How to Protect your Baby from Diabetes

If you are suffering from diabetes, the best period to control your blood glucose is before the pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful for your baby during the first weeks of pregnancy.

Diabetes before and after Pregnancy

In order to protect your baby’s health, bring your blood glucose under control before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, consult your doctor and get your blood glucose levels checked.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when your body can’t produce any insulin. It normally develops in childhood, so most women with type 1 diabetes are aware of their condition before they become pregnant. They need to take their shots of insulin to control their blood glucose.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin, or the produced insulin doesn’t work properly. If you are not aware of your Type 2 diabetes before you get pregnant, it may be diagnosed during your pregnancy. It can be treated with tablets, but some pregnant women have to be given insulin injections.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy when your body can’t produce enough insulin to fulfil the requirements of pregnancy, more commonly in the second half of the gestation period. Gestational diabetes goes away after the delivery.

However, your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes in later life double if you have gestational diabetes when you’re pregnant.

How Diabetes Can Affect You and Your Baby

High blood glucose levels can:

  • aggravate your long-term diabetes problems, such as eye problems, heart disease, and kidney disease
  • increase the chances of having a pre-mature baby, or a baby weighing too much, suffering from breathing problems or low blood glucose right after birth
  • increase the risk of your baby having birth defects
  • increase the risk of miscarriages
  • increase the chances of a difficult birth due to a large baby, leading to induced labour or caesarean section.

People with type 1 diabetes may develop problems with their eyes (called diabetic retinopathy) and their kidneys (diabetic nephropathy), or existing problems may get worse.

Treatment

You can reduce the risk of birth defects by bringing the glucose levels under control with medicines or insulin shots, depending on the type of diabetes you are suffering from.

You should take a blood test called an HbA1c test, which helps to assess the level of glucose in your blood. The level should be less than 6.5% before you get pregnant, as long as this does not cause problems with hypoglycaemia.

Women with diabetes should take a higher dose of folic acid, about 5 milligrams (mg) a day, but after consulting their gynaecologists.

Protect yourself and your baby from diabetes.

Source : Life Unfold (via syndication)

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