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Diabetes in Pregnancy

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). While diabetes is a manageable condition, it can pose some challenges for pregnant women who have it. If you're pregnant and have diabetes, it's important to manage your blood sugar levels to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. In this blog, we'll discuss diabetes in pregnancy and what you can do to manage it.

What is diabetes in pregnancy?

Diabetes in pregnancy is a condition in which women who have never had diabetes before develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This condition is called Gestational Diabetes ( GDM) . Gestational diabetes typically occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who develop gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

What are the risks of diabetes in pregnancy?

If you have diabetes in pregnancy, you and your baby may be at risk for certain complications. These include:

  • Macrosomia: This is a condition in which the baby is born larger than usual. This can make delivery more difficult and increase the risk of injury to both the baby and the mother.

  • Hypoglycemia: This is a condition in which the baby's blood sugar levels drop too low. This can occur after birth if the baby is no longer getting the mother's high blood sugar levels.

  • Preeclampsia: This is a serious condition in which the mother's blood pressure becomes dangerously high.

  • Polyhydramnios: There can be more fluid in the womb than normal.

  • Mishaps can happen during last few weeks of pregnancy if the sugars are not under control. This may lead to need for delivery before the due date.

  • These babies are more prone to respiratory problems at birth, low sugars at birth and prematurity.

  • Getting pregnant on high sugars comes with inherent risk of developing Congenital anomalies like neural tube defects, transposition of great vessels of heart , Septal defects, spinal anomalies. cystic kidneys, anorectal malformations, duodenal atresia etc

How can you manage diabetes in pregnancy?

The good news is that with proper management, most women with diabetes in pregnancy are able to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Here are some tips for managing your diabetes during pregnancy:

  1. Monitor your blood sugar levels: It's important to check your blood sugar levels frequently, as recommended by your healthcare provider. This will help you keep your blood sugar levels under control and prevent complications.

  2. Follow a healthy diet: Your healthcare provider will likely recommend a healthy eating plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. You'll need to watch your carbohydrate intake and avoid sugary or high-fat foods. It's not just calorie restriction which is important but also proper spacing and portion size of meals.

  3. Get regular exercise: Regular exercise can help lower your blood sugar levels and improve your overall health. Regular post meal walks for 20 min also helps in better utilisation of sugars by the body. Your healthcare provider can recommend safe exercises for you to do during pregnancy.

  4. Take medication if necessary: In some cases, women with diabetes in pregnancy may need to take medication to help manage their blood sugar levels. These could be oral medications or Insulin injections. Your healthcare provider will let you know if this is necessary.

  5. Attend all prenatal appointments: Regular prenatal appointments are important to monitor your health and your baby's health. Be sure to attend all appointments and follow your Gynaecologist's recommendations.

  6. Goal of management is to take you through the pregnancy safely with proper diet restrictions along with exercise and medication. It has to be under supervision to ensure that dietary restrictions do not cause intrauterine fetal growth restriction by frequent monitoring clinically and by doing Ultrasounds.

In conclusion, diabetes in pregnancy is a serious condition that requires careful management. By monitoring your blood sugar levels, following a healthy diet and exercise plan, taking medication if necessary, and attending all prenatal appointments, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you have any concerns about diabetes in pregnancy or how to manage it, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

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