Diabetes in Pregnancy

Healthy pregnancy for women with type 2 diabetes

When it comes to controlling type 2 diabetes the commitment to a prescribed regimen is crucial. Medication, healthy meal plans and a better lifestyle can help people reverse type 2 diabetes. To control your blood sugar levels, you will need discipline and persistence. Diabetes is difficult for women who wish to become pregnant.

The difficulty lies in the fact that diabetes can affect both mothers and their unborn children. Pregnancy may have a significant effect on the body's ability to absorb sugar without regard to diabetes. We are here to support you in understanding how to have a healthy and happy pregnancy while managing your type 2 diabetes. There is lots of good news for pregnant women with type 2 diabetes. If you are wondering how to incorporate new habits to balance blood pressure click here.

How to manage type 2 diabetes pregnancies?

Since pregnancy is putting an additional strain on your body, it is not surprising that your diabetes management routine will need to adjust. The way pregnancy hormones directly affect your body in the same way it affects your insulin and sugar. As a woman with type 2 or type 1 diabetes, you can still have a safe pregnancy. The key is to maintain optimal blood glucose levels before and during pregnancy. This will take more effort and persistence on your side, but every new mother we have spoken to agrees that it is well worth it. With the right support of a team, the formula for your healthy pregnancy can be developed.

If you have long-term health issues as a result of your diabetes, such as eye problems or kidney failure, the physical stress of pregnancy will intensify these concerns. You may also be concerned about the impact diabetes may have on your growing baby. To find out about the risks of becoming pregnant as a diabetic patient, be sure to speak with your doctor.

What is a good idea to start working on before getting pregnant?

Most women do not realize they are pregnant until about 5-6 weeks into the pregnancy. The fetus' organs and spinal cord are growing during this period. Maintaining optimal blood glucose regulation is critical to lowering the baby's risk of birth defects. Women without diabetes have equal rates of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. Women with poorly regulated diabetes have higher rates. Make sure to check the following targets about three months before conception:

Take a medical examination.

Before and during your pregnancy, you will need to see an endocrinologist (a diabetes specialist). Your eyes and kidneys should be checked both before and during pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause problems with the eyes and kidneys. Women who have a lot of protein in their urine before becoming pregnant are more likely to have cardiovascular disease during their pregnancy.

Take folic acid and prenatal multivitamins daily.

Your doctor will probably recommend taking a prenatal multivitamin. Limit your intake to one per day to avoid the excess intake of vitamin A (less than 10,000 IU of a vitamin A daily). To cut the risk of a neural tube defect in the infant, take a folic acid supplement of 0.4-1mg daily before conception. Taking folic acid during your pregnancy can have additional benefits. It is important to talk to your doctor about this ahead of time.

Daily monitoring of blood glucose and keeping it at the recommended level.

Your doctor or diabetes educator will work closely with you to help you attain the ideal goal of blood glucose level. For the vast majority of women with type 2 diabetes, this means focusing more than ever on their diabetes management to achieve a successful balance between insulin, food, and exercise. You should begin by monitoring your blood glucose at least four times per day.

Check your A1C levels.

This blood test determines the average blood glucose levels for the previous two to three months. Doctors are linking higher A1C levels to a higher risk of miscarriage and fetal anomalies. Aim for an A1C of less than 7% and, if possible, less than 6%.

Take insulin if needed.

Women with type 2 diabetes who have been treated with diet or oral medications generally need insulin for hypertension control during pregnancy. Women who are taking oral medications when they become pregnant should speak with their health care provider about whether they should keep taking oral medication or turn to insulin therapy. Some women with type 2 diabetes are advised to take pills to manage and control their diabetes. If your doctor suggests switching to insulin before you become pregnant, switch to insulin.

Understanding the effect of diabetes on pregnancy

While there is no way to avoid these pregnancy complications, being aware of the risk factors and signs can help you. That way your doctor can spot the indications early and start working together to ensure you will have a healthy pregnancy and newborn.

What happens if you have gestational diabetes and does it affect the baby?

