Becoming pregnant is a joyful and exciting time, but challenging for mothers with diabetes. Abnormal blood glucose levels can lead to complications during pregnancy, even in the first few weeks. If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is important to have a plan in place to manage your diabetes. Our Virginia Beach OBGYN works closely with women with diabetes who plan on becoming pregnant or have become pregnant.
Early intervention and careful monitoring of your blood sugar are critical if you have an unexpected pregnancy and have diabetes. Guidance from the professionals at Virginia Beach OBGYN can help you have a safe pregnancy, and avoid the risk of health complications for your or your growing baby.
Preparing for Pregnancy with Diabetes
If you want to get pregnant, we advise you to speak with us so we can help you put a plan in place prior to conception. This is called a pre-conception plan and involves a series of tests to monitor your heart, kidneys, liver, eyes, and other parts of the body that could be impacted by diabetes. The degree to which your routine changes will depend on the level of severity of your diabetes. The various changes in your routine may include:
- Blood sugar: You may not even know you’re pregnant for up to four weeks after conception, but having high blood sugar during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy can lead to complications or pose the risk of a baby with certain birth defects.
- Prenatal vitamins: Although recommended for all pregnant women, prenatal vitamins are particularly important for women with diabetes. The folic acid present in prenatal vitamins prevents spina bifida, a serious neural tube defect affecting the brain and spinal cord. You should start your prenatal vitamin regimen one month prior to planning to get pregnant, as recent studies reveal that women with preexisting cases of diabetes who did not take folic acid appeared to be at a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.
- Medication: Your diabetes medication may need to be altered. Oral diabetes medications may be changed to insulin injections or other change in your normal routine. Every woman is different, and a careful management of medication is critical point in the health of your growing baby.
Changes to your medication routine are monitored carefully and additional changes may need to be made after conception. You will be carefully guided through every step of pregnancy. Women with diabetes can get the assistance they need with professional help and comprehensive medical care from our Virginia Beach OBGYN.
Unexpected Pregnancy with Diabetes
If you have diabetes and discover that you are pregnant, it is vital that you contact a skilled Virginia Beach OBGYN to manage your pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe and healthy. Your diabetes must be carefully monitored and controlled. Early intervention is critical, as problems in fetal development can occur early in the pregnancy cycle.
What is gestational diabetes?
Many women develop diabetes during pregnancy or gestational diabetes. There are few outward symptoms, but tests identify the condition. Gestational diabetes is the results of changing hormone levels that prevent your body from using insulin efficiently and may be triggered by carrying extra weight during your pregnancy, or a hereditary condition.
You can help reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes by losing excess weight prior to getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. The first step in treatment is monitoring your blood sugar levels and keeping it under control.
Controlling Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can be treated through a diet that provides adequate nutrition for the health of the growing baby while controlling blood sugar levels. For some women who develop the condition, it may be necessary to take medication. You will be checking your blood sugar levels frequently, and we will be monitoring the size of your baby carefully.
Managing Diabetes During Pregnancy
Your diabetes management plan will continue throughout your pregnancy, and ongoing check-ups are needed to determine if additional changes are necessary. As your hormone levels and your baby’s needs continue to change, your medication or other aspects of your treatment may also be updated. Pregnant mothers often require higher doses of insulin, and your blood sugar levels must be carefully managed throughout the term of your pregnancy.
Continuing your healthy lifestyle will be vital to your baby’s and your health during and after your pregnancy. Monitoring your blood sugar levels and your nutrition is important because your blood and the nutrition from various types of foods will directly impact your baby’s health.
One of the best things you can do during your pregnancy is to continue to receive medical care. Our attentive, experienced doctors will use a series of tests will regulate your symptoms and your blood sugar to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
How Diabetes Can Affect You & Your Baby
One of the biggest impacts your diabetes can have on your baby is called macrosomia, or when your baby grows too large due to high blood sugar levels. The excess insulin can cause your baby to gain weight, making a vaginal birth more difficult and increasing the chances of injury to your or your baby during birth. A Caesarean section may be necessary depending on the size of your baby.
Preeclampsia and Gestational Diabetes
Women with diabetes typically have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia, a serious medical condition that can develop in the second half of pregnancy and is only cured by giving birth. Even if you do not develop preeclampsia, diabetic mothers can usually plan to give birth slightly early, around week 38 or 39.
If your blood sugar levels remain high during your pregnancy, your baby’s blood sugar can drop to dangerously low levels once they are born and no longer getting sugar from your blood supply. Babies often need extra glucose to balance blood sugar levels. Maintaining ideal blood sugar levels during pregnancy will help maintain a healthy weight for your baby and decrease the risk of any complications after he or she is born.
Pregnancy Guidance in Virginia for Diabetic Pregnant Mothers
Becoming pregnant while you have diabetes may feel intimidating, but with careful management will be problem-free. The professionals at OBGYN Norfolk will help you develop a comprehensive plan to control and monitor your diabetes before, during, and after your pregnancy. We have multiple locations to serve you, and our team will make you feel at home. Pregnancy is an exciting time, and we are honored to be a part of it. If you have diabetes, we are here to guide you through pregnancy and childbirth safely.