Diabetes during pregnancy has been on the rise in the United States, paralleling the global obesity pandemic. Not only is the frequency of type 1 and type 2 diabetes rising among women of reproductive age, but there has also been a significant rise in the reported rates of gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes increases maternal and fetal risk, which is mostly related to the degree of hyperglycemia but also to chronic consequences and comorbidities of diabetes. Specific dangers of diabetes in pregnancy include, among other things, spontaneous abortion, fetal abnormalities, preeclampsia, fetal death, macrosomia, newborn hypoglycemia, hyperbilirubinemia, and neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Furthermore, diabetes during pregnancy might raise the risk of being overweight, having hypertension, and type 2 diabetes in children later in life.
What exactly is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a disease that can develop during pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than typical during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes affects 2 to 10% of pregnancies in the United States (CDC (Centers for Disease Control)).
If you have gestational diabetes, it is critical that you seek treatment as soon as possible because it can have serious consequences for both you and your baby’s health. The reasons for gestational diabetes are unknown and cannot be completely avoided. However, you can reduce your chances of getting it.
Let us plan of time for pregnancy
Diabetic women should ensure their blood sugar levels are consistent and at a healthy value three to six months before conceiving, doctor’s advice. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause birth abnormalities in the early stages of pregnancy, while the baby’s body is forming. In addition, women should follow an eating and activity regimen to maintain a healthy pre-pregnancy body weight.
Begin thinking about medical treatment
Another thing a woman should do early on is make an appointment with her doctor for a pre-pregnancy check-up. The doctor can analyze blood glucose levels, alter medication if it should not be used during pregnancy, and look at any other health factors that are unique to the patient, doctors explain.
In addition to the diabetes doctor and the obstetrician, a woman may want to include a health professional who really can supervise her diet throughout pregnancy, experts who really can take care of your diabetes-related issues like an optometrist or cardiologist, and other healthcare experts with expertise in diabetes and pregnancy on her medical team.
Be diligent about checking blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy
The doctor will normally recommend the number of times a woman must check her levels every day throughout her pregnancy, and during what time of day—fasting, before a meal, or even at night, for instance. It could be useful to keep a log to record the figures for easy tracking, they suggest. The general practitioner would also set a few target numbers for his/her patients; the American Diabetes Association recommends readings between 60 and 99 before eating, sleeping, or during the night, and between 100 and 129 one-two hour after a meal, but even those numbers may be adjusted by the doctor depending on the patient’s specific case.
Perform a ketones test
If a woman does not maintain her blood sugar levels or nutrition, her body may start burning fat rather than glucose. This produces ketones, which, if not addressed, can lead to ketoacidosis, which can result in nausea, difficulty breathing, stiff muscles, or, in the worst cases, death, doctors explain. If there is an issue, a physician would show her patient how and where to test her urine for ketones daily, if necessary.
Eat healthily and exercise regularly
If a woman has been on top of her nutrition and workouts prior to pregnancy, she will be ahead of the game when she becomes pregnant. A healthy diet is concentrated on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Working with a nutritionist would assist a woman in planning her meals and snacks and ensuring she is getting enough calories and nutrients to support her baby whilst maintaining a healthy weight increase. A meal journal can aid in this—if a woman has blood sugar spikes or declines, she can go over the diary with the nutritionist to pinpoint the culprit and make required modifications. A woman can confer with her doctor about appropriate workouts and the ideal times of day to do them, as well as whether blood sugar must be checked pre- or post-workout.
Plan for labor and delivery
A lady should begin communicating with her doctor about the birth well in advance. This can include the potential of a c-section, how blood glucose will be monitored and altered throughout delivery, and how the patient’s diet will be adjusted if she chooses to breastfeed the baby.
Keep all medical appointments
Keeping up with all her medical visits will assist a woman to ensure her pregnancy is progressing well and her body is in good condition; it is also a good time to discuss any concerns and make changes to the pregnancy care plan. The obstetrician will also want to do health checks on the baby, such as ultrasounds and blood tests.
Issues Diabetes Cause During Pregnancy
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in a pregnant woman having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes may cause complications for both the woman and the baby:
The baby’s organs develop during the initial two months of pregnancy, frequently before a woman realizes, she is pregnant. Uncontrolled blood sugar can harm those organs while they are developing and cause major birth defects within the developing baby, such as those that affect the brain, spine, and heart.
An extra-large baby
Diabetes that is not controlled raises the baby’s blood sugar. The baby is “overfed” and grows to be extremely huge. Aside from creating discomfort in the last few months of pregnancy, an exceptionally large baby might cause complications during birth for both the mother and the infant. To deliver the baby, the mother may require a C-Section. Due to pressure on the shoulder during delivery, the infant may be born with nerve injury.
Section C (Cesarean Section)
A C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through the mother’s womb. A woman with poorly controlled diabetes is more likely to require a C-section to deliver her baby. When the baby is delivered via C-section, the mom recovers from childbirth more slowly.
Blood Pressure Is Excessive (Preeclampsia)
Preeclampsia occurs whenever a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, protein in her urine, and persistent swelling in her fingers and toes. It is a serious condition that must be properly monitored and addressed by her doctor. High blood pressure can affect both the mother and her unborn child. It could cause the baby to be born prematurely, as well as seizures or a stroke (a blood clot or bleeding in the brain that can cause brain damage) in the mother during labor and delivery. High blood pressure is more common in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes than in women without diabetes.
Premature (early) Birth
Being born too soon can cause problems for the infant, such as breathing difficulties, heart problems, bleeding into the brain, digestive issues, and visual difficulties. Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are more likely than women without diabetes to give birth prematurely.
What exactly is the link between gestational diabetes and insulin?
The hormone insulin is linked to all kinds of diabetes. It regulates blood glucose levels by enabling sugar to flow from the blood into the cells. High blood glucose levels are caused by insufficient insulin or inadequate insulin utilization by your body’s cells. As people gain weight, their body uses glucose less effectively, so it produces more to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Furthermore, during pregnancy, your placenta produces insulin-blocking chemicals. This causes sugar to remain in your blood for a long time after eating. Because your baby obtains nutrients from your blood, it is advantageous for nutrients to remain in your blood longer throughout pregnancy so that your baby can access them. During pregnancy, some insulin resistance is to be expected.
During pregnancy, your glucose levels may become too high if:
you were already insulin-resistant before becoming pregnant you had high blood glucose levels before becoming pregnant you have factors that place you at a higher risk of becoming insulin resistant.
If your glucose levels rise too high, you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
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