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For diabetic women, how to get pregnant with diabetes is usually the number one query when they think of starting a family. Although diabetes can occur at any age to any person, the risks of it are slightly increased when handling it along with a pregnancy, since it also involves a developing baby in the equation. With advances in medical sciences today, these risks have been reduced a great deal. There are chances of complications for sure, but that does not have to keep you away from trying to be pregnant.
Can You Get Pregnant with Diabetes?
Diabetes and pregnancy are not mutually exclusive. So the presence of diabetes doesn’t affect pregnancy in any way. Yes, it does involve a bunch of precautionary measures to be undertaken so that the baby stays safe. Keeping sugar levels in check is one of the prime ones in this regard. Your doctor will ask you to repeat certain tests and check-ups regularly so that various factors involving your pregnancy are monitored in the appropriate manner.
How Does Diabetes Affect Pregnancy?
Getting pregnant with type 2 diabetes can result in a number of risks and complications making it difficult for both the mother and the child throughout pregnancy. Since diabetes is known to affect the important organs, it poses a greater risk if it continues to be undetected and uncontrolled. This can then result in:
- Presence of an infection in the urinary tract causing fever and increase in body temperature.
- A build-up of various ketone bodies that are harmful to the pregnancy.
- Hypertension and elevated blood pressure, resulting in fluid retention.
- Numbness in the hands accompanied by tingling, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Swollen limbs and facial features.
- Traces of protein being present in the urine.
While these risks are primarily affecting the mother, the baby is not spared from its effects and can have to face a number of conditions. The child is at a higher risk of developing obesity later on in life and is susceptible to getting diabetic as well. The immunity system takes a hit, with chances of the newborn contracting jaundice easily. The baby might also have low sugar levels, requiring immediate glucose to be given, or even high sugar levels which usually cause a lot of fat to be collected in the shoulders and the torso of the child.
Ways to Prevent Complications and Risks during Pregnancy
While getting pregnant with diabetes type 1 or even type 2, there are a few ways you can reduce the possibilities of any risks of complications plaguing your pregnancy and making things difficult.
1. Supplementing Diet With Folic Acid
Whether a woman is diabetic or not, the inclusion of folic acid in her diet is a priority that cannot be compromised. In most cases, doctors advise on taking folic acid supplements since the requirement of the foetus in the initial stage of the development is quite high. Although the usual normal requirement is around 400 mcg, in case of a diabetic woman, this jumps up to as much as 5mg at a time. Therefore, supporting this demand for folic acid with supplements is required for the first 3 months of pregnancy, so that the child is not born with any defects.
2. Take The Appropriate Medicines
Medication and pregnancy rarely go hand-in-hand. There are numerous medicines that are meant to be avoided during pregnancy, since it can affect the mother and child quite adversely. The presence of diabetes might make it necessary to take in medication, but that should never be self-administered. Make sure you get your doctor’s go-ahead on any kind of medicine you take, and never stray away from the amount of dosage.
3. Maintain A Good Exercise Schedule
In the case of a diabetic woman, the increase in weight can give rise to numerous difficulties or even cause an onset of obesity, resulting in more complications. Although weight gain is a necessity, keeping it within a healthy limit is possible by opting for simple exercises as well. Refer to your doctor with a list of exercises and make sure they are safe for you while you are pregnant. Carrying out walking in the day or going for a gentle swim are all good choices for you.
4. Choose A Healthy Diet Plan
The dietary requirements of a diabetic pregnant woman are slightly different from a usual woman since she also needs to take care of maintaining proper sugar levels in her blood along with a balanced nutrition. A dietician can help you on this front and chart out the right food items to be included and excluded, to keep you healthy throughout.
5. Constant Monitoring Of Blood Sugar Levels
For a pregnant mother suffering from diabetes, intake of insulin might be a necessity based on the degree of diabetes. This results in random fluctuations of blood sugar levels which can at times be too high or even too low. In case of a low sugar attack, it is necessary to keep a snack or a sweet item with you so that you can quickly set your sugar levels to a normal state.
6. Undertake Regular Checkups
Every pregnant woman is given a general schedule she needs to adhere to which involves checkups that take into account the growth of the baby, the state of the mother and various biochemistry elements. For a diabetic mother, these aspects tend to change quite a lot which makes it necessary to have an increased frequency of checkups than usual. This ensures that any complications are nipped in the bud.
7. Be Prepared In Advance
If you are aware that you have diabetes already, get in touch with your doctor before you take the decision to get pregnant. Your doctor might help you in understanding if you are in peak health condition to bear a baby and take it to a full-term pregnancy. Furthermore, this gives you a good time to plan out the rest of the journey, keeping a diet plan in place, and having the chance to reduce your weight in order to prepare for the increased weight during pregnancy.
Although pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy is not a great combination to go ahead with, it also isn’t a reason to stave away from trying to conceive a baby. It is necessary to know that the presence of diabetes can affect the delivery of your child. Earlier, most babies of diabetic women would be delivered prematurely, leading to undertaking precautions for the newly born child. Nowadays, with the right conditions and medications, a full-term pregnancy can be easily attained. Following the delivery, the insulin levels can also be adjusted to return back to normal.
While breastfeeding your child, most doctors do recommend taking insulin shots instead of oral tablets. The latter has a higher chance of entering the breastmilk and, hence, being passed on to the baby. Insulin shots can help you keep your diabetes under control and also continue breastfeeding your child, leading to a joyful motherhood.