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Why Do You Need More Insulin During Pregnancy?

Third Trimester With Type 1 Or 2 Diabetes

Third Trimester With Type 1 Or 2 Diabetes

Many women with diabetes have to take three or four times the normal dose of insulin at this point in the pregnancy. In fact, if your insulin needs start to drop at this stage rather than increasing, you should contact your diabetes team as this may show that your placenta is not working well. From 28 weeks you will have regular ultrasound scans to monitor your baby’s growth and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby, checking for polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid). If your previous eye checks were clear, you will be given another test. If they were not, you will already be receiving treatment. Colostrum harvesting From about 36 weeks you can start manually expressing colostrum (the nutrient-rich fluid that comes from your breasts before your milk comes in. When your baby is born, if he isn’t able to breastfeed, or if he needs some extra milk because his blood glucose level is low, the team can then give him your colostrum rather than formula. Some healthcare teams may not actively promote this approach but may be happy to help you if you ask. If you would like to know more, ask your team how to do it, and how to store it. 'Expressing and storing colostrum in the weeks leading up to birth helped me feel empowered and proactive. My stored colostrum was invaluable when baby was mildly hypo for 24 hrs after birth.' Zoe, mum of one Planning your labour and birth By 36 weeks your team should be working with you to plan your delivery. This may have begun far sooner as some women with diabetes will have delivered their babies by 37 weeks. You can expect to talk about: what type of birth will be best for you – vaginal or caesarean ways to control your blood glucose levels during the birth contraception and follow-up care. If you feel unclear about any of thes Continue reading >>

Insulin Changes During Pregnancy

Insulin Changes During Pregnancy

Insulin requirements tend to change constantly throughout pregnancy as different hormones take effect and your baby grows. You need to be prepared to adjust your insulin doses on a regular basis. It is not uncommon to need to make adjustments to your dose at least once a week. If you are not sure how to adjust your insulin doses, ask your diabetes in pregnancy team for advice. Adjusting insulin doses in pregnancy is more challenging than usual, so make sure you know how to get in touch with your diabetes team and be prepared to contact them more often. Early pregnancy changes Many women find it extremely challenging to maintain optimal blood glucose levels in the early stage of pregnancy with so many hormonal and physical changes occurring. For around the first six to eight weeks of pregnancy your blood glucose levels may be more unstable. Following these early pregnancy changes to your blood glucose levels, you may find that your insulin requirements decrease until the end of the first trimester. You may need to adjust your insulin doses at this time to reduce the risk of severe hypos occurring, sometimes without much (or any) warning. Preventing a hypo is better than treating one. Try not to miss any meals or snacks and check your blood glucose levels regularly. Mid to late pregnancy changes From the second trimester of pregnancy, especially after 18 weeks your insulin requirements will usually start to rise. By around 30 weeks you may need as much as two or three times your daily pre- pregnancy insulin dose. This is because the hormones made by the placenta interfere with the way your insulin normally works - as the pregnancy hormones rise, so does your need for insulin. At this stage you are likely to need more mealtime, rapid-acting insulin, compared with the long- Continue reading >>

Diabetes During Pregnancy

Diabetes During Pregnancy

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition in which the body can't make enough insulin, or can't use insulin normally. Insulin is a hormone. It helps sugar (glucose) in the blood get into cells of the body to be used as fuel. When glucose can’t enter the cells, it builds up in the blood. This is called high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). High blood sugar can cause problems all over the body. It can damage blood vessels and nerves. It can harm the eyes, kidneys, and heart. In early pregnancy, high blood sugar can lead to birth defects in a growing baby. There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. The body's immune system damages the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Type 2 diabetes. This is when the body can’t make enough insulin or use it normally. It’s not an autoimmune disease. Gestational diabetes. This is a condition in which the blood glucose level goes up and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not been diagnosed with diabetes before. It happens in about 3 in 100 to 9 in 100 pregnant women. What causes diabetes during pregnancy? Some women have diabetes before they get pregnant. This is called pregestational diabetes. Other women may get a type of diabetes that only happens in pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. Pregnancy can change how a woman's body uses glucose. This can make diabetes worse, or lead to gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, an organ called the placenta gives a growing baby nutrients and oxygen. The placenta also makes hormones. In late pregnancy, the hormones estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen can block insulin. When insulin is blocked, it’s called insulin resistance. Glucose can't go into the body’s cells. The glucose stays in Continue reading >>

