Pregnancy Diets For Women with Diabetes

Pregnancy Diets For Women with Diabetes

Pregnancy Diets For Women with Diabetes - Pregnancy In Diabetic Women & Pregnancy Complications Among Diabetic Women » Pregnancy In Diabetic WomenPre-existing diabetes can present numerous challenges to women who are or wish to become pregnant but the good news is that given the right kind of care, one can give birth to a perfectly healthy baby.

Pregnancy in diabetic women comes under high-risk pregnancies because there is a possibility of developing certain complications. These include risk of miscarriage or still birth or even pre-term birth; risk of birth defects especially those affecting the brain, spinal cord and the heart; risk of high blood pressure for the mother-to-be, etc. If the blood sugar is not under control, then the excess glucose can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s blood stream.

This stimulates the baby’s pancreas to secrete a higher amount of insulin to bring the sugar levels under control but this could also cause the baby to grow larger. This condition is called macrosomia. A large baby makes vaginal delivery difficult and more often than not the obstetrician has to go in for a C-section.

Another possible complication is the possibility of the new born baby developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) shortly after birth as the baby’s insulin production is high. This can be rectified by breast feeding or supplementing glucose.

There are certain precautions that diabetic women can take before trying to conceive in order to ensure an event-free pregnancy and delivery. The most important of these is ensuring that the blood glucose levels are in check at least three to six months before conception. One should aim for an A1C (glycosylated hemoglobin – test to check the average blood glucose for the past two to three months) of less than six percent.

Supplementing folic acid prior to pregnancy has been associated with reduced risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Most doctors also favor switching to insulin if the mother-to-be is on pills to control her diabetes. Eyes, kidneys and protein levels in the urine need also to be assessed and addressed before conception. High levels of protein in the urine can increase the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it is important to constantly monitor the blood glucose levels. This may need to be done four to seven times a day. The insulin dosages may also need to be re-adjusted as required according to the glucose levels. Physical activity after the doctor’s consent is also an important factor that helps regulate blood glucose levels.

Up to thirty minutes of exercise can be included in the daily routine in the form of walking, swimming, etc. The diet plan needs to be discussed with a dietician to help avoid problems with both low and high blood sugar levels. Regular ultrasounds and prenatal tests are helpful to monitor the baby’s growth and development.

After delivery, breastfeeding is highly recommended. The mother can continue using insulin which does not have any adverse affects on the baby. However, use of oral medication is not recommended. Breastfeeding may cause reduction in the glucose levels in the mother, and hence, insulin dosages need to be adjusted suitably. The diet plan may also need to be changed as breastfeeding mothers require more calories.

Pregnancy in diabetic women can thus be more challenging than in women without diabetes but with the right precautions and care, risks can be reduced to a minimum and when a healthy baby comes into her life, the new mother will know only too well that it was all worth the effort!

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