketones in the blood. Talk to your doctor about this and find out the details.
Measure ketone levels at home if, 1) blood sugar level rises and 2) vomiting or diarrhea occurs
Folic acid intake
From the time you start trying to conceive to 12 weeks of gestation, a diabetic patient should take 5 mg of folic acid daily. These doses should not be taken without a doctor’s advice as they are much higher than normal.
Folic acid protects your child from various birth defects such as Spina bifida .
2. Things to do during pregnancy
Diabetes medications may need to be changed during pregnancy. Other health problems with diabetes, such as taking medication for high blood pressure, may also need to be changed.
If you have been taking tablets for the treatment of diabetes for so long, it is usually stopped after pregnancy. Insulin injections are recommended instead. A drug called metformin may also be added.
If you have already taken insulin injections to control diabetes, you may need to take a different type of insulin instead.
Regular blood sugar measurement
Since nausea (morning sickness) and nausea during pregnancy affect blood sugar levels, regular blood sugar measurements should be taken at home at this time. Talk to your doctor to find out the details.
Hypoglycemia can occur again and again in order to control the amount of sugar in the blood. In short, many say hypo , which means excessive lowering of blood sugar levels. It is not harmful for your baby but you and your family need to be aware of it. Talk to a doctor or diabetes specialist about this.
Eye tests for gestational diabetes
If you have diabetes, you should have regular eye examinations during pregnancy. This checkup is done to identify the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
The risk of serious eye problems increases during pregnancy, so it is important to get this test done. It is possible to get rid of diabetic retinopathy through treatment if caught early.
Regular pregnancy checkups
It is very important to get regular pregnancy checkups. This will allow the doctor to monitor your condition. In addition, any changes that may affect your health and the health of your child will be quickly remedied.
3. Things to do during childbirth
Patients with diabetes must choose a hospital during childbirth where skilled doctors and nurses, specialists run by specialists, can take proper care of mother and child.
Take your blood sugar measuring instrument and the medicine you are taking with you when you go to the hospital for delivery. It is usually necessary to continue taking the medication or insulin with regular sugar measurements before the onset of labor or before the operation, or before the doctor stops taking the medication.
Prolonged pregnancy can increase the risk of complications for you and your baby. So the doctor may suggest to start the delivery process artificially through medicine or other procedure. If the baby is larger than normal, the doctor may recommend caesarean section for safe delivery.
Your blood sugar will be monitored throughout the delivery process. If necessary, insulin and glucose may be given intravenously to control blood sugar.
4. After giving birth to a child
Usually after giving birth you can take the baby in your arms or breastfeed. It is important to breastfeed the baby as soon as possible (within 30 minutes) after birth. After that, she should be given regular milk for 2-3 hours till her blood sugar level is safe and stable.
Blood tests from the ankle may be done to check the blood sugar level of the newborn a few hours after birth. Extra care is needed if the amount of sugar is not within safe levels or if the child cannot eat properly.
The baby may need to be temporarily fed through a tube or drop to raise blood sugar, and may even need to be given intravenous glucose. If the baby is sick or needs intensive care, he or she may need to be placed in a special neonatal unit (such as a neonatal ICU) for care.
The dose of insulin or oral medication to control your diabetes will change after childbirth. You may return to the dose of insulin you took before pregnancy or the way you took oral tablets. The doctor will talk to you and decide on the right medication and dosage.
Blood sugar levels will be measured once before the baby goes home and again during the 6 week checkup. There will also be advice on a healthy postpartum diet and exercise.