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

“Gary, I think I need more insulin at breakfast.” “Why do you say that, Julianne?” “Because I’m always having high readings right afterwards, and my obstetrician said I shouldn’t spike after I eat.” “And what happens after the spike?” “It usually comes down to normal before lunch. So do you think I should take more insulin?” After-meal blood sugar spikes can create quite a quandary for anyone with diabetes, particularly during pregnancy. Research has shown that fetal macrosomia (overgrowth of the baby) becomes more common when post-meal blood sugars exceed 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol). With post-meal readings above 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol), the risk more than doubles from baseline. Fetal macrosomia can cause many problems during pregnancy. When the baby grows and develops too rapidly, it can lead to a premature and more complicated birth. It may also cause injuries to occur to the baby during delivery. Why do after-meal blood sugars have such a major influence on the baby’s growth? Nobody knows for certain. Perhaps, when the mother’s blood sugar “spikes” suddenly after meals, the baby is fed more sugar than its pancreas can “cover” with insulin, and high fetal blood sugar results. And because the baby’s kidneys spill almost all excess sugar from the baby’s bloodstream back into the amniotic fluid, the baby then drinks in the extra glucose and winds up growing more than it should. Suffice to say that post-meal blood sugar spikes are something to avoid during pregnancy. But how do we do it? Getting back to Julianne’s question, if she takes more insulin, she’ll probably wind up hypoglycemic before lunch. Luckily, we have some excellent techniques for preventing the after-meal highs without having to take more mealtime insulin. What Causes Sp Continue reading >>

Pregnancy And Diabetes: When And Why Your Blood Sugar Levels Matter Most

Pregnancy And Diabetes: When And Why Your Blood Sugar Levels Matter Most

The following is an excerpt from the book Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes by Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith, CDE & RD There are two things you can definitely expect will be said to you by total strangers, friends, and several family members because you have diabetes: “Doesn’t that mean your baby will be huge?” “So, is your baby probably going to get diabetes, too?” Both questions are rather rude–sure–but both implications are also very far from accurate. Yes: persistent high blood sugars during pregnancy can lead to a larger baby…but people without diabetes have very large babies, too. And people with diabetes have good ol’ fashioned regularly sized babies, too. There is no way to assure the size of a baby at birth. Skinny women can have huge babies just like an overweight woman can give birth to a very small baby. Women who eat a lot during pregnancy can have small babies! Very little of this is in our control. In the end, you can manage your diabetes extremely tightly and still have a larger than average baby because blood sugar control is not the only thing that impacts the size of your baby at birth, and more importantly, a larger baby is not the only or even most important complication a baby can experience due to mom’s elevated blood sugar levels. No: just because you have diabetes definitely does not mean your baby will have diabetes! And guess what, there’s nothing you can do during pregnancy to prevent or reduce your baby’s risk of developing diabetes…at least not that science and research is aware of at this time. So take a very deep breath, mama, because that is not something you can control, and your baby’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes is actually only about 2 percent higher than the risk of a non-diabetic woman’s baby de Continue reading >>

How To Manage Insulin During Pregnancy

How To Manage Insulin During Pregnancy

Pre-conception and 1st trimester Maintaining the best possible glucose control before and at the start of pregnancy can reduce the risk of complications for the baby. However, it is also a time of increased risk of hypoglycaemia for the mother, so insulin doses may drop later in the first trimester. 2nd trimester At this point, the placenta is fully developed and hormone levels begin to rise steadily, causing insulin requirements to increase as well. In particular the pre-meal boluses may have to be increased to keep tight glucose control after meals. 3rd trimester Because insulin is absorbed more slowly and can be less effective at lowering glucose in late pregnancy, you may need to give larger doses even earlier, up to 30 to 40 minutes before eating. Maintaining tight glucose control throughout the last trimester can help to enhance the baby’s final organ development, maintain a normal birth-weight and reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia for your newborn baby. Labour and delivery During delivery, glucose levels will be closely monitored to ensure they remain within the target range. Small boluses of insulin may be required, with many women opting to continue insulin pump therapy during delivery. Immediately after delivery and up to 24 hours post-delivery, insulin requirements can decrease significantly and blood glucose target levels may be changed. Back at home Adjusting to life with the new baby often means unpredictable sleeping and eating schedules, which can be a challenge when also managing diabetes. For nursing mothers glucose levels may drop quickly during and after feeding, making it important to check blood glucose levels regularly and reduce insulin doses when required. After a month of pump therapy my HbA1c dropped from 8.3% (67 mmol/L) to 6.2% (44 mmol/L) Continue reading >>

