Getting diabetes during pregnancy (also known as gestational diabetes) is pretty much every woman’s fear. It’s a sign that you might end up with high blood pressure, as well as a condition called preeclampsia, which can be deadly for both you and your unborn child. And if you don’t end up with them, then you have to at least watch what you eat over the duration of your pregnancy, meaning that you can’t indulge in every single craving – especially if they’re for sweet types of junk food. There’s a lot more to diabetes during pregnancy than this, so let’s go into some detail.
What If You Already Have Diabetes?
There are two main things to go over here. The first is what we already mentioned – gestational diabetes. This is the kind that goes away (in most cases) once your baby is born. However, if you already have diabetes and had to be on insulin or another blood sugar adjusting medication before you got pregnant, then you have to be even more careful. In this case, having the baby won’t cure your diabetes, and you’ll have to monitor your blood sugar even more closely than you did before.
Your Unborn Child Could Be At Risk
No matter the type of diabetes (Type 1 or 2 or even gestational) your unborn child is at risk of ending up with a medical condition when he or she is born. For example, jaundice, which occurs when their liver isn’t completely functioning properly, is a major risk. Thankfully, the treatment for jaundice involves being placed under a certain type of light for a specific period of time, or at least until the jaundice goes away.
On top of this, you baby may end up growing larger than you planned. All of those news stories about women giving birth to 12 pound babies? Well, in most of those cases, those women had some form of diabetes while pregnant. This happens because the insulin that you need to take in order to control your blood sugar ends up going through the placenta and into the child. Remember that everything that you take while pregnant has an effect on the unborn child!
There’s one additional condition that your unborn baby may be born with – hypoglycemia. You might have heard of this one before, as it can strike in adults as well. This occurs when your (or in this case, your child’s) blood sugar is very low when they are born — the insulin that you had to take while pregnant may play a role in this.
You’ll Have Your Health Monitored Closely
Whether you have gestational diabetes or a standard case, your health – especially your blood sugar – will need to be monitored very closely throughout your pregnancy. This means that you might see your obgyn even more than usual. Plus, you might have to see a nutritionist or some kind of specialist in order to receive instructions about what to eat and when in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable. And yes, this means that you’ll have to get one of those blood sugar monitors (if you don’t already) and check your blood several times a day, especially if you notice the signs of things like hypoglycemia (which we explained above) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar.)
You May Get Strict Exercise Instructions
One way to treat diabetes during pregnancy – no matter the type – is by prescribing light exercise. This can actually help regulate your blood sugar, as well as make you feel better the entire time. However, you do have to take it somewhat easy and follow your doctor’s order very carefully. You shouldn’t put too much strain on yourself or the baby. Although, if you worked out regularly before your pregnancy and were in very good shape, then there’s little reason why you’d have to quit your entire routine, except for the things that are bad for your unborn baby. Again, this is the one time that you’ll have to check with your specialist about, because you don’t want to make things worse.
Your Blood Sugar Must Be Controlled
It almost goes without saying that you’ll have to control your blood sugar while you’re pregnant, no matter what type of diabetes you have. The more you let your blood sugar go out of control, then the more risks you’re exposing both yourself and your unborn child to. You really need to be careful. This means that you’ll have to monitor your blood sugar closely, know exactly how much insulin (or whatever other medication that you take) to administer, and you’ll have to understand the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar so that you can watch out for them. Although having diabetes while pregnant is rough, it can be managed.