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Diabetes During Pregnancy

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Diabetes during pregnancy can be controlled safely with the unborn child in mind.

We are all very familiar with the term diabetes, because this disorder is very common; it can be found all over the world. The disorder arises from a condition caused by the body’s blood sugar level being abnormally high, to the extent that the body is unable to use all of the sugar. If you have high levels of blood sugar for an extended period of time, it might cause the functionality of important bodily organs to become impaired. Diabetes can happen to anyone; however, we are most worried about mothers-to-be who have diabetes during pregnancy. The patient may have had diabetes before pregnancy, or it may have developed during her pregnancy. It does not matter how or when it occurred, it can still have a bearing upon both the mother-to-be and the unborn baby.

You may be wondering how diabetes occurs during pregnancy. There are actually many factors that can lead to the onset of diabetes during pregnancy. There are heredity factors, some people may have diabetic family members; there are age factors: women who are older than 35 may be at higher risk because of their changing bodies; birth history factors: at-risk patients may have histories of bearing children with birth weights of more than 4 kilograms, may have borne children with congenital defects, or may have had miscarriages with unknown causes; and obesity factors: high blood pressure can be a contributing factor to diabetes during pregnancy.
There are complications from diabetes during pregnancy for the pregnant mother and the baby she is carrying.

Complications for the mother-to-be:

Mothers-to-be who have high blood sugar are at higher risk for a variety of complications. For example, there are risks of preeclampsia and of high blood pressure during the pregnancy. There are also risks for deterioration of the vascular system of the eyes, kidneys, and nerve endings. Other than these, there are also increased risks of urinary tract infections.

Complications for the baby in the womb:

High blood sugar levels can have adverse effects that cause changes to the baby in the womb. One major complication is that the baby’s body can become larger than normal, which can be a dangerous obstacle during the birth. There is also increased chance of miscarriage, and there may be an increased chance of stillbirth. After the birth, the newborn may have breathing difficulties and may not be able to breathe on its own. Other possible complications include low blood sugar, jaundice, or abnormal electrolyte balance.

How can mothers control their blood sugar to reduce the risk of diabetes during pregnancy? The most important thing is vigilance. During pregnancy, mothers-to-be should strive to keep their blood sugar level as close to normal level as possible. When the mother-to-be visits the doctor for antenatal care, the doctor will test the blood glucose. During weeks 24–28 of the pregnancy, the doctor also performs diabetes screenings and the appointments may be more frequent during this important period, so that the doctor can evaluate the health of the expectant mother and her baby. Blood tests are performed to check the sugar levels, so that treatment can be adjusted accordingly. Expectant mothers should control their diets strictly and exercise regularly. Good food choices are very important for the mother-to-be. She should consume more protein and reduce her intake of carbohydrates by eating vegetables and avoiding extra-sweet fruit. She should also be sure to exercise appropriately in order to create a well-balanced body. If both preventative measures have been taken and there is still a risk of diabetes during pregnancy, the doctor may administer an insulin injection so as to control the sugar level.

Obviously, diabetes during pregnancy is a condition to be wary of because it may affect both the mother-to-be and her baby. However, if the pregnancy is monitored and looked after properly from the start, the risks and dangers are reduced. This is important for the good health of both the mother and her baby.

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Assoc. Prof. Boonsri Chanrachakul, M.D. Summary: Obstetrics And Gynaecology Maternal And Fetal Medicine