Preparing For Pregnancy When You Have Diabetes
Pregnancy and diabetes doesn't have to be a risky combination. By preparing for pregnancy, you can boost the odds of delivering a healthy baby. Here's how. If you have diabetes — either type 1 or type 2 — and you're thinking about having a baby, you might be concerned about the risks. To put your mind at ease, start preparing. Controlling your blood sugar level and making healthy lifestyle choices before pregnancy can help you give your baby the healthiest start. Start with a checkup The first step in preparing for pregnancy is to talk to your health care provider. He or she might recommend: Changing medications. If you take oral diabetes medication, you might need to switch to a medication that is safer for use in pregnancy or make other changes to your diabetes treatment plan before you conceive. If you also have high blood pressure (hypertension), your blood pressure medications will need to be reviewed. Certain medications to treat high blood pressure — aren't recommended during pregnancy. Treatment for certain conditions. If you have high blood pressure or signs of heart, eye, nerve or kidney disease — or other diabetes complications that could be aggravated by pregnancy — preparing for pregnancy might include treatment for the condition before conception. Consulting with specialists. Your health care provider might suggest scheduling preconception appointments with an obstetrician, a diabetes educator, a registered dietitian or other specialists. Focus on blood sugar control Controlling your blood sugar level is the best way to prevent diabetes complications. When you're preparing for pregnancy, blood sugar control is more important than ever. Your health care provider might want you to reach a specific hemoglobin A1C level — a reflection of your blood Continue reading >>
I Have Gestational Diabetes. How Will It Affect My Baby?
Will gestational diabetes hurt my baby? Most women who develop diabetes during pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby. Dietary changes and exercise may be enough to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels under control, though sometimes you may also need to take medication. But untreated gestational diabetes can cause serious problems. If blood sugar levels remain elevated, too much glucose ends up in the baby's blood. When that happens, the baby's pancreas needs to produce more insulin to process the extra sugar. Too much blood sugar and insulin can make a baby put on extra weight, which is stored as fat. This can make the baby grow very large (macrosomia). Also, high blood sugar levels during pregnancy and labor increase the risk of a baby developing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) after delivery. That's because the baby's body produces extra insulin in response to the mother's excess glucose. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the blood. The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia in an infant include: jitteriness weak or high-pitched cry floppiness lethargy or sleepiness breathing problems skin that looks blue trouble feeding eye rolling seizures A baby may also be at higher risk for breathing problems at birth, especially if blood sugar levels aren't well controlled or the baby is delivered early. (If you have gestational diabetes, your baby's lungs tend to mature a bit later). The risk of newborn jaundice is higher too. If your blood sugar control is especially poor, the baby's heart function could be affected as well, which can contribute to breathing problems. Gestational diabetes sometimes thickens a baby's heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), causing the baby to breathe rapidly and not be able to get enough oxygen from her blood. It's understandable to feel anxi Continue reading >>
Pregnancy If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes and plan to have a baby, you should try to get your blood glucose levels close to your target range before you get pregnant. Staying in your target range during pregnancy, which may be different than when you aren’t pregnant, is also important. High blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can harm your baby during the first weeks of pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. If you have diabetes and are already pregnant, see your doctor as soon as possible to make a plan to manage your diabetes. Working with your health care team and following your diabetes management plan can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you develop diabetes for the first time while you are pregnant, you have gestational diabetes. How can diabetes affect my baby? A baby’s organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs, start forming during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful during this early stage and can increase the chance that your baby will have birth defects, such as heart defects or defects of the brain or spine. High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can also increase the chance that your baby will be born too early, weigh too much, or have breathing problems or low blood glucose right after birth. High blood glucose also can increase the chance that you will have a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.1 Stillborn means the baby dies in the womb during the second half of pregnancy. How can my diabetes affect me during pregnancy? Hormonal and other changes in your body during pregnancy affect your blood glucose levels, so you might need to change how you manage your diabetes. Even if you’ve had diabetes for years, you may need to change your meal plan, physical activity routine, and medicines. Continue reading >>
I Have Diabetes. What Should I Know Before I Get Pregnant?
