Having diabetes in pregnancy presents unique challenges. Naturally, you're concerned about the effect diabetes might have on your health and your baby's health. However, this article will help you to know about pregnancy and diabetes and delivering a healthy baby.
(මෙහි සිංහල අනුවාදය ලිපියේ පහත කොටසේ දැක්වේ)
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot change sugars and starches (carbohydrates) into energy. This happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes. As a result, extra sugar in the blood can lead to damage in the blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves.
* 3 Types of Diabetes
- Type 1: Juvenile onset diabetes (from early life). It is usually caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. The bidy produce little or no insulin in them and hence need to get insulin injected daily. If not, they are at the risk of death!
- Type 2: This is non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes. Mostly (but not always) this occurs due to bad food habits (too much sugar!). To control diabetes, they should manage sugar intake or in worst case get drugs or insulin injections.
- Type 3: This is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It is said to be seen in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications to both mother and baby.
* You are at risk – Meet a doctor
You are having a “High Risk Pregnancy” if you have any one of the above types of diabetes. Bad blood sugar control during pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, excess growth as well as complications for mom and complications for baby. You must consult the following specialist doctors:
- A physician – who would monitor your blood sugar levels and other vital health indicators.
- An obstetrician - Choose an obstetrician who handles high-risk pregnancies and has cared for other pregnant women who have diabetes.
- An eye specialist – who will monitor diabetes-related damage to the small blood vessels in your eyes, which can progress during pregnancy.
- A pediatrician - the doctor who will care for your baby after he or she is born.
* You Have a Key Role to Play
Controlling your blood sugar level is the best way to prevent diabetes complications. In fact, when it comes to pregnancy and diabetes, blood sugar control is more important than ever. Following steps will help you to prevent health problems related to diabetes during pregnancy:
- Plan your pregnancy. If you have diabetes, it is very important for you to get your body ready before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, see your doctor right away.
- See your doctor. Your doctor needs to look at the effects that diabetes has had on your body already, talk with you about getting and keeping control of your blood sugar, change medications if needed, and plan for frequent follow up.
- Monitor your blood sugar often. Pregnancy affects your blood sugar control. You will probably need to check your blood sugar more often than when you are not pregnant. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar.
- Take your medications on time. If medications are ordered by a doctor, take them as directed.
- Control and treat low blood sugar quickly. Having tight blood sugar control can lead to a chance of low blood sugar at times. Keep a ready source of sugar, such as glucose tablets or gel or hard candy, on hand at all times. Talk with your doctor about how to treat low blood sugar.
- Follow up with the doctor regularly. You will need to see your doctor more often than a pregnant woman without diabetes. Together, you can work with your doctor to prevent or catch problems early.
- Be flexible. You'll need to adjust your insulin dosage depending on your blood sugar level, what you eat, whether you're vomiting and various other factors.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes treatment plan, even during pregnancy. Get advise from doctor on what exercise is suitable at each stage (such as yoga, walking, swimming or stationary biking). Then choose activities you enjoy.
- Schedule regular prenatal checkups Your health care provider might recommend regular ultrasounds or other prenatal screening tests to monitor your baby's growth and development.
* After Delivery – it might not be over!
If you had gestational diabetes, you still have a high risk to develop Type 2 diabetes later. Talk with your doctor about getting your blood sugar checked after delivery and annually. About half of all women who had gestational diabetes may develop “type 2 diabetes” later. Always maintain healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle routine such as exercise, gym etc. It’s common for a lot of mothers to gain weight and become careless about their weight and health while getting busy with the child. It’s true that you are busy for the goodness of the baby, but what happens if you have to leave the baby while he is young just because you ignored your health?
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