Women and Diabetes: The Effects of Pregnancy in New Jersey
Pregnancy is often an exciting time in your life, but it can also be unexpected and stressful. What if you have diabetes? Diabetes is a condition that causes high levels of glucose in the blood. Health problems can occur when glucose levels are too high. Diabetes can be especially hard on women during their pregnancy. It can cause serious problems, such as a miscarriage or premature delivery, and a baby born with birth defects, jaundice, and hypoglycemia. Because we know more about diabetes than ever before, there is a chance for a relatively normal pregnancy and for your baby to be completely healthy after delivery. It all depends on how you control your diabetes during your pregnancy.
What Precautions/Preventions Can Women With Diabetes Take?
Health care providers now know that the key to a healthy pregnancy for a woman with diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels in the target range you and your doctor discuss. If your blood glucose levels are not in your target range, work to bring your diabetes under control three to six months before getting pregnant. You should continue to keep excellent blood glucose levels during pregnancy and after delivery.
It is also important for women with diabetes to maintain a healthy body weight, improve their diet and exercise, and have a pre-pregnancy exam. A pre-pregnancy exam by your doctor includes: measuring your A1C level to make sure blood glucose levels are under control as well as an assessment of any complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney, nerve, and eye damage.
Women with diabetes should also talk to their doctors about current medications they are taking to make sure they are safe to use during pregnancy. Drugs commonly used to treat diabetes may not be recommended during pregnancy, especially statins, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and most noninsulin therapies. Talk to your doctor immediately if these are medications you are currently taking.
How Can Women Manage Their Diabetes During Pregnancy?
Besides your main doctor you should establish a diabetes team, including an obstetrician, pediatrician or neonatologist, a registered dietician, and a diabetes educator. Your diabetes team will help you manage your pregnancy with meal plans, guidance, knowledge, and experience with high-risk pregnancies. In order to keep control over your diabetes, make sure to ask your team any questions you may have when you are unsure about something.
Once a team is assembled, you should be checking on your blood glucose level, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and sometimes, taking medications. Checking your blood glucose levels is a key part of taking good care of yourself and your baby before, during and after pregnancy. After checking your glucose, you should write down your results and begin to log your meals and exercise activity.
Can Nondiabetic Women Develop Diabetes During Pregnancy?
Yes, women who do not have diabetes before pregnancy can develop gestational diabetes as a result of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops in women for the first time during pregnancy. It can be caused by a change in the way a woman’s body responds to insulin during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the mother’s body makes more insulin to keep the blood glucose level normal. For some women, even this increase is not enough to keep their blood glucose levels in the normal range, resulting in gestational diabetes. For most women, gestational diabetes goes away after childbirth. However, they remain at high risk of having diabetes later in life. All pregnant women should talk to their doctors about being screened for gestational diabetes, and have a blood test to measure the level of glucose in their blood.
Pregnancy Success: Key Tips
By keeping control over your diabetes you should be able to have a healthy pregnancy. Remember to keep your blood glucose level in the target range by checking your glucose levels daily, eating healthy, exercising and taking the appropriate medication. Additionally, make sure to be screened for gestational diabetes by your doctor. It is up to you to follow these precautionary measures and management tips to help decrease the risks for your new baby.
Most importantly, make an appointment with your doctor at Women’s Health Associates for more tips and guidance on a healthy pregnancy if you are a woman with diabetes or have a family history of diabetes.