If you have type 2 diabetes, pregnancy can be a stressful and worrisome time. That is because diabetes type 2 and pregnancy complications often go hand in hand. Along with the risks to your own body, your diabetes will also create certain risks for your child. If you are concerned about diabetes during pregnancy risks, here are a few of the complications for the baby that can arise because of diabetes and pregnancy:

  • Obesity. A healthy pregnancy is certainly possible with diabetes, but it requires extra care. If you plan to get pregnant as a woman with type 2 diabetes, consult with your doctor first. Babies born to diabetic mothers are more likely to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. While diabetes puts you and your baby at increased risk of complications during pregnancy, these risks are diminished when diabetes is managed effectively.
  • Stillbirth. The chances of stillbirth are higher for pregnant women with diabetes. The baby's growth can be slowed due to poor circulation. Women with diabetes should contact their diabetes clinic as soon as they find out they are pregnant. That way the pregnancy will be monitored and supported as soon as possible.
  • Birth defects. Pre-existing diabetes raised the risk of multiple major birth defects. It is important to keep in mind that birth defects are uncommon and can be caused by several genetic and environmental factors. Birth defects usually occur within the first trimester. Mothers with poorly controlled diabetes can give birth to newborns with defects in the heart, brain, spine, or digestive system. Commit to making healthier decisions to help avoid birth defects. Make a promise to yourself to get healthier before and during pregnancy by consciously planning, avoiding toxic substances, choosing a healthy lifestyle, and consulting with your healthcare provider.
  • Macrosomia. This condition happens when the baby is larger than normal. When diabetic mothers have high blood glucose, the baby’s pancreas creates extra insulin. This is resulting in extra fat. You might not be able to avoid this condition. Although by taking close care of your health during pregnancy you will help your baby have a healthier development. Exercising during pregnancy and consuming a low-glycemic diet have been shown to reduce the risk of this condition.
  • Hypoglycemia. Pregnant women's blood glucose levels can be consistently high, if not treated. A result of that can impact a baby's production of insulin. After being born, blood glucose levels will drop, resulting in neonatal hypoglycemia. During pregnancy, controlling your blood sugar levels in a normal range is crucial. This will help with your baby's risk for neonatal hypoglycemia. In case your baby has this condition, consider reading this article.
  • Respiratory distress. The lungs may not develop properly if there is too much insulin or glucose in the baby's bloodstream. This can result in breathing difficulties. Prevention and early detection are the key components of optimal care for diabetic mothers.
  • Preeclampsia. The development of preeclampsia is one of the possible complications of gestational diabetes. This disease is also known as pregnancy toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension. It affects between 10% to 30% of women with gestational diabetes. The condition involves high blood pressure and an excess of protein in the urine. You and your baby can face life-threatening complications as a result of this condition. If you have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, proper medical treatment and monitoring are important for a healthy pregnancy. The good news is that most pregnant women with gestational diabetes or gestational diabetes compounded by preeclampsia are still having a chance of delivering a healthy baby.

What about gestational diabetes? Who is at risk of gestational diabetes?

When a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy, this condition is known as gestational diabetes. For most women, gestational diabetes does not cause any specifically noticeable signs or symptoms. Increased thirst and more frequent urination are symptoms. Women who are overweight are more likely to experience such conditions. Gestational diabetes is common because reactions of our body to insulin shift during pregnancy. 

What happens when you discover you have gestational diabetes?

While any pregnancy complications and issues concerns, there are some good news. Expectant mothers can help control gestational diabetes by consuming nutritious foods, exercising, and, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can keep you and your baby healthy and prevent a stressful delivery. In women with gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal shortly after delivery.

How to approach the management of diabetes in pregnancy?

Women who suffer from diabetes during pregnancy will need to be extra careful with how they manage their blood sugar levels. You and your doctor should come up with a unique plan to suit your body and requirements. It would probably involve a low-carbohydrate diet, gentle exercise, daily blood glucose testing, insulin injections, and oral medication. If you are a diabetic pregnant woman, be on the lookout for signs of elevated blood sugar during pregnancy. Unusual hunger, exhaustion, blurred vision, and frequent urination are some symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you believe your blood sugar levels are fluctuating or are too high.

Would you like to connect with the winning type 2 diabetes community?

Join the type 2 diabetes culture that is thriving. Both pregnancy and diabetes can be very stressful and alarming. Your condition can make you feel vulnerable and isolated. Our community takes pride in putting diabetic patients together in a healthy environment. Our lively and involved community is a great place to share your experience and concerns. It is a place where you can meet other people coping with diabetes' many problems. If you have any concerns about managing diabetes while pregnant, join our free global group of type 2 diabetics today to gain access to helpful tools. If you have questions on living well with diabetes while pregnant, check out our free global community here and gain access to useful resources, community support, and more!