Protecting Your Baby From Gestational Diabetes
While these potential outcomes sound scary, rest assured that there is a lot you can do to prevent them.
Controlling your blood glucose levels is one of the best ways to keep your baby healthy and safe. And it will keep you healthy and safe too!
Eating well, exercising, and following your diabetes care plan will prevent your gestational diabetes from putting your baby at risk. A healthy mom means a healthy baby.
Connect with your care team now to get an individualized plan that will control your diabetes and protect your growing little one.
How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes
The best thing you can do for your health and your babys health is to work on preventing this condition and make a stop to it even before it happens. But how to prevent gestational diabetes?
Theres no perfect recipe on how to prevent gestational diabetes, but the first thing you can do is talk to your gynecologist the moment you start planning your pregnancy. Some tests can be done to check for this condition and if you are prone to getting it.
Other things you can do to prevent it is taking care of yourself and your health and deciding on having healthy habits. But dont worry its always a good time to start making significant changes.
Also, if you had this type of diabetes during your previous pregnancy and now you plan on having another baby, you should adopt these habits as soon as possible. It will also help you steer away from developing type 2 diabetes in your lifetime.
The best way to prevent it is to:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Dont plan your pregnancy if you are overweight
- Dont gain too much weight during pregnancy
Another critical routine change you should incorporate into your day is exercising. You can walk every day, ride a bike, run, do yoga, go to the gym, or do group training. It doesnt matter what type of movement you will integrate everything is good as long as you do it regularly. Once you get pregnant, you should consult with your ob-gyn on the best type of exercise for you to continue to be active.
How Can Diabetes Affect My Baby
A babys organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs, start forming during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful during this early stage and can increase the chance that your baby will have birth defects, such as heart defects or defects of the brain or spine.
High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can also increase the chance that your baby will be born too early, weigh too much, or have breathing problems or low blood glucose right after birth.
High blood glucose also can increase the chance that you will have a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.1 Stillborn means the baby dies in the womb during the second half of pregnancy.
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What Causes Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Although the cause of GDM is not known, there are some theories as to why the condition occurs.
The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water, and also produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones can have a blocking effect on insulin. This is called contra-insulin effect, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and the risk of insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.
Signs Of Gestational Diabetes And Potential Risks
Pregnancy can bring you many new things in your life, most of which you would never expect. Some of the things that will change will be pleasant, while others not so. And the most challenging are the ones regarding your health.
One of the scenarios you can struggle with is gestational diabetes, even if you have never had a problem with diabetes or other similar conditions.
Suppose you suspect you have a problem or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and you would like to know more about this condition. In that case, the best doctors for pregnancy in Jacksonville, FL, will gladly answer all your questions.
You are probably wondering about many things, such as what to eat before a gestational diabetes test or do gestational diabetes and preeclampsia have something in common. And we are going to talk about all of these things.
Be sure to keep reading to learn more about this condition and how to prevent gestational diabetes.
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Will Your Baby Need Special Care After Birth
Your baby may need special care after birth. This is because your baby is at risk of having low sugar levels soon after birth, and thus he may have to undergo blood glucose testing. In case the results are abnormal, your doctor will be monitoring your baby closely.
Your doctor may recommend feeding your baby soon after birth to prevent low blood sugar levels. However, in extreme cases, the doctor may recommend intravenous glucose to get your babys blood sugar levels under control.
Depending on how the labour and delivery went, the doctor may keep your baby in a neonatal intensive care unit for some time to take special care of your baby under the following conditions:
- Your baby is born prematurely.
- Your baby has breathing difficulty.
- Your baby has low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia.
- Your baby has other common birth-related complications such as jaundice.
Continuous High Blood Sugar Levels Can Lead To:
- induced labour
- caesarean section
- a larger than normal baby, which could make for a more painful birth and possible stress for the baby
- your newborn having low blood sugar levels
- your baby having a higher risk of being overweight or obese and developing type 2 diabetes in later life. As your child grows, managing their weight, eating healthily and being physically active will reduce this risk.
