How To Control Fasting Blood Sugar During Pregnancy
This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 27,677 times.
If you have gestational diabetes or are at risk for developing it, your doctor will monitor your blood sugar. To determine how effectively your body processes sugar, they’ll check your blood sugar levels before you eat. If it’s above 95 milligrams per deciliter , you may need to make changes to your diet and everyday habits. Although this might seem overwhelming, there are lots of things you can do and medications you can take to control your blood sugar levels.
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Choose The Right Insulin
The right insulin program can make or break your ability to control after-meal spikes. In general, insulins and other medicines that work quickly and for a short time will work better than those that work slowly over a prolonged period.
For instance, rapid-acting insulin analogs , which start working 1015 minutes after injection and peak in about an hour, will cover the after-meal blood glucose rises much better than Regular insulin, which takes 30 minutes to begin working and 23 hours to peak.
Newer ultra-rapid insulins, such as Fiasp , works even faster, with an onset and peak occurring 810 minutes earlier than traditional rapid-acting insulins.
The way insulin is administered can dramatically affect its speed of action. Afrezza is an inhaled insulin formulation that can be used at mealtimes. Because the dry powder is absorbed through the lungs , its onset and peak are much earlier than injected insulin .
Research has also shown that injected insulin can work much faster when the injection site is warmed. This can be accomplished by rubbing the site, immersing in warm water or exercising the muscle near the site. Warming the site causes the blood vessels near the skin to dilate, which allows the insulin to absorb more quickly. By the way, smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, so quitting smoking might improve your post-meal blood sugar .
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Will Gestational Diabetes Go Away After I Have The Baby
Most likely, after you deliver your baby, gestational diabetes should go away. About six weeks after delivery, your doctor will check your blood glucose level to see if its in the normal range again.
However, because you had gestational diabetes, youre at a higher risk for having it again in another pregnancy. Youre also at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. To learn how to prevent type 2 diabetes, read our article on .
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How You Can Treat It
The key is to act quickly. As treatable as it is, gestational diabetes can hurt you and your baby.
Treatment aims to keep your blood sugar levels normal. It can include special meal plans and regular physical activity. It can also include daily blood sugar testing and insulin injections.
We suggest the following target for women testing blood sugar levels during pregnancy:
- Before a meal 95 mg/dl or less
- One hour after a meal140 mg/dl or less
- Two hours after a meal120 mg/dl or less
Always remember that this is treatableand working with your health care team can help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Why Is It Important To Keep Your Blood Sugar At A Safe Level During Pregnancy
Your blood sugar level is important during pregnancy because it can be linked to gestational diabetes. Your blood sugar level and/or gestational diabetes, if detected, can be controlled by diet and exercise or insulin, if needed. Your doctor usually tests for gestational diabetes by doing a glucose screening between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is crucial to have this test done because if gestational diabetes goes undetected the chance of the baby being macrosomic .
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Knowing Your Blood Sugar Level
To maintain control over your blood sugar, you will need to test it regularly. Depending on what your doctor tells you, this may mean testing up to five times per day:
- Testing your fasting glucose first thing in the morning before you eat
- Testing one to two hours after breakfast
- Testing one to two hours after lunch
- Testing one to two hours after dinner
- Testing right before you go to bed
Based on your results, you can tell if your fasting glucose is on target and if your levels are on target one hour after eating and two hours after eating .
Moreover, if you keep track of your blood sugar in a journal, including information about your diet and exercise, you can begin to get a grasp on how certain foods or activities affect your blood sugar and make adjustments to keep yourself on target.
Gestational Diabetes Is Manageable
Is diabetes during pregnancy serious? Absolutely! But its a manageable condition. In most cases, mamas with gestational diabetes have a little extra work to do, but theyll go on to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Follow the tips above and listen to your caregivers. And always get extra support if you need it.
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Keeping Active With Gestational Diabetes
For women with gestational diabetes, moderate intensity physical activity can help to manage blood glucose levels. Moderate means a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate. If there are no specific obstetric or medical conditions, you should be able to safely exercise during pregnancy.
