Having a baby is one of the greatest journeys a woman can go through in her lifetime. But just like everything dubbed as great, comes with its challenges. Anything could happen before, during or even after you’ve given birth. There are so many factors to consider and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. This is the case especially if you have underlying conditions, like diabetes that would put you and your future baby at risk.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes happens to be a very common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. This is where your body is unable to convert carbohydrates (sugars and starches) from food to create energy. Therefore, all that extra sugar gets stored in your blood and can lead to heart, eye, and kidney damage. If ever you become pregnant, the extra sugar will increase the risk of problems for your child which includes birth defects. Whether it is type 1 or type 2, you need to plan your pregnancy and control your blood sugar. You can still have a healthy baby!
Risks of Uncontrolled Diabetes While Pregnant:
- Serious Birth Defects (brain, spine, and heart)
- Increases chances of stillbirth or miscarriage
- Premature birth
- A newborn might have breathing problems, vision problems, intestinal problems, heart problems, bleeding into the brain
- Baby can grow very large and lead to delivery complications (injure shoulder nerves, break the collarbone, brain damage from lack of oxygen), and in turn force, you to have a caesarian section which has a longer healing time after birth.
- Newborn’s blood sugar to rapidly change from low to high.
- You can develop preeclampsia (protein in your urine and high blood pressure) which may lead you to have seizures or stroke and cause premature labor.
- Increase the chances of your child growing up to become overweight and develop diabetes
What You Can Do?
Talk to Your Doctor: Plan your pregnancy carefully. Get a checkup and discuss with your doctor whether or not it’s safe for you to become pregnant. What kind of preparations do you need to do for your body? What to do to keep your blood sugar under tight control? Discuss everything and anything that may occur.
Prep Your Body: Depending on your current fitness, you may or may not need to take certain medications or supplements to get your baby ready. Be sure to eat as healthy as possible and exercise regularly. If you need help, you can always consult with a dietitian to develop a meal plan.
Monitor: Your blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, etc. If you notice anything wrong inform your doctor ASAP!
Controlling your diabetes before and during your pregnancy will greatly prevent issues such as miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, birth defects and anything else mentioned above. But if you happen to be already pregnant, take those steps now to get yourself under control. Make sure to see your doctor and monitor yourself regularly. Remember to eat healthy, stay active and take care of yourself!
Even if you suffer from an underlying condition like diabetes & are planning to have a baby, you can still have a happy and healthy baby with the right advice & care from preconception check-ups to post-delivery care.