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Home > Health Topics > Diabetic Supplies > Prenatal Care for Women with Diabetes

Prenatal Care for Women with Diabetes

For most women, pregnancy is a wonderful, exciting and anxiety-ridden time. Thankfully, women with diabetes can rest assured that their diabetes care team and local hospital will provide excellent care for them and their babies.

The challenge falls on the women to maintain their health and positive lifestyle habits in a time when their body is quickly changing. The changes that are happening in a pregnant woman's body will affect blood sugar levels. Because these changes happen so quickly and some symptoms of low blood sugar can go undetected during pregnancy, it is important that pregnant women with diabetes check their blood sugar levels frequently and keep a log of the findings.

Your "New" Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctors will work with you to keep your blood sugar levels in control. This is important for the health of your pregnancy, your baby and you. Your target glucose levels may differ now that you are pregnant. Each woman is different, and your diabetes care team will work with you to find your "new normal."

Insulin is safe to use in pregnant women. Women with diabetes who use insulin should not worry about its use during pregnancy, as it will not compromise the health of the mother or baby. Still, insulin needs will change during pregnancy. You will need to work closely with your diabetes care team to create a special treatment plan for your pregnancy.
Not all medicines used to treat diabetes are safe for pregnant women. It is important to tell your diabetes care team immediately if you suspect that you are pregnant. Women on oral diabetes medicines may be switched to insulin therapies. Your doctor and pharmacist will be able to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Healthy Lifestyle
Pregnant women don't just need a slight increase in their caloric intake, they need to increase the variety of their foods. Speak with your doctor about your meal concerns; if necessary, he or she might refer you to a registered dietitian who has worked with patients with diabetes. Speak with your doctor also about pregnancy weight. Pregnancy weight goals are directly connected to pre-pregnancy weight.
Although it is always a good idea to discuss exercise with your doctor, regular physical activity is safe and a great benefit to pregnant women with diabetes. Unless you have other medical conditions—high blood pressure, nerve damage, kidney disease—that would put you at risk for complications, exercise is a great way to stay healthy, feel well and keep blood sugar levels in check. Of course, low-impact and less strenuous activities are generally recommended for pregnant women.

Living Without Limits, Winter 2012

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