If you are diabetic and planning on getting pregnant, here are a few things to keep in mind. If you were not diabetic before pregnancy, you might have gestational diabetes.
1. Plan your pregnancy.
Often women don’t know they are pregnant until 4-6 weeks into their pregnancy. It is very important to keep your blood sugar levels at appropriate rates when you are pregnant, so planning a pregnancy will help you keep the correct blood sugar level while your baby is developing organs during the important initial development phase.
2. Work with your doctor(s).
Your doctor and health team can help you create the best diet and exercise regime to foster a healthy pregnancy. You will want to work with a doctor who has treated pregnant women with diabetes before. You will want to consult a dietician, as well. You should also consult an expert to help you create an exercise regime that you can maintain during pregnancy. You will need an obstetrician, and probably one who works on high-risk pregnancies or specializes in maternal diabetes. When your baby is born, be sure to have a pediatrician or neonatologist on site who will be able to handle any complications your child might have.
3. Know how your body works.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to alter your insulin intake during pregnancy. The placenta that forms to help your baby filter hormones will also affect your ability to absorb insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes and you take diabetes pills, you will probably have to switch to insulin because there have not been enough studies on the safety of diabetes pills during pregnancy.
4. Track your progress.
You will need to track many different factors during your pregnancy. You will need to track your blood glucose levels, possibly as many as eight times a day, or as required by your health team. You will need to track your insulin intake, your diet, and your exercise patterns.
5. Be aware of the risks.
Women with diabetes before pregnancy have the same risks as those who develop gestational diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes leads to higher risks.
6. Remember that it doesn’t stop at birth.
During labour, you will probably no longer need as much insulin as during your pregnancy. You will also need to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully when you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is healthy for both a diabetic mother and the baby, but it makes blood glucose levels harder to predict and so requires frequent monitoring.
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