Diabetes in Pregnancy
diabetes in pregnancy?
Diabetes is a condition that causes
high levels of sugar in the blood.
Some women have diabetes before they
become pregnant. Others develop it
only during pregnancy, a form called
gestational diabetes. About 2-3% of
pregnant women have problems with
their blood sugar.
Hormones cause a normal rise in
blood sugar in all pregnant women.
You may develop diabetes in
pregnancy if your body has trouble
with this increase in blood sugar.
You may need to start a special diet
or even take insulin shots.
you had diabetes before you became
pregnant, it may be harder for you
to control your sugar levels during
pregnancy. You may need to change
your insulin dosage.
diabetes is not treated before and
during pregnancy, these problems
sugar levels in your blood might
cause the baby to get too big
before birth. Very large babies
tend to have more problems
before and after birth.
might have birth defects, such
as problems with his or her
heart, kidney, or spine.
have high blood pressure during
the pregnancy (preeclampsia),
which can cause problems for
both you and the baby.
go into preterm labor (before 37
weeks of pregnancy), or the baby
might need to be delivered
delivery the baby may have low
blood sugar problems
delivery the baby may have
trouble breathing because the
lungs are not fully developed.
could die in the uterus before
you have proper treatment before and
during your pregnancy, there is a
good chance you will deliver a
Insulin is a hormone produced by the
pancreas. It helps your body change
sugar to energy. Pregnancy hormones
can change the way insulin works, so
during pregnancy the pancreas needs
to release more insulin than normal.
Sometimes the pancreas cannot make
enough insulin to control the sugar
level and you become diabetic. After
delivery the sugar level usually
returns to normal and you are no
one knows why some people develop
diabetes and others do not. It may
be a problem you can inherit from
pregnant women do not notice any
symptoms of diabetes. However, urine
and blood tests may show that they
have diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes
woman who already has diabetes and
becomes pregnant will notice that
her diabetes is harder to control.
How is it
health care providers recommend that
all pregnant women should be tested
for diabetes. Women with the
following histories or conditions
are particularly at risk for
developing diabetes during pregnancy
and need to be tested:
history of diabetes
especially over 200 pounds
baby that weighed more than 9
pounds (4000 grams) at birth
baby born dead
baby with birth defects
age over 35
you are at risk for developing
diabetes, you will probably be
screened for diabetes at your first
prenatal visit and again later in
the pregnancy. If you are not known
to be at risk, you may be screened
around the 24th to 28th week of
pregnancy. The screening is done by
having you drink a sugar drink. A
sample of your blood is then taken 1
the result of the first test is not
normal, your health care provider
may order a 3-hour glucose tolerance
test. For this test, a sample of
your blood is taken soon after you
get up in the morning, when you have
not eaten anything since the night
before. Then you drink a sugar
drink, and your blood and urine are
tested every hour for 3 hours.
How is it
you develop diabetes during
pregnancy, you may be able to
control your blood sugar level by:
your blood sugar level at home
(your health care provider will
tell you how often you need to
regular, moderate exercise, as
recommended by your provider.
you have gestational diabetes, you
may also need to take anti-diabetes
shots to control your sugar level In
some situations, oral medications
can be used to control diabetes in
pregnancy. Ask your doctor which
method is most appropriate for you.
you are a diabetic planning to
become pregnant, you should discuss
preparing for pregnancy with your
health care provider. It is very
important to have good control of
your blood sugar before you become
pregnant. While you are pregnant you
may need extra care such as:
frequent checks of your blood
sugar at home
a change in
changes in your insulin dosage
frequent visits with your health
ultrasound scans, electronic fetal
monitoring, blood tests, and other
tests such as amniocentesis may be
done to check the health of your
baby. With ultrasound, your health
care provider can see if the baby is
getting too big to deliver
vaginally. He or she will also check
for normal development of the baby.
Electronic fetal monitoring checks
the heartbeat and activity of your
baby and contractions of your
Sometimes, patients with diabetes
need to have their labor induced at
or before the due date. If you have
diabetes, ask your doctor whether he
or she plans to induce your labor.
you are in labor, your provider will
watch your blood sugar closely and
test it often. During labor you may
need to have sugar water and insulin
given IV (into your veins) to
control your blood sugar level.
will the effects last?
women who develop diabetes during
pregnancy are not diabetic after the
baby is born. The body's need for
insulin usually decreases after
delivery because the balance of
hormones returns to normal. However,
you have a good chance of becoming
diabetic later in your life. In
fact, 15% to 20% of women who were
diabetic during pregnancy become
diabetic again within the first year
after delivery. To decrease this
risk of becoming diabetic, you may
need to lose weight after the
pregnancy. Also make sure your diet
is healthy. Your health care
provider will test your blood sugar
you were diabetic before pregnancy,
you will probably return to your
previous condition and treatment.
However, complications of diabetes
may worsen during pregnancy. If you
did not have good control of your
blood sugar before pregnancy, your
baby has a higher risk of birth
defects. Ask your health care
provider about these risks.
you became diabetic in one
pregnancy, you are more likely to be
diabetic in future pregnancies. You
should be tested early for diabetes
the next time you are pregnant.
How can I
take care of myself?
diet, medication, and exercise
program recommended by your
health care provider.
blood sugar level under control.
You may need to check your blood
sugar level one or more times a
follow your prescribed
Keep all of
your appointments with your
health care provider.
can I help prevent diabetes or
complications from diabetes
at a healthy weight. Beginning a
pregnancy at a healthy weight puts
less strain on your body. This takes
long-range planning. "Crash diets"
are always unwise, and any weight
loss can be dangerous during
you have diabetes not caused by
pregnancy, you should keep your
blood sugar in the normal range for
3 months before you become pregnant
and continue this good control
throughout the pregnancy. The
critical time to prevent birth
defects is the first 8 to 10 weeks
of pregnancy. Many women do not even
know they are pregnant at this early
stage. If you have diabetes, you
need to plan the pregnancy and
discuss your health with your health
care provider at every step along
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from content provided by iMcKesson,
Review Date: 6/9/2001