There is also a small risk of your baby dying at around the time of the birth. But remember, keeping your blood sugar levels within your target range will lower the chance of these problems and increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Gestational diabetes can affect how well your placenta works. If your placenta isnt working as well as it should, it can make your baby unwell. This can affect their movements. If you notice that your babys movements have slowed down, stopped or are different to normal, you should contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately.
There are staff on the hospital maternity unit 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks who can check your baby is OK. Dont put off phoning until the next day, and dont worry about phoning, as it is important your doctors and midwives know if your babys movements have slowed down or stopped. If you get the right treatment and care as soon as you can, this could save your babys life.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Women who have gestational diabetes have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes at some point later in their lives. However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. The following steps can reduce your risk:
- maintain a healthy eating plan
- maintain a healthy weight for your height
- do regular physical activity
- have regular follow-up blood tests every one to 3 years to check your blood glucose levels, especially if you have further pregnancies.
Talk to your doctor about follow-up blood tests to check for diabetes. The frequency of the tests will depend on your risk for developing diabetes.
What Would Happen If Gestational Diabetes Is Left Untreated
Gestational diabetes is a widely occurring health problem during pregnancy. Almost 5% of the woman suffers from gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.
It is fully manageable and if you effectively control your blood sugar levels it causes no serious complications during your pregnancy or afterward in the baby.
But, if you leave your blood glucose levels to linger on their own and do not keep them within a normal range it can affect your baby. Untreated gestational diabetes can cause birth defects as explained above.
Besides, it can also cause health problems in your baby later in life.
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How Is Gestational Diabetes Managed After Pregnancy
Research has shown that women with gestational diabetes have a 3 to 7 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years which is why its so important to make those healthy habits routine during pregnancy and keep a check on your health even after your pregnancy is over.
Here are a few ways to stay healthy after baby is born:
How Gestational Diabetes Can Impact Your Baby
We don’t know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.
Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels, called hyperglycemia.
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Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes does not usually cause any symptoms.
Most cases are only discovered when your blood sugar levels are tested during screening for gestational diabetes.
Some women may develop symptoms if their blood sugar levels gets too high , such as:
- needing to pee more often than usual
- a dry mouth
But some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy and are not necessarily a sign of gestational diabetes. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect The Baby
Diabetes can set in due to many reasons and when it is the result of pregnancy it is called gestational diabetes. Knowing the complications like how does gestational diabetes affects the baby and what is gestational diabetes will save you from complications related to this type of diabetes that affects the baby and also pregnancy.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Your Baby
Diabetes is something everyone dreads these days, after all who wants to skip on those sweets right? Even more dreadful thing about diabetes is the fact that you can get it while you are pregnant. As scary as it sounds, gestational diabetes can affect the health of your unborn baby as well. There are various reasons for an expectant mother to get gestational diabetes and numerous outcomes that it can have on your as well as your little ones health. Lets get to know more about it.
What Do I Need To Know About Blood Glucose Testing Before And During Pregnancy
How often you check your blood glucose levels may change during pregnancy. You may need to check them more often than you do now. If you didnt need to check your blood glucose before pregnancy, you will probably need to start. Ask your health care team how often and at what times you should check your blood glucose levels. Your blood glucose targets will change during pregnancy. Your health care team also may want you to check your ketone levels if your blood glucose is too high.
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Diabetic Eye Screening In Pregnancy
You will be offered regular diabetic eye screening during your pregnancy. This is to check for signs of diabetic eye disease .
Checking your eyes during pregnancy is important. The risk of diabetic retinopathy increases in pregnancy.
Diabetic retinopathy is treatable, especially if it is caught early.
If you decide not to have the test, you should tell the doctor looking after your diabetes care.
- other health care professionals
The obstetricians and midwives will have training in diabetes in pregnancy. They will work with you to provide your antenatal care. They will organise visits and ultrasounds to check on your babys development and growth.
How Do You Manage Gestational Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important that you are supported and know what to do to manage it. Health professionals such as your doctor, a dietitian, a diabetes nurse educator, or sometimes, a diabetes specialist will help you understand what to do and will support you.