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for pregnancy. Rest assured that these steps can make a big difference to how healthy you and your baby are throughout the pregnancy you're hoping for. You will need to be very careful to monitor your blood sugar (glucose) levels, though. That's because, once you're pregnant, you and your unborn baby will have a higher risk of complications. Rarely, these complications caused by diabetes can result in a baby being born with a life-long condition. Sadly, mums-to-be with diabetes are more likely to have a miscarriage, or even experience the loss of a baby at birth. Babies born to mums with diabetes are also more likely to develop diabetes in later life. Most heart defects, kidney problems and nerve and brain defects happen in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. These potential risks are probably due, in part, to the way blood glucose levels can rapidly go up and down beyond the normal range. So controlling your diabetes starting now is key to preventing complications or, in the worst of cases, the loss of a longed-for pregnancy. The good news is that with careful planning and the support of your GP and diabetes specialist, this is very achievable. There may be a preconception diabetes clinic in your area where you can get help too. Taking the following steps will help you to be in the best of health, ready for conception: Aim to control your blood sugar. Your diabetes counsellor will recommend a glycosolated haemoglobin level (HbA1c) for you to maintain. If you don't already have one, you should be offered a kit for testing your own blood sugar levels often. Manage your diet carefully and take regular exercise. Don't drink alcohol, as it can make your blood sugar levels rise and fall ra Continue reading >>
Pre-existing Diabetes And Pregnancy
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are planning a family, you should plan your pregnancy as much as possible. Controlling your blood sugars before conception and throughout pregnancy gives you the best chance of having a trouble-free pregnancy and birth and a healthy baby. If you have diabetes and your pregnancy is unplanned, there’s still plenty you can do to give your baby the best start in life. The information on this page is for women who have diabetes before becoming pregnant. If you develop diabetes during pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes. Planned pregnancy Visit your doctor or diabetes educator at least 6 months before you start trying to fall pregnant, if you can. You will be given advice and guidance on controlling your blood sugars as tightly as possible, and taking necessary supplements like folate. You may also be advised to change medications. If you are healthy and your diabetes is well controlled when you become pregnant, you have a good a chance of having a normal pregnancy and birth. Diabetes that is not well controlled during pregnancy can affect your health long-term and can also be risky for your baby. Unplanned pregnancy Not everybody can plan their pregnancy. If you have diabetes and think you might be pregnant, see your doctor as soon as you can. Your healthcare team You may be cared for by a team of health professionals including: an obstetrician who can handle high risk pregnancies a specialist experienced in diabetes care during pregnancy, who may be an endocrinologist or who may be a general physician a diabetes educator to help you manage your diabetes a dietician who can provide dietary advice at all the different stages - before conception, while pregnant and after the birth a midwife who is experienced in all aspects Continue reading >>
How To Get Pregnant With Type 1 Diabetes (all The Lifestyle Tips)
Who recognizes the name Lyrehca from the blog Managing the Sweetness Within, chronicling one woman's efforts to get and stay pregnant while dealing with her lifelong type 1 diabetes? Yes, you guessed it: Lyrehca is coming out of the closet as herself, Cheryl Alkon, now-author of the forthcoming book Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. Today, Lyrehca (er, Cheryl) shares a brief version of her story, and some don't-miss tips on diabetes and pregnancy. A Guest Post by Cheryl Alkon, D-blogger and Author When I first thought about trying to get pregnant, almost five years ago, I did everything I was supposed to do: I stepped up visits to my endocrinologist for pre-pregnancy consults I worked to get my blood sugar numbers into the tight ranges recommended for pregnancy I saw my eye doctor to check my eyes for any longterm damage from diabetes and learned how pregnancy might affect them I ate better and took prenatal vitamins I also looked everywhere for books and websites about the subject and I soon met with the maternal-fetal medicine specialist who worked with my endocrinologist at my hospital's diabetes and pregnancy program. Despite excellent blood sugars, an overall good bill of health, and extensive knowledge about the topic, I left the specialist's office in tears. Why? The doc, also known as a high-risk obstetrician, spent our appointment telling me all the terrible things that could happen in a pregnancy complicated by diabetes. Yes, tight blood sugars were necessary. Without them, the chances of having a pregnancy colored by complications, both for me and for the unborn baby, were high. The visit was a long list of all the potential things that could go wrong, from the pregnancy itself, to actually giving birth, to the health Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Pregnancy
