Pregnancy is a beautiful phase in a woman’s life. From cravings for favorite foods to shopping for the baby, most women spend time offering the best for their baby. While everyone is busy planning the new member, the mother’s diet and wellbeing often take a backseat. At this crucial stage, it is very important for the mother to take every precaution to be fit and healthy.
Over the past ten years, the average age for having a child has increased. This delay could lead to certain health problems affecting women, and diabetes is one of them. It can either be pre-existing diabetes or gestational diabetes, which can cause problems for women and their developing fetus during pregnancy. Poor control and treatment of the condition can increase the risk of birth defects and other maternal health complications.
- Pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes:
Pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes requires careful planning. Controlling blood sugar levels before conception and during pregnancy can ensure a healthy pregnancy, easy delivery, and a healthy baby. If diabetes is poorly managed, the expectant mother can develop complications like eye and kidney diseases. There is also an increased chance of developing preeclampsia, a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy that can cause problems for the baby. Untreated diabetic condition during pregnancy can result in premature or stillborn babies.
- Pregnancy with gestational diabetes:
This type of diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how cells use sugar. Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can affect pregnancy and the baby’s health. In most cases, gestational diabetes can be controlled with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
In women with gestational diabetes, blood sugar returns to normal soon after delivery. However, you are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is important to follow a healthy eating plan and exercise program after delivery.
Symptoms of Diabetes:
Yeast infections are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes due to the fact that they are thirsty and have to urinate frequently.
- Risk factors for diabetes
- Overweight or overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Immediate family member with a diabetic condition
Complications Due to Diabetes During Pregnancy:
- Overweight: If the expectant mother’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, it can cause her babies to gain extra weight.
- Early delivery: It can increase the risk of premature birth.
- Babies can face respiratory distress syndrome.
- Low blood sugar: Babies may experience low blood sugar soon after delivery, often referred to as hypoglycemia. If the hypoglycemia episodes are severe, it can cause seizures in babies.
- Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Babies are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. They also tend to develop obesity.
- Stillbirth: Untreated gestational diabetes can lead to stillbirth of the baby.
- Pre-eclampsia: It can lead to preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure
- Caesarean delivery: Diabetes during pregnancy can make a caesarean section more likely.
Following healthy habits during pregnancy will help reduce your risk of gestational diabetes and, in the future, type 2 diabetes.
Below are the few tips that can be followed during pregnancy.
- Follow a healthy diet: Consume high fiber and low fat foods to avoid excessive calories. Consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the correct proportions.
- Keep yourself active: Exercise is one of the healthy habits to follow. Exercising regularly for 30 minutes will help you stay fit and active. Maintaining a healthy weight: Losing those extra pounds before pregnancy can contribute to a healthy pregnancy. Overeating, excessive consumption of sweets can be harmful to pregnant women.
- Avoid being overweight: Weight gain is common during pregnancy. However, gaining weight too quickly can increase your risk of gestational diabetes.
Pregnant women are advised to have regular follow-up examinations at the gynecologist. Regular tests and a visit to the doctor can help you monitor your health, as well as the health of the fetus. When choosing a hospital for delivery, consider the following:
- It should have multi-specialty services under one roof and have an infrastructure to combat unforeseen complications for both mother and child
- There should be clearly defined protocols for clinical and non-clinical care
- The hospital should keep digital records of you and your baby so that future follow-up examinations of the baby are possible throughout childhood
- Your health insurance is valid
- The hospital should have a newborn intensive care unit in case your newborn is sick
- There should be support for postpartum breastfeeding
Since hospitals put patient safety first, all necessary precautions are carefully followed so that patients can visit them.
From: Dr. Meghana Reddy, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield