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Diabetes in Pregnancy

Diabetes in Pregnancy

Diabetes affects millions of women around the world. It is a condition that occurs when there is a problem with the way the body makes or uses insulin. Historically, diabetic women were encouraged not to become pregnant because of the health risks for both mother and baby. Today, diabetes can be effectively managed so it is much safer for women with diabetes to become pregnant.
 
Some women develop gestational diabetes when they become pregnant as a result of some of the hormones in the placenta. These hormones can alter the way that insulin works. Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy are likely to develop diabetes again later in life, though diabetes typically will go away after pregnancy.
 
There are several factors that can affect the risk of a woman getting diabetes in pregnancy, including:
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy with a large baby
  • Prior stillbirth
  • A family member with diabetes
  • Women over 25 years of age
 
There is no cure for diabetes, though it can be controlled by keeping the blood glucose at a normal level. Controlling diabetes before pregnancy is very important. Diabetic women should speak with a physician before considering pregnancy to ensure their blood glucose levels are not too high.

Having a high blood glucose level in early pregnancy can increase risk of several problems. Women who have diabetes or get diabetes during pregnancy will carry risk of some problems, including:
  • Preeclampsia- high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Hydrammios- too much amniotic fluid in the fetal sac
  • Urinary tract infections- bladder infection
  • Macrosomia- high blood glucose level allowing sugar to cross the placenta that may cause the baby to grow too large for safe vaginal delivery
  • Respiratory distress syndrome- affects the baby’s ability to breathe after it is born
  • Still birth- occurs more frequently in diabetic mothers
  • Birth defects- sometimes resulting in miscarriage
 
The Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Women’s Health understands that caring for a woman’s health requires more than just good “medical” care. Call (770) 297-2200 or contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians to help you with your health needs.