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Learning About Future Pregnancy and Diabetes

Learning About Future Pregnancies & Diabetes

How can you plan for pregnancy when you have diabetes?  Women who have diabetes are more at risk for having miscarriages. And they are more likely to have babies with birth defects. This is mainly true if blood sugar is not kept in the target range during the early part of pregnancy. You can take steps before you are pregnant to help manage your diabetes. This will help make sure that both you and your baby stay healthy.


Things to do

Check your blood sugar often. This is so you will know if your blood sugar is under control. Get your blood sugar in your target range. The target range for women who are not pregnant but have diabetes is an A1c level less than 7.0%. Start taking a folic acid supplement. Ask your doctor or midwife about the amount that is right for you. See a doctor or certified nurse-midwife for an exam. Discuss the medicines and supplements you take. Talk about your diabetes history or other concerns you have. Keep track of your menstrual cycle. This helps you know the best time to try to get pregnant. Take only the medicines your doctor or midwife says are okay. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise regularly. That will help you handle the demands of pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery.

Things to avoid Avoid

nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, unless your doctor tells you to take them. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Do not smoke. Smoking can harm your baby. And it increases the chances that you will have problems from diabetes. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good. 


What else should you think about?

Before trying to get pregnant:

Have your doctor check for problems from diabetes, such as eye or kidney disease. When you are pregnant, these problems can get worse. Get any vaccines you might need. This will help prevent infections such as rubella or measles that can cause birth defects or miscarriage. Talk with your doctor about whether to have screening tests for diseases that are passed down through your family (genetic disorders). See your dentist. Take care of any dental work you may need.

What if you think you might be pregnant?

You can use a home pregnancy test as soon as the first day of your first missed menstrual period. As soon as you know you're pregnant, check with your doctor. At your first prenatal visit you will get information on how to care for yourself and your growing baby.


Gestational Diabetes: Care Instructions

Gestational Diabetes: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions


Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy. When you have this condition, the insulin in your body is not able to keep your blood sugar in a normal range. If you do not control your blood sugar, your baby can grow too big. Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after a baby is born. But if you have had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of having it in a future pregnancy and of developing type 2 diabetes. To check for diabetes, you may have a follow-up glucose tolerance test 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding your baby. You may be able to control your blood sugar with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Staying at a healthy weight also may keep you from getting type 2 diabetes later on. If diet and exercise do not lower your blood sugar enough, you may need to take insulin shots. Insulin is safe during pregnancy. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.


How can you care for yourself at home?

If your doctor prescribes insulin, inject it daily as directed. Your doctor will tell you how and when to take your insulin.
Check your blood sugar as directed. Your doctor will tell you how and when to check your blood sugar.
Monitor your baby's movement as directed. Your doctor may ask you to report how many times in an hour you feel your baby move.
Eat a balanced diet. You may want to meet with a registered dietitian. He or she can teach you how to spread carbohydrate through the day. This may keep your blood sugar from going up quickly after meals. If you are taking insulin, you also can learn to match the amount of insulin you take at meals to the amount of carbohydrate you eat.
Do not diet to lose weight. It is not healthy when you are pregnant.
Get daily exercise. This can help lower your blood sugar. Walking and swimming are good choices. But do not do any exercise without talking with your doctor first.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness), or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. (You may have very low blood sugar.)
  • You have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as:Blurred vision.
  • Trouble staying awake or being woken up.
  • Fast, deep breathing.
  • Breath that smells fruity.
  • Belly pain, not feeling hungry, and vomiting.
  • Feeling confused.  

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if: 

  • You are sick and cannot control your blood sugar.
  • You have been vomiting or have had diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
  • Your blood sugar stays higher than the level your doctor has set for you.
  • You have symptoms of low blood sugar, such as:Sweating.
  • Feeling nervous, shaky, and weak.
  • Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
  • Dizziness and headache.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Confusion.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

You have a hard time knowing when your blood sugar is low.
You have trouble keeping your blood sugar in the target range.
You often have problems controlling your blood sugar.


Gestational Diabetes Diet: Care Instructions

Gestational Diabetes: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions


Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born. Diabetes means that your pancreas can't make enough insulin or your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin helps sugar enter your cells, where it is used for energy. You may be able to control your blood sugar while you are pregnant by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. A dietitian or certified diabetes educator (CDE) can help you make a food plan. This plan will help control your blood sugar and provide good nutrition for you and your baby. If diet and exercise don't lower or control your blood sugar, you may need insulin shots. Insulin is safe to use while you are pregnant. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.


How can you care for yourself at home?

Learn which foods have carbohydrate. Eating too much carbohydrate will cause your blood sugar to go too high. Carbohydrate foods include:Breads, cereals, pasta, and rice. Dried beans and starchy vegetables, like corn, peas, and potatoes. Fruits and fruit juice, milk, and yogurt.Candy, table sugar, soda pop, and drinks sweetened with sugar. Learn how much carbohydrate you need each day. A dietitian or certified diabetes educator (CDE) can teach you how to keep track of how much carbohydrate you eat. Try to eat the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. This will help keep your blood sugar steady. Do not save up your daily allowance of carbohydrate to eat at one meal. Limit foods that have added sugar. This includes candy, desserts, and soda pop. These foods need to be counted as part of your total carbohydrate intake for the day. Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol is not safe for you or your baby. Do not skip meals. Your blood sugar may drop too low if you skip meals and use insulin. Write down what you eat every day. Review your record with your dietitian or CDE to see if you are eating the right amounts of foods. Check your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you eat. Then check your blood sugar 1 to 2 hours after the first bite of each meal (or as your doctor recommends). This will help you see how the food you eat affects your blood sugar. Keep track of these levels. Share the record with your doctor. 

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

You have questions about your diet.
You often have problems with high or low blood sugar.

Care instructions adapted under license by Alliance In Health Diabetes Control Center. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.

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