Diabetes and Being Pregnant

Despite diabetes being a common condition, many people still have concerns about how to manage the problem effectively and without risking further complications in the future. Overall, this is a worry that most sufferers have, but perhaps none more so than a pregnant woman.

It is possible that some women may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes prior to falling pregnant but on the other hand, there are the ones who can develop the condition during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. This is known as GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) and experts suggest per 100 women, between 2 and 7 could be affected with this particular form of diabetes.

During all three stages of pregnancy, all expectant mums will undergo regular diabetes screening to ensure that there aren’t any problems. Of course, it is best to ensure that you conduct frequent tests at home as well, because as a pregnancy develops, more insulin is essential to ensure good health, for both you and your baby.

I already have diabetes, what should I be aware
of?

That is a very good question because if you are already pregnant or are planning on trying for a baby then it is vital to be aware of any possible risk factors to you and your unborn child/children.

  • If you do already suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes then it is possible that babies born under these circumstances could weigh more than the average birth weight
  • There is a greater risk of having a high blood pressure, as well as possibly developing pre-eclampsia which can be very serious, for both mum and baby
  • It is possible that your baby could end up being born prematurely
  • Your baby could end up being born with a low blood sugar level but it has been said that for mothers who breastfeed their babies approximately 30 minutes after the birth, then this should help him / her achieve an appropriate and manageable level. Should this not be possible then a drip with a sugar solution might be administered to achieve the same effect.

These are just a few of the main problems but should you have any concerns (it doesn’t matter how trivial they might seem), always be sure to discuss them with your doctor and/or midwife or health visitor.

Top tips: If  at some stage during your pregnancy you end up developing GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) then there are a couple of important facts that you will need to know.

  • If you develop GDM in pregnancy, then you are more likely to get this again with any other pregnancies (it is not definite but the odds of it happening are increased). Also, there is a larger risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some stage.
  • For anyone who does develop GDM then it has been suggested that women in this category are more likely to need a delivery via caesarean section

How to reduce the risks of complications

There is some good news! It is entirely possible for you to greatly reduce the risk of any possible complications from diabetes during pregnancy. So, by following these steps, you are less likely to experience any of the issues listed above.

  • Ensure that you undergo regular checks to establish what your blood sugar (glucose) levels are. Your midwife / health visitor will often do this at each check-up so that if any treatment is needed, it is can be administered at the earliest possible time.
  • By maintaining a good blood sugar level, this will help reduce the risk of problems occurring and will also be beneficial to your baby because throughout pregnancy, the amount of insulin required is more than normal.

If you are unsure how to manage your blood sugar levels effectively then your doctor will definitely be able to give you any necessary information to deal with the situation. But, eating healthy and balanced diet is a great start.

Another possible option is to ensure that you exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes per day is ideal and this could include a brisk walk, swimming or jogging and by doing this, it is going to work at keeping your blood sugar level balanced.

Symptoms of Diabetes in pregnant women

There are many people who have developed diabetes but aren’t actually aware of this problem. With this in mind, it can be difficult to establish exactly what the symptoms might be (it could vary from person to person), but this should give you an idea of what to expect if you suspect that you could have diabetes.

  • Always feeling tired
  • Frequent urination
  • Constantly thirsty

For any pregnant women, this is where it can be problematic when it comes to establishing the presence of diabetes and that is because the symptoms listed above, are all common throughout pregnancy. Therefore, this is one of the reasons why regular screening takes place.

Why does Diabetes occur during pregnancy?

It isn’t always easy to explain why some women end up developing GDM during pregnancy (and this might be because no-one can honestly say the reasons why it happens to certain women, and not others) but some experts suggest that there are specific risk factors which are widely believed to greatly increase such a condition occurring in the first place.

These include:

  • Being obese / overweight
  • If you have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • A family history of GDM is considered to be one of the common causes, and for example, if your mother, sister or even a cousin suffered from the problem then the development risk can be greater

Diabetes and being pregnant is something that should not be taken lightly and by seeking any relevant medical assistance (if it is required) then this is going to help reduce the risk of any problems during pregnancy, but should you already have diabetes or maybe if you develop it at a later stage, you will at least know what to expect and how to do deal with it effectively. 

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