The American Diabetes Association, ADA has sought to reassure women across the world that, contrary to popular belief that Diabetes can prevent women from getting pregnant, they can, in fact, carry healthy pregnancies. Just like many other illnesses, women with Diabetes need to know what to eat, how to eat and when to eat, in addition to taking certain prescribed medications, in order to ensure a safe pregnancy. In fact, this is similar to women diagnosed as healthy prior to their pregnancy who can still end up with a troubled pregnancy. The key is to follow your doctor's’ orders.
For women diagnosed with Diabetes prior to conceiving, it is imperative that you maintain your glucose level at the recommended range in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintaining a proper blood glucose level should begin prior to conception. The great news is that doctors are way more informed about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes than ever before and so diabetic pregnant women can feel more reassured that they’ll get the best care possible.
The first thing that a pregnant woman with Diabetes should do is ensure that the medical professionals she chooses, are quite experienced in dealing with women diagnosed with diabetes. The Obstetrician, Dietician and even the Pediatrician, should be quite knowledgeable about Diabetes in pregnant women and how it may or may not impact the fetus.
During pregnancy, if a woman’s blood glucose level is too low, it is often hard to notice. This makes it even more important for a woman with diabetes to have her blood glucose level checked during pregnancy week by week. This can help to prevent any kind of birth defect, loss of pregnancy or a baby that’s way larger than average.
What the American Diabetes Association recommends is that women with diabetes who become pregnant should check for their levels in this way, “Before a meal (preprandial) and Bedtime/Overnight: 60-99 mg/dl. After a meal (postprandial): 100-129 mg/dl. A1C: less than 6.” When checking the blood sugar level after a meal, one should wait for up to two hours before taking a measurement. This is because the blood sugar levels do not usually peak until about that time. Most importantly however, is to check at the times that your medical team suggests which can be nearly ten times per day.
A pregnant woman with diabetes should also keep track of her results. Write them down and compare them with your health professionals as you also know your body and how it functions. Be aware of what meal plans work and which don’t. If ever you feel like a change needs to be made, do so only after consultation with your medical team.
Diabetes treatment is most times insulin or pills. Insulin is the customary initial choice for treatment of diabetes in pregnant women. The reason for this is that it is quite effective in i addressing blood glucose and is not known to go over into a woman’s placenta. This will therefore guarantee that the baby does not get affected. It does not matter which of the three methods a woman uses to take her Insulin, it is still considered safe.
The treatment will increase however, during pregnancy as the need increases more than normal, particularly during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes often wonder why this is so. It is due to an increase in hormones which are made by the placenta. While the hormones are good to assist with the baby’s growth, they hinder the Insulin, causing the need for the insulin intake to be increased.
For pregnant women with Type 2 Diabetes, they too may have to switch from pills to insulin. Some studies have shown that the pills cross the placenta in large amounts which can negatively impact the fetus. Since there aren’t enough studies done to ascertain the safety of diabetic pills in pregnant women, the American Diabetes Association recommends the use of only Insulin during the pregnancy.
So, women with diabetes who have been worried about whether they can carry a pregnancy safely should put away those fears. Thousands of women diagnosed with Diabetes have carried safe pregnancies and continue to do so. The key is to follow the directives of your health practitioner. Follow the diet program established by your Dietician, keep up with your scheduled Obstetrician visits and maintain a good exercise regime.
Overall, the pregnancy will be just about the same as everyone else’s since every woman has to watch her glucose level during pregnancy anyway. The important thing as a diabetic is to begin preparation prior to getting pregnant in order to make the pregnancy safer and smoother. Remember. The right health professionals, medication, proper diet and exercise are the keys to a successful pregnancy for a diabetic woman.