Category Archives: Pregnancy

How Gestational Diabetes Is Determined

Many women have a form of diabetes that occurs only in pregnancy. It is called gestational diabetes, and it can cause problems for both mother and baby. Doctors routinely check for gestational diabetes in women who have risk factors for it.

There are three main risk factors for gestational diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes when they were pregnant before are more likely to have it again. Any woman who has had a baby larger than 8.8 pounds will probably be checked during later pregnancies. Finally, a woman younger than 25 who was already overweight before she became pregnant is at risk.

Unless you have shown signs of high blood sugar beforehand, the test will usually be done at around the 24th to the 28th week of pregnancy. It is called the glucose challenge screening test or, for more accurate results, an oral glucose tolerance test will be done.

There is very little preparation necessary for the glucose challenge screening test. For the glucose challenge screening test, there is no fasting required and it can be done at any time throughout the day. You just drink 50 grams of glucose in liquid and give a blood sample after an hour. A glucose tolerance test is in order if your blood sugar level is 140 mg/dl or higher at that time.

To prepare for it, mostly you will follow your regular habits as long as they are healthy ones. You should eat a balanced diet in the days before the test. 150 to 200 grams of carbohydrate are recommended per day.

There are a few things that need to be taken care of before the test. The doctor needs to check all of your medications. In certain cases, some medications will be discontinued before the test if they might affect the results.

If you are taking the oral glucose tolerance test, you need to avoid strenuous exercise for eight hours before the test. In fact, for this period, you also should not eat, drink, or smoke. This will prepare you for an oral glucose tolerance test with accurate results.

You will have to give four blood samples within the course of the test. The first is taken upon arrival; because you have been fasting for eight hours, it is the baseline fasting blood sugar level. A normal level for this test would be less than 95 mg/dl.

Next, you have to drink 100 grams of glucose in liquid. The concoction is so sweet that many people have trouble taking it. Some people may have an upset stomach or even vomit. If they do vomit, they will have to take the test on another day.

The three additional blood samples will be taken at one-hour intervals. At one hour the blood sugar reading should be less than 180 mg/dl. After two hours, the blood sugar level should have dropped to less than 155 mg/dl. After three hours, the blood sugar level should be less than 140 mg/dl.

Your doctor will take the information from the glucose tolerance test and determine how you need to be treated during your pregnancy. An accurate test can save the life of the baby, and preserve the health of the mother.

Diabetes, Pregnancy And Skincare

Sometimes women’s skin clears up during pregnancy and other times it breaks out. Diabetes can make skin care even more difficult for pregnant women. The disease can keep women’s skin from fighting infections or from healing properly. It is possible to take care of the skin even with diabetes.

Boils are bacterial infections that come up around a hair follicle. They require treatment with antibiotics. If high blood sugar levels are a problem, they may be slow to heal. If this is the case, the doctor needs to be consulted for further care. It is not wise to let infections like this go untreated.

There are several fungal infections that are common among all people. The trouble is that they can be extremely severe when people have diabetes during their pregnancy and get these fungal infections. They must be taken care of as soon as possible.

One is Candida albicans. This fungal infection can occur anywhere the woman has warm, moist folds of skin. The infections under the breasts, in the armpits, and between fingers and toes are difficult enough. When this fungal infection enters the groin area, it can affect the baby, especially on delivery.

Pregnant women who have out of control diabetes should be aware of a fungal infection called mucomyocosis. This fungus may seem to be a simple sinus infection at first, but it can rapidly cause problems in the lungs and brain. One of the signs is that the skin over the sinus areas will be red and sometimes oozing. This skin condition needs immediate attention.

There are also skin problems caused by high cholesterol and blood fat levels. Eruptive xanthomatosis is one that shows up as yellow waxy bumps ringed in red, which are very itchy. They can be found on the backs of legs, arms, and on the buttocks. The only ways to help with these skin eruptions are to control blood fats and sugars.