Expecting The Best: Diabetes, Pregnancy, And Blood Glucose Control

Expecting The Best: Diabetes, Pregnancy, And Blood Glucose Control

by Laura Hieronymus, RN, MSEd, CDE and Patti Geil, MS, RD, LD, CDE Pregnancy can be a special and exciting time in a woman's life. The anticipation begins as soon as you hear the words: “You're expecting a baby.” Once you've gotten used to the amazing news, you may wonder about such things as whether the baby will be a boy or a girl, when the baby is due, and, perhaps most important, what you need to do in the meantime to make sure the baby stays healthy and develops normally. All women feel a certain amount of anxiety and sometimes even fear about how pregnancy will affect them, and whether their baby will be healthy and normal. Women with diabetes are no different, but they do have one more thing to be concerned about: maintaining control of blood glucose levels. This is true whether a woman has type 1 or type 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant, or whether she is diagnosed with a condition called gestational diabetes during pregnancy. The good news is that if a woman who has diabetes (of any type) learns as much as she can about managing her blood glucose, and puts that knowledge into practice, she can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Blood glucose control essential Optimal blood glucose control is important throughout pregnancy, both for the mother's health and the baby's. Glucose in a mother's blood crosses the placenta to her baby, affecting the baby's blood glucose level. (The placenta, a flat circular organ, links the unborn baby to the mother's uterus, to provide oxygen, nutrients, and the elimination of wastes.) The baby begins making its own insulin around 13 weeks gestation. If the baby is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose, it is as if the baby were overeating: The baby produces more insulin to absorb the excess glucose, resulting Continue reading >>

Pregnancy With Type 1 Diabetes: 2nd Trimester Insulin Resistance

Pregnancy With Type 1 Diabetes: 2nd Trimester Insulin Resistance

If you’re not a type 1 diabetic, the 2nd trimester of pregnancy is promised to be a wonderfully energetic phase during which you are no longer hindered by 1st trimester nausea and exhaustion. Instead, there is a promised boost of energy and that wonderful pregnancy “glow” that everyone notices…except you as the one carrying the adorable mini bowling-ball behind your belly button. If you are a type 1 diabetic, the 2nd trimester will hopefully bring all the described benefits mentioned above, but it also comes with an extra workload of blood sugar management. For those of us with very “confused” immune systems, the 2nd trimester begins the gradual climb of insulin resistance. But this form of insulin resistance is actually a very healthy sign of a very normal pregnancy because it’s the result of your increasing hormone levels as baby grows and grows in your belly! At the same time, it means we have to pre-bolus our insulin for meals more carefully and keep a watchful eye on our gradually increasing blood sugars so we know when to increase our background/basal insulin doses. My Personal 2nd Trimester Experience (with Baby #2, so far) For me, this rise in background insulin came on heartily in this past month (January). In December, I’d seen a steep drop in my insulin needs because of not being able to eat very much food for two weeks due to Super Pregnancy Stomach Acid Woe in addition to the marvelous phase of producing insulin during pregnancy! Now that I’m on the right cocktail of antacids, I can eat a full day’s worth of calories instead of barely 1,000 calories! My pre-pregnancy background insulin dose (Tresiba insulin): 11 units total My 1st trimester insulin dose (Tresiba insulin): 10 units total My current background insulin dose at 21 weeks preg Continue reading >>

