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How does Diabetes affect Pregnancy?

by Arpita Wadhawan
Published: Last Updated on
Diabetes affect Pregnancy

Are you a diabetic and planning for a baby recently? Or you just discovered an unplanned pregnancy? Either case treating diabetes during pregnancy is very important for you as well as the baby.

Diabetes put simply is a disease characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the inability of them to produce and/or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates in the food that you eat or to store glucose for future use.

It is essential to take extra care of yourself as diabetes is one of the most common complications during pregnancy. Diabetes if not controlled can result in the following problems:

  • Birth defects
  • High blood pressure

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  • Hydramnios—In this condition, there is an increased amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby. It can lead to preterm labor and delivery – a birth which occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy.
  • Macrosomia (very large baby)—The baby receives too much glucose from the mother and can grow too large. A large baby can make delivery more difficult. A large baby also increases the risk of having a cesarean.

What should you do first?

Seeing a doctor is the best way to manage your diabetes during pregnancy. Your doctor will help you get your blood glucose level under control. Controlling your glucose level is important because some of the birth defects caused by high glucose levels happen when the baby’s organs are developing in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, before you may know you are pregnant.

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Your diabetes treatment in pregnancy

Your doctors may recommend changing your treatment regime during pregnancy. If you usually take tablets to control your diabetes, you’ll mostly be advised to switch to insulin injections. If you already use insulin injections to control your diabetes, you may need to switch to a different type of Insulin. If you take drugs for conditions related to your diabetes, such as high blood pressure, these may have to be changed. You will need to monitor your blood glucose levels more frequently during pregnancy, especially since nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) can affect them.

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