If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may be aware that your risk of pregnancy complications is higher than that of women who do not have diabetes. However, controlling your blood sugar well before you conceive and during your pregnancy can help ensure that you and your baby will be healthy. Read on to learn more about the effects of diabetes on pregnancy and how you can mitigate these effects.
Diabetes that is not controlled during pregnancy can lead to birth defects, particularly during the first two months of gestation when the brain, spine, and heart are forming. Women with uncontrolled diabetes are also likely to have very large babies, which can cause complications during delivery and increase the risk of Caesarean section. Diabetes is also a risk factor for preeclampsia, or high blood pressure, which is a common cause of preterm labor. In fact, women with high blood sugar caused by diabetes are more likely to have a baby born too early. Most troubling, women whose diabetes is not controlled are more likely to suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth.
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Fortunately, most women with diabetes have healthy pregnancies and births, provided they control their blood sugar during gestation. Before getting pregnant, talk with your doctor. He or she will recommend lifestyle changes and medications that may increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. If you’re overweight, it is often recommend that you lose weight before conceiving.
Eating healthfully is an important part of controlling blood sugar. If you have trouble controlling your diabetes with diet alone, consider seeing a nutritionist, who can analyze the foods you eat and recommend a healthy plan. You should also strive to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
Before and during pregnancy, take insulin and any other medications regularly as prescribed by your doctor. Monitor your blood sugar frequently and make changes right away if your sugar is too high. If you have trouble controlling your blood sugar, talk with your doctor as soon as possible, as prolonged high blood sugar can be dangerous for you and your baby.
You’ll also be considered a high risk pregnancy, which means you’ll need to see your obstetrician more frequently. Though pregnancy when you have diabetes can be daunting, taking steps now to stay healthy can make a world of difference when the time comes for you to conceive.