Being pregnant is a transformative experience for many women, and having a baby is life-changing. But it’s no secret that pregnancy takes a toll on your body.
If you have a preexisting condition, the changes that come with pregnancy can be even more significant. Diabetes is a very common metabolic condition that can make pregnancy more complicated.
The high blood sugar levels that are common with diabetes can affect your health, but also the health of your growing baby. Diabetes can make your pregnancy a higher risk, but it’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy even if you have diabetes.
At OB/GYN Specialists in Denton, Texas, Daniel McDonald, MD, and Marc Wilson, MD, provide compassionate, expert care for women during pregnancy. If you have diabetes and you’re expecting, or you’re thinking about trying to have a baby, talk to our team about how you can have a healthy pregnancy.
How diabetes affects you and your baby
Insulin is a hormone that converts sugar from the food you eat into energy that fuels your body. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or it can’t use the insulin your body makes. Sugar stays in your blood instead of being used for energy, and your blood sugar levels go up.
High blood sugar during pregnancy affects your baby’s development. If your blood sugar is high during the first few months of pregnancy, you might be at increased risks for birth defects, miscarriage, and other complications.
Some long-term diabetes complications can get worse for expecting mothers. Our team helps you monitor changes like diabetic retinopathy and kidney disease to make sure your health doesn’t decline with pregnancy.
If your diabetes is well-managed, you can expect to carry your baby to full term. However, having diabetes may make your baby bigger. Macrosomia develops when babies get too much sugar as they grow in the womb. The sugar is converted to fat and the baby gets larger.
Monitoring blood sugar is particularly important during labor. Labor and delivery are physically stressful on you and your baby, and you may need more insulin during labor.
After you have given birth, our team monitors your newborn’s blood sugar level. It’s common for babies born to women with diabetes to experience a sharp drop in blood sugar after birth. To keep your baby healthy, they may need glucose to balance out blood sugar.
How to stay healthy during pregnancy when you have diabetes
The best thing to do for yourself and your baby when you’re pregnant is keeping your diabetes and your blood sugar under control. Controlling diabetes before you get pregnant and while you’re pregnant helps take extra stress of your body and your growing baby.
If you have diabetes, eat healthy, nutritious meals. You may need to eat more calories to support your baby, and Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson can make recommendations for ways to do that safely.
Exercising regularly can help keep diabetes symptoms controlled. Staying active during pregnancy is a good way to keep yourself and your baby healthy, but always be sure to follow your doctor’s guidelines for physical activity.
Work with your health care team to monitor your blood sugar and adjust your insulin dosage as needed. Some women need more insulin during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Some diabetes medications may not be safe to take while you’re pregnant.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects about 7out of 100 women who didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy. It develops during pregnancy, but it can often be managed by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly during pregnancy.
Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson generally recommend a gestational diabetes screening in the second trimester of pregnancy, but if you’re at increased risk for gestational diabetes, they may perform the test earlier in pregnancy.
With our team’s help, you can have a healthy, full-term pregnancy if you have diabetes. Make your first appointment or get more information by calling 940-202-0566. You can also send a message to Dr. McDonald, Dr. Wilson and the team here on the website.