However, it is best to discuss this with your obstetrician or midwife prior to commencing any exercise regime in pregnancy.
Taking Insulin If Its Needed
Even if you do everything your doctor tells you, you may still need to take insulin during your pregnancy to keep your blood sugar under control. This doesnt mean that your baby will be at any greater risk of complications it simply suggests that extra steps need to be taken to prevent fluctuations that neither diet nor exercise can fully control.
If insulin is prescribed, your doctor will show you how, when, and how much you would need if ever your blood sugar is high. This can often occur if you get sick or are under extreme stress. It is also important to be aware of the signs of hypoglycemia and the dangers of low blood sugar during pregnancy. While less common in women with gestational diabetes, the use of insulin can increase the risk considerably.
Ultimately, the goal is to keep your blood sugar under control no matter how much insulin it takes. Most women on insulin will take two shots per day, but you may get better control with three. With proper monitoring and guidance from your doctor, you should be able to attain the controls needed to ensure a normal, healthy pregnancy.
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What To Expect At The Delivery
Most women want to know what to expect at the delivery. Knowing what can happen may help you feel more prepared and in control.
Your antenatal and diabetes team will be keeping a close eye on you and will check your blood sugar levels regularly. Theyll try to keep them between 4 and 7mmol/l.
If you have type 1 diabetes, this means youll be started on an insulin and glucose drip. If you have type 2 diabetes, you might also need to have a drip if your blood sugar levels dont stay in this safe range.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
There are no guarantees and about half of women who get gestational diabetes dont have any risk factors. But its always a good idea to adopt healthy habits.
- Watch what you eat: Your doctor or a nutritionist can help you make healthier choices in your diet. In general, eat less sugar and refined carbohydrates . Add more fiber to your diet .
- Step up your exercise: Talk to your doctor about what activities are best for you, but typically walking, swimming, yoga and other low-impact exercise is best.
How Is Diabetes During Pregnancy Diagnosed
Nearly all nondiabetic pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. A glucose screening test is given during this time. For the test, you drink a glucose drink and have your blood glucose levels tested after 2 hours.
If this test shows a high blood glucose level, a 3-hour glucose tolerance test will be done. If results of the second test are not normal, gestational diabetes is diagnosed.
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How Gestational Diabetes Can Affect You
As mentioned above, gestational diabetes often comes with no symptoms, so you probably wont know that you have it until the doctor diagnoses it. However, gestational diabetes can still have an effect on you.
Gestational diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure while youre pregnant. Also, you may have a larger baby, which can make delivery difficult or require a C-section.
Gestational diabetes can also put you more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Whether you are overweight or of normal weight, you need to maintain control of your weight gain during the course of your pregnancy.
Depending on your weight at the time of conception, as well as your height, your doctor will be able to tell you how much weight you should gain at any point during your pregnancy. The total gain can range anywhere from 15 pounds if you are obese to as much as 40 pounds if you are of normal to low weight.
Weight loss during pregnancy is not only badit can be dangerous. You should never embark on a weight loss program of any sort while you are pregnant. Rather, focus on managing your weight gain within the recommended limits with the appropriate nutrition and exercise.
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Delivery When You Have Gestational Diabetes
When planning for the baby’s arrival, the doctor will access the size of the baby to determine if you can deliver vaginally. If you have been able to keep your blood glucose well-controlled, your baby’s weight is within an appropriate range, you don’t have any other pregnancy concerns such as high blood pressure, and you are not on medication, than your labor should proceed just as it would if you didn’t have gestational diabetes. Of course, your delivery team will monitor your blood sugar throughout.
If your baby is considered too large for you to deliver vaginally then you will likely be induced at week 38 or 39. You and your doctor may also decide that a cesarean section may be a better route for delivering the baby. Should blood sugar levels get too high during labor, the baby may release more insulin in response. That increases the risk of the baby developing low blood glucose after birth so a C-section may be considered.
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