Category Archives: Parenting

Pregnant Women Are At Risk For Gestational Diabetes

There is another form of diabetes only present during pregnancy known as gestational diabetes. Like Types I and II, this third form of diabetes affects the manner in which your body’s cells manage blood sugar or glucose. This dysfunction in management can result in extremely high blood glucose readings. Gestational diabetes is usually temporary, and blood sugar levels typically return to normal after the baby is delivered. However, it is crucial that women affected by this illness seek proper medical care throughout pregnancy, to assure that no complications develop.

Gestational Diabetes: The Facts
Gestational diabetes has many similarities with the other forms of the disease. Glucose and insulin control are key in gestational diabetes, and must be thoroughly monitored to assure that both mother and baby remain healthy. This disorder primarily develops during the second trimester of pregnancy, and can even occur as early as week twenty.

Comprehending gestational diabetes is easier if you can understand how blood sugar levels and insulin relate to the operation of the body as a whole. Insulin is continuously produced by the pancreas, an organ that is situated behind the stomach. As glucose levels increase after a meal, the production of insulin is also increased. This excess insulin helps the body maintain a proper level of blood sugar and provides it’s cells with a source of energy. While you are pregnant, the placenta produces hormones to control the pregnancy and keep the baby healthy. These hormones can essentially make cells insulin resistant. The placenta continues to grow throughout your pregnancy, excreting even more of these hormones. This can make the insulin’s job even harder to perform. While the pancreas usually responds by producing extra insulin to defeat this resistence, in some instances, the gland cannot sustain the process. This results in glucose deficiency in the cells, but overproduction in the blood. This is the underlying cause of gestational diabetes.

Any pregnant woman can be at risk for this form of diabetes, but some women have a larger chance of developing it than others. Women that carry extra weight before pregnancy have a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. Those of certain heritage, such as, Asian, American Indian, or Hispanic are also more likely to develop the disease. You are also prone to the illness if an immediate family member has Type II diabetes. And finally, women over the age of 25 have a higher risk of developing the disease. As screening for gestational diabetes has now become a normal part of pregnancy care, early detection has become easier. A blood test referred to as the “blood challenge test” is recommended by most physicians in the sixth or seventh months of pregnancy. If you have a higher risk of developing the disease, the test administration is advised earlier.

Complications of Gestational Diabetes
Uncontrolled glucose levels during pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes complications for both mother and baby. Pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes are prone to develop a condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, and is characterized by an increase in blood pressure and extra protein in the urine. If preeclampsia is untreated, the complications for the mother and baby can be extremely serious, even life-threatening. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can also lead to complications for the baby. Low blood sugar, respiratory problems and jaundice are just a few conditions that may plague the infant.

To assure that mother and baby remains healthy during and after pregnancy, careful monitoring of glucose, diet, and lifestyle are essential. Keeping the body healthy and fit during pregnancy can assure a long life for both you and your new bundle of joy.

Blood Glucose Monitoring For Pregnant Women

Blood Glucose Monitoring For Pregnant WomenAny person with diabetes needs to do blood sugar checks often, but a pregnant woman with diabetes needs to know whenever her blood sugar levels are not right. That is why blood glucose monitoring is so important.

Gestational diabetes is a serious condition for pregnant women because it can affect their health and the health of their unborn child. It is extremely important to keep track of blood sugar readings at all times. This means that, instead of testing two to four times a day as most diabetics do, she will have to test six or more times a day.

By knowing what her blood sugar level is, a woman can do something to adjust it. If her blood sugar level is below 60 mg/dl, she needs to take immediate action to raise it up again. Some of the symptoms of low blood sugar are similar to pregnancy symptoms, such as dizziness or faintness. That makes the test important in figuring out if the blood sugar is really low.

A woman may also confuse the weakness or sleepiness of a high blood sugar spell with pregnancy effects. Getting a blood sugar reading helps her know when to take action. If she is taking insulin, she will have a chart describing how much insulin to take depending upon how high her blood sugar is. Whether she is taking insulin or not, high blood sugar readings need to be reported to her doctor.

