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Diabetes In Pregnancy

Diabetes In Pregnancy: Frequently Asked Questions

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 13:12

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are some frequently asked questions related to diabetes in pregnancy.

Q: If I get diabetes, does that mean my baby will?

A: If you have gestational diabetes, your baby will not be born with diabetes. But both you and your baby are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Maintaining a healthy weight and modeling good eating and exercise habits can help offset this tendency.

Q: I have diabetes and I want to get pregnant. What should I do to be healthy before, during, and after pregnancy?

A: Get your blood sugar under control before conception. The risk of birth defects is highest in the first six to eight weeks, when you barely even know you're pregnant. Once pregnancy is underway, keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. That means between 60 and 90 mg/dl before breakfast and no higher than 120 mg/dl after meals. Continue to monitor your blood glucose levels closely after your baby is born. Keep a chart of what you eat, the times you breast feed, and your moods, and watch for low blood sugar.

Q: Why does insulin have to be injected?

A: Insulin is a protein. The digestive system cannot distinguish it from food proteins and will digest it, thus destroying its effectiveness if it is swallowed as a pill.

Q: How can I prevent low blood sugar?

A: During pregnancy, the early warning signs can change. For example, you may find that you feel less shaky but develop drowsiness or confusion more quickly. Avoid low blood sugar by:

  • Eating meals and snacks at planned times
  • Checking your blood sugar as soon as you feel the symptoms of low blood sugar
  • Carrying a readily available form of sugar such as hard candy, raisins, or orange juice
  • Allowing 15 minutes for whatever you eat or drink to act
  • Having an extra snack when you're more active than usual

Q: Can I breast-feed?

A: Breast-feeding is strongly recommended. Breast-feeding counteracts low postpartum levels of blood sugar in your newborn and helps you lose extra pounds for four to five months after the birth.

Diabetes In Pregnancy