The best thing a pregnant woman with diabetes can do for her skin is to protect it in the first place. Keeping blood sugar levels in check is the most effective way to do that. It allows the body to heal itself and fight off infections that attack the skin.

It is also helpful to prevent dry skin. If the skin becomes so dry that it cracks open, infections can enter easily. Women with poorly controlled blood sugar levels will have trouble with their skin because their blood supply is not what it should be. Keeping the skin moist helps protect it under these circumstances.

Any diabetic person should consult with a doctor whenever it becomes obvious that a skin problem is not going to go away. The doctor has many options for treating it, including specific medications for different kinds of conditions. It is better to say something to the doctor too soon rather than too late.

Knowing about the different types of skin problems that might occur is helpful for women with diabetes who are pregnant. Once they know what is possible, they can be on the lookout for problems before they happen. Simple home care or a doctor’s treatment can mean the difference between troubles and a healthy mother and baby.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Some Pregnant Diabetics

How Sleep Apnea Affects Some Pregnant DiabeticsWomen who have diabetes during pregnancy are faced with many problems. If they also have trouble sleeping, they may also have to deal with sleep apnea. As it turns out, blood sugar levels are closely related to the successful treatment of sleep apnea in those people.

Sleep apnea happens most often in type II diabetics rather than type I diabetics. Women who were type II diabetics before pregnancy may be plagued with even higher blood sugars after they are expecting. One thing that can help bring the blood sugar readings under control is to treat sleep apnea if it is present.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person’s airway becomes collapsed as they relax to sleep. They can no longer maintain a steady flow of air to their lungs. Their breathing will become irregular. In fact, they may even stop breathing for short periods of time.

Signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring and snoring consistently through the night. Then, the person will be tired during the day because of the lost or inadequate sleep. They will often nap or fall asleep during daytime activities. Women who are pregnant may not notice the daytime tiredness because that is not unusual for them. However, any hint that they are not sleeping normally is a possible warning.

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine can be fitted to the pregnant woman by means of a sleep study. This study is perfectly harmless to the unborn child. It will help the woman’s doctor determine whether she needs help in breathing through the night.

As the air from the CPAP holds the airway open, the woman will be able to breathe freely. She will not be startled awake because she has stopped breathing. She will have her best chance of getting a good night’s sleep.

Research has shown that diabetics who have been given a CPAP to use for their sleep apnea have shown great improvement in their blood sugar levels. Morning blood sugars tend to go down with CPAP use. The average decrease in blood sugar levels after meals over the course of one study was 60 mg/dl.

One way the CPAP may work for pregnant diabetics is that it can lower the incidence of insulin resistance. When the pancreas secretes plenty of insulin, but the cells are not able to use that insulin, it is insulin resistance. This causes the blood sugar levels to go up since the cells cannot take the sugars into themselves.

The CPAP can balance hormone levels that affect the insulin response. Without proper sleep, the woman can experience a rise in hormone levels that keep the insulin from acting properly. By using the CPAP, the woman can get a good night’s sleep and help keep her blood sugar down at the same time.

Pregnant women always need to get adequate sleep, but if they have diabetes it is even more important. It helps to bring down the blood sugar levels and give the woman more energy during the day. Anyone who has signs of sleep apnea should discuss it with a doctor, especially if they are a pregnant diabetic patient.

Networking for Pregnant Women Who Are Diabetic

Either being pregnant or having diabetes can cause women to feel alone and different. Having both conditions together can make a woman feel like an outcast at times. With no one who really understands, it can be difficult to follow doctor’s orders after awhile. Networking can help diabetic pregnant women overcome these problems.

When loved ones find out that a pregnant woman has diabetes, or that a diabetic woman is pregnant, they are full of advice. Their well-meaning persistence in trying to control the woman’s diabetes can become something more like hounding. Women who are subjected to such pressure feel stressed and often humiliated.