A pregnant woman with any form of diabetes needs to be in control of her blood sugars at all times, if possible. Testing at intervals after eating will help her to understand how different foods affect her blood sugar levels.

Testing after exercise will help her to determine whether she needs a quicker-acting snack after the workout. For those who were diabetics before they were expecting, it is just as important because their bodies change during pregnancy.

It is also wise to test before exercise. It is important to know that the blood sugar level is high enough to support activity. If not, the woman may need to take a snack before even beginning her workout. There are some cases when blood sugar can get too high to exercise. Discuss with a doctor what levels are dangerous.

It is best for women to carry their testing supplies with them wherever they go. They may not only be out at the time when they are supposed to check their blood sugar. They may also have symptoms of high or low blood sugar that need to be checked out. The monitoring kits are compact and easy to take along, so it is a convenient thing to do.

It is easier than ever to keep track of blood sugar readings. New blood glucose meters have thinner lancets or allow blood to be taken from sites on the body other than from the fingers. It is good to keep a log of blood sugar readings and the foods eaten and activities done before they were taken. Yet, new blood glucose meters can have their data downloaded to a doctor’s computer for extra accurateness. Blood sugar testing should be a top priority for pregnant women who have diabetes.

Diabetes And Your Unborn Baby

Diabetes And Your Unborn BabyWhether you have type I, type II, or gestational diabetes, your condition could affect your unborn child. The doctor will be vigilant in watching for complications and risks to the baby. From the start, the baby will be considered in all a pregnant woman’s diabetic treatment.

A woman’s diet will be closely monitored by a dietician so that she will give her baby good nourishment throughout the pregnancy. At the same time, a dietician will work with her to keep her blood sugar under control.

Insulin is the best treatment for pregnant diabetics who need more help managing their blood sugar levels. It does not harm the baby in any way. Pills for diabetes are often damaging to fetuses, so they are generally not used.

For those who do take insulin, you may need to check glucose levels many times a day while you are pregnant. It is more crucial at this time to have steady blood sugar levels that are neither too high nor too low. It may seem annoying to get out a monitoring kit so often, but if your baby is safe that is the most important thing.

Fetal ultrasound tests are common now, but they are especially important for pregnant women with diabetes. Their babies tend to be larger than usual and may need special considerations because of it. If you are not already taking insulin, your doctor may begin insulin if the baby turns out to be large.

Once you are on insulin, for whatever reason, it is almost always necessary to have a non-stress test for the sake of the baby. This test is important to check up on the baby’s heart. It measures if and how much the baby’s heart rate goes up or down after movement. If the baby moves, and the heart rate does not go up, there may be a problem.

Women with gestational diabetes who have larger babies have to go through many fetal ultrasound tests. With the information from these tests, doctors can determine whether the baby can be delivered vaginally or not. If a C-section is necessary, plans can be made ahead of time. Pre-planned C-sections are usually done in the 38th week.

During labor and delivery, women with diabetes are monitored with care. Blood sugar readings are taken every hour or two. High blood sugars will be treated with insulin and low readings will be treated with glucose IVs. This protects the fetus during the last hours before birth.

After birth, the baby might have low blood sugar. This is a reaction to the environment of a diabetic mother’s body. If the mother’s blood sugar levels are too high, the child may overproduce insulin for awhile after birth. If this happens, the hospital staff will respond by giving the baby some form of sugar drink or IV.

Pregnancy is difficult for diabetic women. However, if you take care of yourself and work with a doctor, you should be able to keep your baby safe. It is never too early to start making yourself aware of the affects of your diabetes on your baby.

Pregnancy With Gestational Diabetes: Diet Guidelines

Pregnancy With Gestational Diabetes - Diet GuidelinesIf you have gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, you need to take care to eat and exercise as you should. A woman’s needs tend to change during pregnancy. This is especially true for those who have gestational diabetes.

You can control your blood sugar more effectively by eating small, frequent meals. Three small meals and a few small snacks each day will keep you nourished without weighing you down at any one time. Do not skip these meals or snacks, or your blood sugar will be harder to keep steady.