If you have diabetes or prediabetes and you want a child, can you do it? What will you be getting yourself into? If you’re considering children, here are some things you should know. Pregnancy in diabetes carries serious risks to mother and child. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that women with poor diabetes control are at greater risk for birth defects and also miscarriage. Your baby’s organs are completely formed by seven weeks after your last period. That time may be up before you realize you are pregnant. High glucose levels can damage those developing organs. So it’s important, says ADA, to get glucose levels under control before getting pregnant. Doctors recommend three to six months of very good control before trying to conceive. If you have high glucose levels, you may not get pregnant at all. You may conceive normally, but the fertilized egg won’t attach to the uterine lining. Not getting pregnant may be better than pregnancy with out of control diabetes. The ADA lists some common complications for babies of mothers with diabetes. • Three to four times greater risk of birth defects such as heart, brain, and spinal defects, oral clefts, kidney defects, and gastrointestinal problems. • Premature delivery • Miscarriage • Prolonged jaundice (yellowing of the skin) • Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing) The mother faces her own risks. Diabetic eye and kidney problems could get worse. She is at higher-than-normal risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure, often with protein in the urine), which can be life-threatening. Delivery may be difficult or may require a C-section. Prediabetes pregnancy also risky If you have prediabetes, pregnancy could push you over the line into diabetes. This is called “gestational diabetes.” It ca Continue reading >>
Thinking About Having A Baby
“Life, like art, should be a celebration of a vision.” —Michael Larson Every person with diabetes has a compelling reason to take good care of his health: It’s the best way to live a long, healthy life with diabetes and to minimize the risk of diabetes-related complications. Women with diabetes who are pregnant or who are even thinking about becoming pregnant have at least two compelling reasons to take the best care possible of their general health and their diabetes: their own well-being, as well as that of their planned child. Having high blood glucose during the first 6—8 weeks of pregnancy raises the risk of birth defects, and the higher a woman’s HbA1c during that time, the higher the risk. (HbA1c is a measure of blood glucose control over a period of 2—3 months.) But many women don’t realize they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. That’s why it’s so important to plan a pregnancy, to use a reliable method of contraception until you’re ready to become pregnant, and to take any steps necessary to get your HbA1c level in goal range (as close to “normal” as possible) at least three months before you become pregnant. The planning stages Even if you’re not ready to have a baby, if you are a woman of childbearing age and think you might like to have a child at some point, it’s worth talking with your diabetes care team about preconception planning. Most likely, your discussions will focus on the benefits of tight blood glucose control before pregnancy. That’s because high blood glucose during pregnancy – even very early in a pregnancy – not only raises the risk of birth defects but also raises the risk of spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage. It can also cause a developing fetus to become too large (called macrosomia), Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Getting Pregnant
Having a chronic condition such as diabetes (diabetes mellitus) takes careful monitoring of your health at the best of times, and this becomes even more crucial during pregnancy, a time when your body changes dramatically. Most women who have pre-existing diabetes who become pregnant have type 1 diabetes (once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes), although some may have type 2 (once called non-insulin dependent or maturity-onset) diabetes. Another type of diabetes called gestational diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before and it usually goes away after the baby is born. This article deals only with pre-existing diabetes — also known as 'pre-gestational diabetes'. If you have diabetes, there’s no reason that you can’t have a healthy and successful pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. What it does mean is that you will probably have to work closely with your doctor and other healthcare professionals to ensure you manage your diabetes well during your pregnancy. I have diabetes and want to become pregnant: what should I do? Seeing your doctor for pre-pregnancy planning is an important step in ensuring the best outcome for you and your baby. You have a pre-existing condition, so you can plan ahead and discuss with your doctor what you need to do before you become pregnant, and what you can do to manage your diabetes during pregnancy. For example, if you have diabetes, you have a slightly higher risk than other women of your baby: having a birth defect; being born prematurely; weighing too much or too little; having jaundice; or having dangerously low blood sugar levels after birth. You yourself have an increased risk of having a miscarriage or of developing high blood pressure during the preg Continue reading >>
Labour And Birth With Type 1 Or 2 Diabetes
