Controlling Diabetes while Pregnant
The best way to prevent complications from diabetes while pregnant is to control blood sugar levels closely. During pregnancy it is more important than ever for women to maintain a tight contol on their blood sugar levels to miniumize the risk of excessive growth, miscarriage and preterm birth, birth defects and a number of other problems associated with diabetes.
While good blood sugar control throughout the entire pregnancy reduces the risk of miscarriage or preterm birth, it is the beginning of pregnancy that it is necessary to maintain good control to prevent birth defects such as those affecting the heart, spine and brain. Another complication during pregnancy for diabetics is that their fetus has the ability to grow very large, creating problems when it comes time for delivery. This growth is triggered by extra glucose crossing the placenta and thereby causing the baby's pancreas to make too much insulin. All of these risks can be greatly reduced by maintaining a tight control over your blood sugar levels for the entirety of your pregnancy.
Controlling your blood sugar during pregnancy can also prevent additional complications for mom and baby after birth and going forward in life. Babies born to diabetic mothers have higher risk for jaundice, hypoglycemia and low levels of calcium and magnesium in the blood. Monitoring blood sugar levels, along with making healthy lifestyle choices, can help women to maintain your target blood sugar range throughout their entire pregnancy and ensure the health of both themselves and their baby.
The basics for controlling blood sugar for diabetics while pregnant include checking your blood sugar often, taking insulin or other medications as directed, eating a healthy diet, making time to get in some physical activity and scheduling regular prenatal checkups. Meeting with a diabetes specialist when pregnant to establish the body's healthy blood sugar level and subsequent treatment plan is an important step in the health of mothers with diabetes. From there, a mother will need to remain flexible, as the changing needs of her body can cause it to require additional insulin especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy. Establishing healthy eating habits, working to get 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day, and closely monitoring blood sugar levels are the keys to keeping diabetes under control and having a healthy, complication-free pregnancy.
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