Diabetes and Getting Pregnant – Risks and Prevention
For diabetic women, how to get pregnant is the top concern when they think of starting a family. Although diabetes can occur at any age to any person, its risks are slightly increased when handling it along with 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. Chances of having complications are always a factor; however, that shouldn’t keep you from trying to get 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. However, one does need to take a bunch of precautionary measures 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 appropriately.
How Does Diabetes Affect Pregnancy?
Getting pregnant with type 2 diabetes can result in many risks and complications,, making it difficult for both the mother and the child throughout pregnancy. Since diabetes affects 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 an 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 primarily affect the mother, the baby is not spared from its effects and would face many 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 child’s torso.
Ways to Prevent Complications and Risks during Pregnancy
While getting pregnant with diabetes type 1 or even type 2 involves its set of risks, there are a few ways you can reduce these possibilities:
1. Supplementing Diet With Folic Acid
Whether a woman has diabetes or not, the inclusion of folic acid in her diet is a priority that cannot be compromised. In most cases, doctors advise taking folic acid supplements since the requirement of the foetus in the initial stage of development is quite high. Although the normal requirement is around 400 mcg, in the 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. Numerous medicines 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 medication, however those should never be self-administered. Make sure you get your doctor’s go-ahead on any medicine you take, and never stray away from the dosage amount.
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. Refer to your doctor with a list of exercises and make sure they are safe for you while you are pregnant. Including movements like walking 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 balanced nutrition. A dietician can help you on this front and chart out the right food items to be included and excluded to maintain your health throughout.
5. Constant Monitoring Of Blood Sugar Levels
For a pregnant mother suffering from diabetes, insulin intake might be a necessity based on the degree of diabetes. This results in random fluctuations of blood sugar levels, which can 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 consider 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. This ensures that any complications are nipped in the bud.
7. Be Prepared In Advance
If you are aware of your diabetes,make sure to get in touch with your doctor before you decide to get pregnant. Your doctor might help you understand 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 are not a great combination for pregnancy, it also isn’t a reason to negate the idea of conceiving. 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, one can easily attain a full-term pregnancy. Following the delivery,the mother can also adjust the insulin levels to return 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 which also allows you to continue breastfeeding, leading to joyful motherhood…