Insulin resistance is the major problem with gestational diabetes. You are most vulnerable to insulin resistance early in the day. That is why, as a person with gestational diabetes, you should eat less carbohydrates in the morning. Otherwise, you should eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and each snack during the day.

Morning sickness can be a problem for women with gestational diabetes. It can have a great affect on blood sugar. To avoid it, it is best to eat some bland carbohydrates before you even get out of bed. Some crackers or plain cereal before you get up can help you get through the morning without getting sick.

If you take insulin, morning sickness can be a serious problem because of low blood sugar. It is more important than ever to know how to treat low blood sugar. Glucose tablets are available at any pharmacy or pharmacy section in a grocery store.

Hard candy can help with low blood sugar too, but it may not work as fast as glucose tablets. Other quick-acting carbohydrates are a tablespoon of honey, brown sugar, or corn syrup; or juice, milk, or regular soft drink.

The way foods are prepared is as important as the foods themselves. Foods with loads of sugar or fat are obviously not desirable. However, it is just as important that you eat foods that are prepared in a healthy way. For example, it does not help to eat broccoli if it is deep fried.

Lack of fiber has been linked with higher blood sugar levels. You need to have plenty of fiber for several reasons. One is to prevent constipation, which is often a problem during pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes, you need the fiber even more.

You need to drink plenty of water and get all the vitamins that your doctor recommends. At least 8 cups of liquids a day are necessary, and more is desirable. Talk to your doctor about the vitamins and minerals you need. You will probably get an order for a particular vitamin and mineral supplement regimen.

Good communication with your doctor can help you avoid the pitfalls of poor diet habits. You need to know just what, when, and how much to eat. Your doctor can help you find the perfect balance in your everyday diet. When you have gestational diabetes, diet is important to both you and your unborn child. Give your eating habits the attention they deserve.

Planning A Diabetic Pregnancy

Planning A Diabetic PregnancyIn the past, women with diabetes have been discouraged from having babies. It was often considered too dangerous for both mother and child. With increased medical care available, a diabetic woman can now have a chance of planning a pregnancy with the help of her doctor.

The doctor will want to do several tests to help determine if the woman is healthy enough to have a child. An important test is the 24-hour urine test. This test is necessary to check for kidney complications of diabetes. Protein in the urine is one sign of trouble that can be picked up by the test. Since pregnancy places a heavy strain on the kidneys, it is imperative that the kidneys be in good shape.

Another important test is for cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These are important for several reasons. High levels can cause heart problems. A pregnant woman’s heart will be under stress from supporting the fetus without the added burden of heart problems brought on by cholesterol problems. Having high triglycerides can also raise blood sugar levels for pregnant diabetics.

Although a woman’s eye health will not affect the baby, it is important to be sure that her eyes are not being damaged by her diabetes. Doctors check for glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. This is necessary because if these diseases have begun to take hold, a pregnancy can make them worse.

When the tests come in, it is good to have a long discussion with the doctor. The doctor will discuss the results of the tests and how they affect the woman. If the tests lead the doctor to believe that the woman is in good enough health to have a baby, the next step will be to talk about getting ready for the pregnancy.

The doctor will check the woman’s weight and determine how much she has to gain or lose to get to her ideal body weight. This is important because the diabetic woman will have all kinds of complications during pregnancy if she is not at her correct weight.

If she is too heavy, she will have higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar, and other problems. If she is too thin, she may deliver a baby with low birth weight. Weight will be an ongoing subject for a diabetic woman from before the pregnancy through well after.

Blood sugar will need to be monitored closely during the time a woman is trying to get pregnant. It is very important, because high levels can lead miscarriages. In early pregnancy, high blood sugar can also cause birth defects.

The doctor will also oversee the diabetic woman’s medication if she is planning to get pregnant. The doctor may need to make changes. Insulin needs change with pregnancy. A woman who takes oral medications will probably need to be put on insulin instead during the pregnancy. This will help protect the baby.

With careful planning, there is no reason why many diabetic women cannot become new mothers. As long as blood sugar levels, complications, and medications are kept under control, a healthy pregnancy is possible.