Family also can be a great support. It is important that your family understands gestational diabetes and how it is managed.
Management of gestational diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels in the recommended range during pregnancy. This can prevent problems during birth and also helps reduce the babys risk of being overweight in childhood and developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Management of gestational diabetes involves:
- monitoring blood glucose levels
- healthy eating. Referral to a dietitian is an important part of management. Often this will be organised for you via your health care team
- regular physical activity
Some women may need insulin injections to help manage their gestational diabetes.
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Target Blood Glucose Levels During Pregnancy
Recommended daily target blood glucose numbers for most pregnant women with diabetes are
- Before meals, at bedtime, and overnight: 90 or less
- 1 hour after eating: 130 to 140 or less
- 2 hours after eating: 120 or less3
Ask your doctor what targets are right for you. If you have type 1 diabetes, your targets may be higher so you dont develop low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia.
Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Baby Later In Life
Gestational diabetes usually disappears after the birth of your baby. Research has shown that gestational diabetes does not affect the baby after its birth or later in life.
It is somehow believed that babies who are born to gestational diabetic mothers are more likely to get type 2 diabetes later in their lives.
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How Can I Prepare For Pregnancy If I Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, keeping your blood glucose as close to normal as possible before and during your pregnancy is important to stay healthy and have a healthy baby. Getting checkups before and during pregnancy, following your diabetes meal plan, being physically active as your health care team advises, and taking diabetes medicines if you need to will help you manage your diabetes. Stopping smoking and taking vitamins as your doctor advises also can help you and your baby stay healthy.
Treatment For Gestational Diabetes
You can do a lot to manage your gestational diabetes. Go to all your prenatal appointments and follow your treatment plan, including:
- Checking your blood sugar to make sure your levels stay in a healthy range.
- Eating healthy food in the right amounts at the right times. Follow a healthy eating plan created by your doctor or dietitian.
- Being active. Regular physical activity thats moderately intense lowers your blood sugar and makes you more sensitive to insulin so your body wont need as much. Make sure to check with your doctor about what kind of physical activity you can do and if there are any kinds you should avoid.
- Monitoring your baby. Your doctor will check your babys growth and development.
If healthy eating and being active arent enough to manage your blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe insulin, metformin, or other medication.
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Signs Of Gestational Diabetes
The main problem with high blood sugar during pregnancy is often there are no visible or apparent signs or symptoms that would alarm you to suspect anything.
However, women that have been diagnosed with this type of diabetes have noticed they are more thirsty than usual, and they urinate more frequently. So, if you notice this, theres a chance you may have a problem with high blood sugar.
Favorite Orgs For Essential Info On Gestational Diabetes
ACOG is the leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists dedicated to improving womens health. Learn about ways to manage gestational diabetes, how to track blood sugar levels, and steps you can take to have a healthy pregnancy from the experts who diagnose and treat the condition every day.
This project from the International Diabetes Federation , an umbrella organization of more than 240 diabetes associations in 168 countries, offers articles, as well as video guides on insulin, healthy eating, and blood glucose monitoring. You can also test your knowledge with interactive quizzes on topics such ashow to reduce your risk and how to manage gestational diabetes with diet and exercise.
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How Will It Affect My Baby
Your higher blood sugar affects your baby, too, since they gets nutrients from your blood. Your baby stores that extra sugar as fat, which can make them grow larger than normal. They’re more likely to have certain complications:
- Injuries during delivery because of their size
- High blood pressure or preeclampsia
- Pre-term birth
Your blood sugar will probably return to normal after you give birth. But you’ll have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later or gestational diabetes again with another pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle can lower the odds of that happening. Just as you can help your child, you can lower your own chances of obesity and diabetes.
Although you may need a C-section, many women with gestational diabetes have regular vaginal births. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your delivery options:
- Does my baby need to be delivered by C-section?
- How accurate are birth-weight estimates? Could my baby be smaller than you think?
- What are the risks to my baby and I if I donât have a C-section?
- What are the risks to us if I do?