Managing Diabetes and your pregnancy

We share tips on how to take care of yourself when you are Diabetic and expecting a child. Find out about the effects uncontrolled Diabetes could have on you and your baby.

Prenatal tips for diabetic mothers.

How to take care of yourself and your baby during your pregnancy.

It’s understandable for you to feel overwhelmed by the thought of pregnancy when you’re Diabetic. Being Diabetic doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a healthy pregnancy, or the excitement that comes along with your parenting journey.

Plan ahead as far as possible

The best time to prepare for your pregnancy is once you’ve decided that you’re ready for a baby. Because pregnancy changes your body, you might have to make a few changes to the way that you manage your Diabetic lifestyle – from your diet and physical activity to your medication – in order to ensure that your blood glucose levels remain under control.

High glucose levels can be harmful to your baby during the first few weeks of your pregnancy.

It is important to get your blood glucose levels under control before conceiving.

If you’re already pregnant, simply speak to your doctor or get a supportive healthcare team. Your doctor will be able to assist you in coming up with a plan for taking care of yourself and your baby during this special time.

Have a good healthcare team

Having good healthcare professionals who really understand the Diabetic lifestyle will make it easier for you to manage your Diabetes and your pregnancy. There are a few tests that your doctor might advise you to have in order to prevent certain problems or catch them early on in your pregnancy. These could include:

  • Urinalysis to check for kidney problems.
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests.
  • Eye exam to see if you have glaucoma, cataracts, or retinopathy.
  • Electrocardiogram.
  • Blood work to make sure your kidneys and liver are working.
  • Foot exam.

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Have a healthy eating plan

Making the right changes to your diet during your pregnancy will help ensure that your blood glucose levels and your weight are kept under control. It would be best to speak to your dietician to learn when you need to eat, how much you need to eat, and how to maintain a healthy weight. Be prepared to have to visit your dietician every few months during your pregnancy, so that you can make sure your diet plans remain intact, giving you and your baby all the right nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Handling morning sickness

If you’re taking Insulin but struggling to keep your food down, you’re not alone. Your doctor and dietician should be able to help you identify what changes you need to make to your diet or lifestyle to help you cope with morning sickness. These may include:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (little and often instead of large amounts at once), to prevent vomiting.
  • Eat small, frequent meals high in carbohydrates and low in fat.
  • Avoid foods and smells that might make you feel ill.

Sources:

Best Health Magazine Canada. n.d. [online] Available at: <http://www.besthealthmag.ca/> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

Freestylediabetes.co.uk. n.d. Freestyle Glucose Meters | Official Freestyle Diabetes UK Website. [online] Available at: <https://freestyleDiabetes.co.uk> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

WebMD. 2019. Diabetes And Pregnancy. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/pregnancy-diabetes-and-pregnancy#1> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

We all have questions.

Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.

Which is worse – Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

“Worse” is a harsh comparison. The difference between these two types of Diabetes is that Type 1 requires insulin, and it never goes away. Type 2 requires consistent effort and can be managed over your lifetime.

What is the normal HbA1C level?

It is generally accepted that you should maintain HbA1C below 8%. The following guidelines are suggested by the South African Diabetes Association:

 

  • 4 – 6% Non-Diabetic range. 
  • < 7% Well-controlled Diabetic 7% – 8% Acceptable Diabetic control > 8% 
  • Poor Diabetic control needs attention.

What is the main cause of Diabetes?

Diabetes (Type 1) is usually a predisposed or genetically inherited condition. Diabetes (Type 2) is caused by lifestyle choices. Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant mothers.

What are the first signs of Diabetes?

  • Excessive thirst over a prolonged period.
  • Increased frequency in the need to urinate.
  • Significant weight loss or gain.
  • You find yourself fatigued, tired, and irritable, on a regular basis.
  • Open or ruptured wounds take a long time to heal.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Tingling sensations in your hands and feet.

Can you get life insurance if you have Diabetes?

Yes. AllLife can help you get up to R10million life insurance, when you are a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic.

Can I test myself for Diabetes?

Although you can easily test your own blood glucose levels at any time, only your doctor, nurse, or clinic team can confirm your diagnosis as Diabetic. A series of specific tests are required for diagnosis.

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