Diabetes and Pregnancy: What to Expect

Pregnancy creates dramatic changes throughout your body. It’s an exciting time, but it’s normal to have questions about what to expect.

And if you’re one of the 15 million American women who have diabetes, you might have even more questions. Having a preexisting condition like diabetes means that you’ll need to take extra care of your health, and your body may experience increased stress during pregnancy.

Daniel McDonald, MD, and Marc Wilson, MD, of OB/GYN Specialists are here to help you have your healthiest possible pregnancy. Diabetes takes a toll on your body, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

While having diabetes makes your pregnancy higher risk, there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself and your baby healthy over the next nine months.

Manage your diabetes

Keeping your diabetes and your blood sugar under control is important, whether you’re pregnant or not. Controlling your diabetes keeps you healthy and minimizes the effects it has on your baby.

Working with Dr. McDonald, Dr. Wilson, and the entire health care team allows you to monitor your blood sugar. Your doctors should adjust your insulin as needed, as some women need more insulin as their pregnancies progress. 

Some types of diabetes medication may not be safe for pregnant women, so be sure to discuss all of your medications with your medical team.

Make it a priority to have meals that are balanced and nutritious. While you may need to consume more calories to support your growing baby, you might not need to eat as much more as you think. Talk to our team to learn more about safely increasing calorie consumption while you’re pregnant.

Regular exercise can help keep diabetes under control, and it’s generally safe to participate in mild to moderate physical activities while you’re pregnant. Follow our team’s guidelines when it comes to finding the best type of exercise for you.

Go to your prenatal appointments

Regular prenatal appointments are the best way to ensure you and your unborn baby are as healthy as possible. Having a high-risk pregnancy makes prenatal care particularly essential.

You might need additional monitoring and testing as your pregnancy progresses. At each appointment, we check your vital signs, as well as your baby’s growth. Depending on your condition, you may benefit from additional ultrasounds and/or genetic testing.

Attending your scheduled prenatal appointments helps Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson identify any issues as early as possible. Conditions like preeclampsia are best treated when they’re caught early.

Understand diabetes-related pregnancy complications

If you’re pregnant and you have diabetes, high blood sugar can impact both your body and your baby’s development. Being pregnant can exacerbate some complications of diabetes, like diabetic retinopathy or kidney disease. High blood sugar during your first trimester could increase your risk of miscarriage or birth defects.

Macrosomia is a condition that is caused by maternal high blood sugar. When your blood sugar is too high, it’s converted to fat, and it causes your baby to grow larger than average.

Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy complication that can develop in women who don’t have diabetes before pregnancy. About 7 in 100 non-diabetic women develop gestational diabetes, but it can be managed with healthy diet and exercise.

Learn to recognize the warning signs

Regardless of whether your pregnancy is identified as high-risk, it’s important to familiarize yourself with warning signs that could indicate pregnancy complications. Signs of pregnancy complications can include:

If you notice any of these symptoms or you experience diabetes-related symptoms, seek immediate medical care. In the event of severe cramping and heavy bleeding, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

Dr. McDonald, Dr. Wilson, and our team are here to help you navigate pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or considering getting pregnant, schedule a consultation to learn more about diabetes and pregnancy. Call our office at 940-202-0566 to speak with a team member, or send us a message online.

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