Even if the meddling relatives will not go away, it is good to have a network of people who can support the diabetic woman through her pregnancy. It helps to find women who understand from experience what it is like to struggle with high and low blood sugar levels, for example.

Women who can relate to the drudgery of constant blood sugar monitoring can empathize with someone who is just beginning to weary of it. They can give examples of how they got through it. This is not just someone’s theory of what a woman might do, but suggestions based on actual experience.

Because pregnant women who are diabetic are not the widest demographic, it may be difficult to find other people to network with in the woman’s local area. Sometimes there are groups associated with hospitals, especially if they are large regional facilities. Otherwise, it is necessary to find women from this group in other ways.

The internet offers many forums for pregnant diabetic women, or diabetic women who wish to become pregnant. These sites are easy to find. Just type into the browser: pregnancy diabetes forum. There will be many sites to choose.

These sites are filled with women’s stories. Many have women’s accounts of their entire pregnancies, sometimes even starting before conception and going through the time after the child is born. Pregnant women can get an idea of what might be expected in their own pregnancies by reading the stories of others.

Another way pregnant women with diabetes can use these forums is to ask questions. They can talk about their current situations and put out a general question to the other members of the forum. Other women will post their answers and opinions to help the woman understand her problem better.

However, it is never wise to take the advice and opinions of a forum for the truth when it comes to serious health matters. Getting the information from the forum only gives women a starting point to build on by talking with their doctors. If the doctor does not think something is important, then a woman can learn from her peers about the everyday situations.

No matter what information is gleaned from the process, it is always helpful to be in contact with women who are going through similar problems. It helps a woman feel more normal and human. Networking makes this possible.

Exercises For Diabetics During Pregnancy

Exercises For Diabetics During PregnancyIt is routine for doctors to suggest exercise for their pregnant patients. When those patients have diabetes too, exercise is even more important. The doctor will make the final determination as to what exercise is appropriate. However, it is good to explore the options ahead of time.

Walking. If you have not been particularly active, walking is an activity that you can probably still do. Most pregnant women can walk for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week. Such a low-impact activity is easy on the mother and child. You can control your pace easily, so it is easy to keep from overdoing it.

Swimming. A great aerobic activity, swimming helps pregnant women move easily without feeling the weight of their bodies. The buoyancy they feel in the water makes them able to exercise comfortably. The only thing to be aware of if you have gestational diabetes is that the water must be clean and treated properly so that you do not pick up any infections.

Recumbent bicycle. The problem with a regular exercise bicycle is that the seat is not designed well for pregnant women. A recumbent bicycle has a seat that looks like a chair. It allows the pregnant woman to exercise without straining her pelvic or abdominal areas. At the same time, the activity provided will help diabetics to lower blood sugar.

Arm ergo meter. This is a machine that helps you to work your arm muscles while putting little stress on your lower body. Sometimes, a pregnancy is especially vulnerable to pressure to the pelvis. An arm ergo meter allows pregnant diabetics to get their metabolism going without endangering their pregnancies.

Special exercise classes. There are classes given in gyms, community centers, and hospital centers for expectant mothers. These are helpful for pregnant women who are struggling with diabetes along with their pregnancies. If you take one of these classes, you can do what is comfortable for you and rest when the action is too intense. One advantage of going to the classes is that you are observed doing the activities. If anything seems wrong, the leader of the group should see to your needs.

Exercise videos. There are exercise videos that are available for home use. It is important if you use these videos that you understand whether they are safe for use during pregnancy. If you have any doubts, you can ask your doctor. Chances are your doctor will not have time to review the tape, but a medical assistant may be able to look it over for you. Never try a video exercise program if your doctor’s staff does not approve it.

No matter what exercise you want to do, you should tell your doctor all about it. It is dangerous to start a vigorous exercise program while you are pregnant. Your doctor needs to know if you are pushing yourself too far. You also need advice on how to monitor your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will tell you how to react to low or high blood sugar readings. Your doctor is trained to tell you what exercises are right for you.