Diabetes & Pregnancy: How To Lower Your Risks Of Complications

woman holding pregnant belly

If you’re a woman and you’re a diabetic, then you’ve probably heard at some point that if you should decide to become pregnant, it would be considered high risk. While that’s true, motherhood isn’t completely out of the question. Of course, there are several precautions you’ll need to take to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery as there are many risks and complications that can occur, such as birth defects, premature birth, a miscarriage,and preeclampsia. One the best ways to prevent any of these complications is by keeping your blood glucose levels under control before, during and after your pregnancy.

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“There are significant hormonal changes involved when a woman becomes pregnant – one result is an increase in blood sugar,” explains Dr. Mark Carter, who practices internal medicine in Phoenix, Arizona. “So, when a woman with diabetes becomes pregnant, they’re at increased risk of having uncontrolled blood sugar. When you’re pregnant and your blood sugar is not controlled, you’re at a much higher risk of developing complications both for you and the baby.”

When trying to become pregnant, it’s all about planning ahead, whether you have diabetes or not. Before trying to conceive, you should be making regular visits to the doctor to discuss any questions and/or concerns you may have, such as stopping any medications, taking prenatal vitamins, as well as establishing a healthy meal plan and how much weight is appropriate to gain.

“Your diet should consist largely of what you were eating before you were pregnant. You will often need more calories for the baby, but while you are eating for two, you shouldn’t double your calories,” Dr. Carter says. “Healthy food choices include lean chicken and fish, low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as brown rice and sweet potatoes, and plenty of vegetables. There are a few things you want to avoid while being pregnant, i.e., sushi, raw oysters, and under-cooked meat.”