What is it? Diabetes is a condition in which the body produces insufficient insulin which is essential for regulating sugar conversion and for the metabolism of fats and proteins. As a result, blood sugar levels go up.
Pre-existing diabetes: Although diabetes may not necessarily get worse with pregnancy, it needs to be monitored closely as there is a tendency for you to develop high blood pressure (associated with pre-eclampsia) or go into premature labour. You will be more closely monitored by your doctor as compared to your non-diabetic counterparts.
Diabetes in pregnancy: If you develop diabetes during pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes and is less serious than pre-existing diabetes. It can be controlled through diet and insulin injections (if required). It tends to improve after pregnancy.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes:
* Feeling very thirsty
* Frequent urination
* Loss of weight
* General weakness
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed through routine blood and urine tests which are carried out in all pregnancies.
Treatment: Gestational diabetes can be controlled through proper diet:
* More carbohydrates
* More fibre
* Less fat and sugar
If the diabetes cannot be controlled by diet alone, you may be given insulin injections to maintain the blood sugar levels.
Risk: If blood sugar is not maintained in the first few weeks of pregnancy, it can cause your baby to have abnormalities like cleft palate. This is why, the routine blood and urine tests are important. If you can control your blood sugar and follow the doctor's instructions, you will have perfectly normal and healthy babies. Babies of diabetic mothers may be monitored closely after birth for first few days. This is because in the womb, the baby's pancreas would have produced more insulin to deal with the high blood sugar coming from the mother's blood. Once out of the womb, the pancreas need some time to adjust to start producing normal amounts of insulin.