Among diabetic pregnant women, the most common problem when it comes to their baby’s health is the condition called “macrosomia” or having a baby with a large body. This is because the blood of the mother with diabetes is interchanged with that of the baby inside the womb. As a result, the baby will produce insulin, leading to fat deposits, which causes the baby to grow larger compared to regular ones.
What you can do: For a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, it is ideal to maintain an appropriate weight gain, average consumption of various foods from different food groups, timely and prescribed vitamin and mineral supplementation and lots of fluid intake. Sweets and fats should also be kept to a minimum level of consumption. The following are just some of the guidelines that pregnant women with diabetes can use to achieve healthy pregnancy despite the chronic disease:
1. Follow the appropriate meal plan religiously. More than ever, pregnant women should pay attention to what they eat and their eating patterns in general. This is very important because this stage, pregnancy itself, requires strict control of blood glucose levels in order to ensure that both the mother and baby are getting the right amount of key nutrients needed. In coming up with the right diet plan, it is best to seek the help of diabetes educator or a licensed dietitian to create the necessary adjustments needed to accommodate the needs not only of the fetus inside the womb but of the mother as well. In your meal plan, take note of calorie, carbohydrates and protein requirements everyday because these will help you maintain normal blood glucose levels.
2. Regular Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose or SMBG. Experts say that the only way to tell if the woman is successful in controlling her blood glucose is by monitoring her levels on her own regularly. Since being pregnant is a sensitive condition, soon to be mothers should monitor their blood glucose levels more frequently. Ideally, SMBG should be monitored 4 to 10 times a day.
3. Knowledge in administering insulin injections and adjusting the doses based on the results of SMBG. Sufficient supply of insulin is very crucial for pregnant women so they must know how to administer insulin injections by themselves in case no one is around when they need it. They should also ask from their physician how to adjust the doses of insulin after they are through with the SBMG. Knowing how to adjust the doses of insulin needed is very important to ensure that the body’s supply of insulin is stable.
4. Treating or controlling hypoglycemia. Pregnant women who are diabetics are more prone to hypoglycemia because of the hormonal changes in their body. Although studies show that there are no known effects of hypoglycemia in the baby, it is best to control or treat it as soon as possible so the soon to be mom won’t be having trouble during the course of conception.
5. Maintaining regular set of exercise or physical activities. This is also very important for pregnant women with diabetes because through this they can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia as well as being overweight. Since it is hard for pregnant women to do strenuous workouts, it is best to maintain the hobby of having light exercises that will keep the body moving.
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