Whether 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.