Your birth experience may be different to the one that you had expected, and this can be hard to come to terms with. Finding out what might happen could help you feel mentally prepared for what may lie ahead. It can help to remember that although the birth itself is important, it is just one step in the journey towards having your baby. Where to give birth with type 1 or 2 diabetes If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you give birth in a hospital with the support of a consultant-led maternity team. It is not unusual for babies of mothers with diabetes to be larger than normal, which could lead to birth difficulties such as shoulder dystocia (in which the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during the birth). This means that options such as home birth are unlikely to be recommended. When to give birth with type 1 or 2 diabetes You will be advised to give birth early if you have diabetes. This is to reduce the risk of stillbirth. It is recommended by NICE that women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and no other complications should give birth between 37 weeks and 38 weeks +6 days – either by being induced or having a planned caesarean. If you have any complications that pose a risk to you or the baby, you might be offered an even earlier delivery. 'I had always been aware that I would be on the ward for high-risk cases. I am so grateful to be pregnant, I’m not going to complain about stuff like that. If there is an issue, I would rather be ready for it.' Svenja, mum-to-be How to give birth with type 1 or 2 diabetes As the recommendation is to give birth by 38+6 weeks, you are likely to be offered an induction or a caesarean section. Diabetes is not in itself a reason that you cannot have vaginal birth. Unless there are other complications there is no reason this should Continue reading >>
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Have A Safe Pregnancy With Type 2 Diabetes
It used to be that women with type 2 diabetes were discouraged from becoming pregnant. These days, with careful pregnancy planning and monitoring of blood glucose levels, you can have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Diabetes and Pregnancy: Your Prenatal Care Team If you have type 2 diabetes and you want to become pregnant, the first step would ideally be to speak with both your endocrinologist and your obstetrician. They can help you be at your healthiest to conceive. Both before you become pregnant and during your pregnancy (and beyond), it will be important for you to keep your blood sugar levels under control and to follow all the other guidelines to minimize all health risks to you and your baby. Fortunately, different diabetes practitioners can work with you on all the aspects of pregnancy, including exercise and nutrition. Your medical team might include: Your obstetrician. The ob-gyn you choose should care for patients with type 2 diabetes or have experience with high-risk pregnancies. Your dietitian. This professional can outline a pre-pregnancy and pregnancy diet that will keep blood glucose under control. Your diabetes educator. This specialist can help you learn about your body’s changing needs throughout your pregnancy. Your future pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor should have experience treating infants of mothers with diabetes. Diabetes and Pregnancy: Control Blood Glucose First While every woman is urged to get her body into baby-ready shape before conceiving, this is especially important if you have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, your blood glucose levels should be in the suggested range for three to six months before you try to conceive and, of course, during your entire pregnancy. This may involve more doctor visits, Continue reading >>
Can Women With Diabetes Get Pregnant?
Can Women with Diabetes Get Pregnant? Can women with diabetes get pregnant? Diabetes can affect a person without warning and sometimes may even occur without any family history. For a woman of child bearing age, this is stressful as the desire to become a mother and the thought of bringing harm to the child. Although the risks associated with pregnancy in a diabetic woman can’t be ignored, the number of misconceptions is huge and adds to the stress. However, the situation is not as bad as it is made out. Diabetic woman can get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. You just need to take certain precautions to become a mother. The short answer is “Yes”. Since diabetes is a chronic condition, a person is required to take care of their health. Monitoring the sugar levels and keeping them in check is essential. This becomes all the more necessary and important during pregnancy, when your body is undergoing a lot of changes. You should interact more often with your doctor and other healthcare professionals during your pregnancy and try to manage your diabetes as best as you can. This way you can have a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. How Will Diabetes Affect My Pregnancy? The most commonly seen complications of diabetes are those that affect the kidney, eyes and the nervous system. These are also known as diabetic-nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy respectively. After delivery the symptoms might disappear; however, treatment may be required. Ensure that you inform your doctor about any changes in your body as they can be symptoms of a condition. Common conditions seen among mothers are: urinary tract infection leading to fever. high blood pressure leading to fluid build up. swelling in limbs and face. protein excretion in urine. carpal tunnel syndrome leadi Continue reading >>
What Happens After Birth With Gestational Diabetes?
