Can Diabetes Make Pregnancy Complicated?

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Diabetes is a serious disease when the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in the blood because it does not have enough insulin. Diabetes is the most common medical complication during pregnancy, which denotes about 3.3% of all live births. There are many steps to be taken care of in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy when there is a diabetes condition.

What are the causes and symptoms of diabetes?

There are mainly two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that requires a daily usage of insulin. Type 1 diabetes include symptoms like increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue.

Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes include symptoms like bladder or kidney infections that heal slowly, increased thirst and urination, constant hunger and fatigue. This form of diabetes is often associated with obesity, older age, family history, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and can be more prevalent in case of certain ethnic groups.


How is preexisting diabetes treated during my pregnancy?

Treating diabetes during pregnancy is a key to the health of both mother and baby.

  • Build your own health care team and devise a plan to manage the blood glucose levels. Frequent contact with the health care provider is essential in managing blood glucose levels and monitoring the health of mother and baby.
  • Discuss with the health care provider or dietitian to develop a healthy meal plan. Prioritizing proper nutrition will help in controlling the blood sugar level both before and after conception.
  • Inform doctor about the current medications you are taking for diabetes, or any other health conditions.
  • Make appointments with the high-risk specialists including a perinatologist and an endocrinologist .
  • Stay physically active.

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are common in women with preexisting diabetes. When blood glucose levels are too low, hypoglycemia occurs. When blood glucose levels are low, body is deprived of the energy it needs.

 Hypoglycemia can be triggered by:

  • Eating portions that are too small
  • Skipping or delaying meals
  • Overexerting yourself physically

Hyperglycemia occurs when there is a deficiency of insulin in the body and it can be treated by eating or drinking something that contains sugar.

Hyperglycemia can be triggered by:

  • Improper balance in your food consumption
  • Problems with the amount of insulin you are taking
  • Stress
  • Sickness
  • Lack of physical movement

Usually hyperglycemia can treated by adjusting your insulin dosages.


What are the risks of diabetes to my unborn child?

Some potentially negative health risks that may affect the baby when the mother has diabetes.

  • Macrosomia. It is the condition when the baby grows too large crossing the placenta due to excess insulin that may cause the vaginal delivery difficult and increase the risk of injury to the baby during the birth process.
  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar can occur shortly after birth due to high insulin levels. Controlling mother’s blood sugar can help to lower the risks of hypoglycemia for your baby.
  • Jaundice is the yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes which can sometimes be attributed to diabetes while pregnant.

Other things to keep in mind are:

  • The blood glucose must be managed closely during labor and delivery, to ensure a safe delivery.
  • Taking care of your body postpartum is important in managing glucose levels and remaining healthy.

Take care to manage the glucose levels, prioritizing proper nutrition and exercise, and stay connected to the health care team. Medically managing your diabetes is a key for the health and the success of future pregnancies.