Fortunately, now-a-days due to advanced medical sciences and intensive prenatal care, if you are diabetic, or develop diabetes during pregnancy, the chances of you delivering a healthy baby are almost as good as a non-diabetic mother.
However, there are certain risks which need to be taken specially attended to, warranting some special precautions and care for a expecting diabetic.
This is most important to begin with. Diabetes causes your blood sugar levels to become high, however that does not imply that you do not eat at all and starve yourself. Eating right is the key. Your doctor may suggest you a diet in which you take a good amount of carbohydrates, such as through pulses, whole grains, moderate proteins- such as chicken or cheese and low fats and cholesterol.
You may have to give up the cravings of your sweet tooth and say bye-bye to sugars and sweets till you deliver, however, considering the prize that you get- of a brand new healthy baby, the sacrifice is definitely worth it! Also snacking is important. Especially, if you’re on insulin, and you do not maintain your diet, the chances of your blood sugar dropping are always there.
This in fact is more dangerous than hyperglycemia-that is, high blood sugar. Eating around 6 to 8 mini meals a day, instead of 3 large meals is a very simple and effective strategy. Your doctor may recommend you to consult a dietician to formulate a suitable diet plan for you.
Gain the correct amount of weight:
If your already diabetic, and planning a pregnancy, it really helps to bring you weight under control before you start with your nine month journey. This can ease up and save you a lot of problems at later stages. If you have already conceived, then do not try the weight management now. Talk to your doctor about how you should be gaining weight.
The doctor may write out a chart for you- the week of pregnancy, and the expected weight gain. Try to keep your weight gain in those ranges. Slow and steady is the method, and not fast and furious. Gaining weight correctly can help prevent problems of very large babies, which usually happens with diabetic mothers. Thus, with your baby being of the correct weight and size, the chances of you being able to deliver naturally are also increased.
Monitor your blood sugar levels:
Your doctor may ask you to go for a glucose screening much more often than he will ask others. Though you may find this irritating, it’s for your own good. He may also suggest you to use home instant home blood sugar testing kits. This is as simple as a finger-prick, and gives you instant results. Any alarming increase in blood sugar has to be reported immediately to the doctor.
In case of type 1 diabetes cases especially (juvenile diabetes), there are many other advanced tests that may be done preferably. These include Glycosylated hemoglobin test, which is a very accurate indicator of not just the current blood glucose levels, but how has your sugar control been over the past 3 months.
Urine sugar levels:
In severe uncontrolled diabetes, there are ketone bodies that are excreted along with urine. This is because, since your body cannot use the glucose efficiently due to low insulin levels or insulin resistance, it starts breaking down fats into fatty acids for energy production. These fatty acids when further broken, give rise to ketone bodies which are then thrown out of the body through urine.
Thus presence of ketone bodies in urine is another method of checking for your diabetes control. This test can also be done at home, making use of a dipstick. The dipstick is dipped into your urine sample, and a change in color indicates ketone body presence. Depending on the color change, one can also roughly estimate the levels of ketone bodies, that is, how bad is the diabetes.
Especially for a diabetic, a little exercise daily as recommended by the doctor can be really helpful. These may include brisk walking exercises, or some mild stretching of the limbs. However, precautions need to be taken here. Do not exercise in very hot temperatures and no heavy or moderately heavy exercises are to be carried out. It is believed that these mild exercises help to decrease the insulin resistance of the body, so that the insulin administered has better chances of acting and showing results.
Proper rest again is also important. Too much emotional stress can make your blood sugar fluctuate to dangerous levels. Especially if you are in a field job, too much exhaustion can cause your blood sugar to drop- and cause you to go in a hypoglycemic shock, which is one of the riskiest conditions. You may have to take your maternity leave from office earlier than most other women; however, this again is for your own good.
This is usually the last resort. Some women despite following all precautions have some difficulty in maintaining the blood sugar levels to normal. This may happen in obese patients or those who have had a history of severe diabetes for many years. In such cases, the doctor instead of taking any further risks, may monitor your condition, and recommend an emergency C-section.
This is usually done around one or two weeks before the actual term completion or due date. Most of the mothers have shown that their diabetes becomes better once the C-section is done. This has to be followed by a number of precautions for a few days and you should be able to be back on your toes and nurse your baby within a short period of time.
Selection of the right doctor is very crucial, as he can properly gauge the importance of the situation and the emergencies involved. Do not worry if your baby has been kept in the neonatal intensive care unit. This is a routine procedure followed by many hospitals, and does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. It simply means that the doctors want to be sure that everything goes right.