Myth-busting Insulin For Gestational Diabetes

Myth-busting Insulin For Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. There is a lot of information to navigate and often at a session with your diabetes educator you don’t know what questions to ask. So we pulled together an extensive list of questions about insulin for gestational diabetes. We wanted to highlight the positives and to bust the myths. We hope that after reading this you’ll feel more informed and less anxious about insulin treatment. Written by Natasha Leader, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Credentialled Diabetes Educator Do many women with GDM have to take insulin? It tends to depend on your treatment centre and which timing and targets your health practitioners are using. For example you may be advised to check your blood glucose level at 1 hour or 2 hours after the meal. There may also be some variation in the target level of glucose that your doctor/diabetes educator uses i.e may be < 7.4 or 8.0 1hr or <6.7 or 7.0 for 2hr time point. The percentage of women who need insulin is usually between 20 and 60%. Have I failed if I end up having to take insulin? Absolutely not. The need for insulin is related to how much insulin your body is able to make and whether this is enough to process the amount of carbohydrate food you and baby need to stay well. In most cases it is not a reflection of the effort you are making with your diet. Is the insulin going to harm my baby in any way? Insulin will not harm your baby but high glucose levels may. Insulin is used because it only crosses the placenta in very small amounts (compared with oral agents) and therefore is considered the safest way to control your blood glucose levels if diet and exercise alone are not enough. Are there any long-term effects from taking insulin? No. Taking injected insulin is just in Continue reading >>

Pregnancy If You Have Diabetes

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 >>

Taking Insulin During Pregnancy

Taking Insulin During Pregnancy

When your blood glucose levels stay raised despite meal planning and physical activity, insulin must be added to your management plan to keep you and your baby healthy. Pregnancy requires that your body produce extra amounts of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas. If your pancreas does not make enough insulin, injections can help you meet the need. Your health care provider and diabetes educator will teach you how to inject insulin safely and comfortably. Determining the right insulin and dosage Tip Keep a record of the type and amount of insulin you take. It is important that you know and remember your insulin type every time you speak with a health care provider. Your health care provider will decide what kind of insulin is right for you, how much to use and when you should take it, based on: your weight (which changes weekly) how far along your pregnancy is your meal plan your most recent blood glucose levels Sometimes, you may need more than one type of insulin. Different types of insulin work at different speeds, and your health care provider may combine insulins to achieve the best results for you. Time-action of different insulins Insulins Starts working Peaks Stops working Rapid acting: Humalog® (lispro) NovoLog® (aspart) Apidra® (glulisine) 5 to 15 minutes 1 to 2 hours 2 to 4 hours Intermediate acting: NPH (N) 2 to 4 hours 4 to 8 hours 10 to 16 hours Basal*: Lantus® (glargine) Levemir® (detemir) 2 hours No peak 24 hours *Lantus® and Levemir® cannot be mixed with any other insulin. How to help insulin work best Take your insulin at the same times each day as directed. Talk with your health care provider if you feel sick. Follow any instructions your health care provider gives you. Don't change your meal plan, physical activity, pres Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Pregnancy

Diabetes In Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies, usually in the second half of the pregnancy. It almost always goes away as soon as your baby is born. However, if gestational diabetes is not treated during your pregnancy, you may experience some complications. Causes Pregnancy hormones cause the body to be resistant to the action of insulin, a hormone made by your pancreas that helps your body use the fuels supplied by food. The carbohydrates you eat provide your body with a fuel called glucose, the sugar in the blood that nourishes your brain, heart, tissues and muscles. Glucose also is an important fuel for your developing baby. When gestational diabetes occurs, insulin fails to effectively move glucose into the cells that need it. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood, causing blood sugar levels rise. Diagnosis Gestational diabetes is diagnosed with a blood test. Your blood glucose level is measured after you drink a sweet beverage. If your blood sugar is too high, you have gestational diabetes. Sometimes one test is all that is needed to make a definitive diagnosis. More often, an initial screening test is given and, if needed, a longer evaluation is performed. Gestational diabetes usually does not occur until later in pregnancy, when the placenta is producing more of the hormones that interfere with the mother's insulin. Screening for gestational diabetes usually takes place between weeks 24 to 28. However, women at high risk are usually screened during the first trimester. Risk Factors There are a number of risk factors associated with gestational diabetes, including: Being overweight Giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds Having a parent or siblin Continue reading >>

