Diabetes and Pregnancy, Diabetic mother pregnancy guide
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a gland in the abdomen, and is essential for regulating blood-sugar levels. When your pancreas produces insufficient insulin, blood-sugar levels rise and diabetes mellitus occurs. Women with diabetes frequently do become pregnant and have successful, untroubled pregnancies. Equally, pregnancy does not necessarily make diabetes worse, but your insulin requirements and your blood-sugar regulation will need to be altered.
In pregnancy, hormones produced by the placenta have an anti-insulin effect, which can increase your insulin requirements. It is therefore important that insulin-dependent diabetic women have their condition well under control before conception. Adequate regulation of blood-sugar levels prior to and during the early weeks of pregnancy is essential to avoid or minimise the risk of congenital abnormalities. Folic acid supplements should also be taken to reduce the risk of some of these abnormalities and diet will need to be carefully controlled.
Checklist for the diabetic mother in pregnancy
. Ensure you obtain pre-pregnancy advice on diabetes from your doctor or obstetrician
. Get your blood-sugar levels under really good control before you become pregnant
. Keep careful records of your blood-glucose levels and insulin dosage
. Be aware of the problems that can occur during pregnancy and the need for increased vigilance
. Hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar) is a relatively common occurrence when you are trying to get blood-sugar levels under good control; you and your partner should learn how to deal with hypoglycaemia
. Take folic acid supplements
. Ensure that any diabetic complications are under control or have been assessed before pregnancy
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