Diabetes and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Pregnancy and childbirth are events that bring joy and excitement as a new life grows and enters your world. But it’s also no secret that pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on your body. If you have a pre-existing condition, like diabetes, the changes associated with childbearing can make pregnancy more complicated. 

At Signature Women’s Healthcare in Lawrenceville and Lithonia, Georgia, Jacquline Hayles-Patterson, MD, and Tyndal M. Jones, MD provide compassionate and highly skilled care for women with high-risk pregnancies, such as those with diabetes.  

Not only do the higher levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes affect your health, but the condition also affects the health of your growing baby. With customized care, however, it’s possible to have a healthy baby — even with diabetes. 

Here’s what you need to know.

How does diabetes affect my pregnancy?

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s important to know that high blood sugar during pregnancy affects your baby’s development. If your diabetes is not well managed while you’re pregnant, you and your baby are at higher risk for serious complications, including:

It’s also possible for an expectant mother to suffer from long-term diabetes complications if your diabetes isn’t carefully managed. Our team helps you monitor for dangerous developments, such as diabetic retinopathy and kidney disease, to ensure your health doesn’t decline during your pregnancy.

Can I have a healthy pregnancy and delivery with diabetes? 

Absolutely! However, it’s especially important to keep your diabetes and blood sugar under control when you’re expecting. Controlling your diabetes before you get pregnant and during your pregnancy helps you stay healthy, and helps you have a happy, healthy baby.

If you have diabetes, eat nourishing, well-balanced meals to keep your blood sugar balanced. During pregnancy, you may need to eat more calories to support your baby. Dr. Hayles-Patterson and Dr. Jones can make recommendations for ways to do that safely.

Regular exercise is also an important aspect of controlling diabetes symptoms. Staying active during your pregnancy helps you and your baby stay healthy and can make labor and delivery easier, but it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for physical activity.

You’ll also need to work with your healthcare team to monitor your blood sugar closely, and make adjustments to your insulin dosage. Some women need more insulin during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, and monitoring blood sugar is extremely important during labor. Since labor and delivery are physically stressful, you may need more insulin at this phase.

After birth, our team monitors your baby’s blood sugar level to ensure the baby stays healthy and well. That’s because babies born to diabetic moms often experience a sharp drop in blood sugar after birth. To keep your baby healthy, the team may need to give them glucose to balance out blood sugar levels. 

What about gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. The disease affects about 7 out of 100 women who were non-diabetic before pregnancy. It can often be controlled with diet and regular exercise during pregnancy.

Dr. Hayles-Patterson and Dr. Jones usually recommend screening for gestational diabetes in your second trimester, but if you’re at increased risk for the disease, they may perform the test earlier in pregnancy.  

How can I learn more about diabetes and pregnancy?

If you have diabetes and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the experienced team at Signature Women’s Healthcare is committed to helping you have a healthy and safe pregnancy. We customize care plans based on your unique needs and health history. 

For more information about diabetes and pregnancy, and to get the care you and your baby need, call the Signature Women’s Healthcare office nearest you, or book an appointment online today.

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