Insulin For Gestational Diabetes - What It Is And How It Works

Insulin For Gestational Diabetes - What It Is And How It Works

Where blood sugar levels cannot be lowered and stabilised enough through dietary and lifestyle changes, or through using medication such as Metformin, some ladies will be required to use insulin for gestational diabetes. Insulin is a hormone in the body produced by the pancreas. Your body uses insulin to move the sugar (glucose) obtained from food and drink from the bloodstream into cells throughout the body. The cells are then able to use the sugar for energy. Here are the most commonly asked Q&A on insulin for gestational diabetes from our Facebook support group Why do I need to take insulin for gestational diabetes? If lower blood sugar levels cannot be reached through diet, exercise and medication such as Metformin, then many will be required insulin for gestational diabetes. If blood sugar levels remain high, then the diabetes is not controlled and can cause major complications with the pregnancy and baby. If your levels are rising out of target range, your own insulin production may need to be topped up at the meal time. You may need to take insulin at one or all of your meals. Sometimes the insulin you produce in-between your meals and overnight may also require a top up. This may mean that you require an extra slower-release insulin at bedtime and/or in the morning. Some consultants will prescribe insulin on diagnosis of gestational diabetes on the basis of your GTT results or following other complications relating to gestational diabetes. For the majority, you will be given some time to try diet and exercise changes and then medication such as Metformin before insulin is introduced as a way to help lower and control your levels. NICE guidelines for timing and use of insulin for gestational diabetes 1.2.19 Offer a trial of changes in diet and exercise to women w Continue reading >>

Pregnant And Pumping

Pregnant And Pumping

Great Expectations A healthy pregnancy with diabetes is a challenge, but consider this: Less than 100 years ago, before the discovery of insulin, many young women with Type 1 diabetes didn’t even live to reach childbearing age. And less than 30 years ago, physicians routinely told young women with Type 1 diabetes that pregnancy was far too dangerous for both mother and child. Today, thanks to advances in diabetes treatment, plus improvements in medical care for infants, there has never been a better time for you to have a healthy baby. Insulin pump therapy is one of the options available to women today for managing diabetes during pregnancy. Challenges of pregnancy Pregnancy with diabetes presents a variety of challenges for you and your diabetes management team far beyond the routine morning sickness, fatigue, and strange food cravings experienced by many women who are expecting. The length of time you’ve had diabetes as well as the course of your disease influences the seriousness of medical risks during your pregnancy. For example, if you have mild retinopathy, it may progress during pregnancy. Your kidney status could worsen. Women with diabetes are at higher risk for frequent and severe hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) during pregnancy because glucose crosses the placenta to provide nutrition for the growing baby. The pregnancy state also tends to allow diabetic ketoacidosis — a dangerous condition usually accompanied by very high blood glucose — to develop quickly. Having a thorough medical evaluation prior to pregnancy is extremely important for determining your individual situation and management solutions. Good blood glucose control before and during pregnancy will minimize all risks to the mother. Risks to the baby are also a consideration when a woman Continue reading >>

Gestational Diabetes - Treatment Overview

Gestational Diabetes - Treatment Overview

Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies. You are the most important person in promoting a healthy pregnancy. Treatment for gestational diabetes involves making healthy choices. Most women who make changes in the way that they eat and how often they exercise are able to keep their blood sugar level within a target range. Controlling your blood sugar is the key to preventing problems during pregnancy or birth. You, your doctor, and other health professionals will work together to develop a treatment plan just for you. You do not need to eat strange or special foods. But you may need to change what, when, and how much you eat. And walking several times a week can really help your blood sugar. The lifestyle changes you make now will help you have a healthy pregnancy and prevent diabetes in the future. As you start making these changes, you will learn more about your body and how it reacts to food and exercise. You may also notice that you feel better and have more energy. During pregnancy Treatment for gestational diabetes during pregnancy includes: Eating balanced meals. After you find out that you have gestational diabetes, you will meet with a registered dietitian to create a healthy eating plan. You will learn how to limit the amount of carbohydrate you eat as a way to control your blood sugar. You may also be asked to write down everything you eat and to keep track of your weight. You will learn more about the range of weight gain that is good for you and your baby. Going on a diet during pregnancy is NOT recommended. Getting regular exercise. Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate exercise.3, 4 One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throu Continue reading >>

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