The healthcare team will usually stop any diabetes-related medication as soon as you have given birth. However, you or your baby will receive extra monitoring, and perhaps extra care, as a result of the gestational diabetes. Your baby after the birth Gestational diabetes can directly affect your baby’s blood glucose levels. That means that he could be born with low blood glucose. This could lead to serious consequences if it is not treated, but your team will be aware of these risks and will know what to do. He may also have jaundice (which is usually harmless if treated) and may also have increased risk of breathing difficulties. You will be encouraged to feed your baby within half an hour after birth and then every two-to-three hours until his blood glucose levels stabilise. Two-to-four hours after the birth, the healthcare team will test his blood glucose level. They will do this by pricking his heel to get a drop of blood for testing. Your baby will not enjoy this, but try not to let it upset you. The test is done to keep your baby safe. If your baby’s blood glucose remains low, he might need some extra help to increase his blood glucose levels, such as being put on a drip or being tube fed. He may need to spend some time being monitored or treated in the neonatal unit – especially if there are extra complications. However the hospital will try to keep him in the ward with you wherever this is possible. "I was an emotional wreck afterwards for a whole week, crying all the time. I didn't like seeing my baby with tubes in him and he had jaundice as well so we weren't allowed to go home. But now, he's fabulous; constantly crawling around, he's a really busy baby!" Aisha, mum of one You after the birth Your blood glucose should be tested before you leave the hospi Continue reading >>
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Diabetes And Pregnancy
Women who have diabetes before they get pregnant have special health concerns. In addition to the new demands that a pregnancy will put on your body, it will also affect your blood sugar levels and diabetes medications. If you're thinking about having a baby, take steps to lessen the risks for both you and your child. A pre-conception counseling appointment will help you be physically and emotionally prepared for pregnancy. Meet with your doctor to find out if your diabetes is controlled well enough for you to stop your birth control method. A blood test called the glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c, or just A1c) can show how well it's been going over the past 8 to 12 weeks. Other medical tests can help prevent complications during pregnancy: Eye exam to see if you have glaucoma, cataracts, or retinopathy Blood work to make sure your kidneys and liver are working Foot exam High blood sugar levels early in the pregnancy (before 13 weeks) can cause birth defects. They also can increase the risks of miscarriage and diabetes-related complications. But many women don't know they're pregnant until the baby has been growing for 2 to 4 weeks. That's why you should have good control of your blood sugar before you start trying to conceive. Keep blood glucose levels within the ideal range: 70 to 100 mg/dL before meals Less than 120 mg/dL 2 hours after eating 100-140 mg/dL before your bedtime snack Use your meals, exercise, and diabetes medications to keep a healthy balance. Continue reading >>
If You Have Diabetes And Are Considering Getting Pregnant
To support patients in Joslin’s pregnancy clinic, we are teaming up with Revlon in their Love is On challenge, which is an online fundraising challenge that is dedicated to benefiting causes focused on advancing women’s health, including diabetes. This post originally appeared on January 11, 2016. Pregnancy is a challenging journey for every woman, but it’s even more complicated if you have diabetes. Managing your blood sugar while hormone levels are constantly changing, worrying about an increased risk of fetal birth defects, and monitoring the effect of pregnancy on your eyes and kidneys—it’s enough to make anyone stressed. But pregnancy with diabetes doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. With some planning, regular medical visits and good communication with your doctors, women with diabetes can have healthy pregnancies. Joslin Diabetes Center has led the way for safe, successful diabetic pregnancies since the 1920s. Priscilla White, M.D., one of the founding members of Joslin, made it her life’s work to revolutionize diabetes management for women who desired pregnancy. Over Dr. White’s 50 year career, the fetal success rate rose from 54 percent to more than 90 percent, approaching where it stands today—at approximately 98 percent. Her legacy continues through basic and clinic research programs at Joslin, as well as the outstanding care provided by the Joslin-Beth Israel Deaconess Diabetes and Pregnancy Program team. In a new three part series, Florence Brown, M.D., Director of the Joslin-Beth Israel Deaconess Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, will be answering questions all about pregnancy and diabetes. In today’s post, Dr. Brown discusses what to do if you have diabetes and are considering getting pregnant. Speaking of Diabetes: Should I c Continue reading >>