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Diabetes is a cause for concern for anyone, but women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, need to be extra careful to avoid high blood sugar. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can prevent health issues during pregnancy and even after birth. If you practiced a healthy lifestyle and did not have diabetes before your pregnancy, you probably haven’t thought too much about the possibility of diabetes during pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women develop diabetes during pregnancy as a result of the changes in their bodies’ hormones. In fact, diabetes affects roughly 10-18% of all pregnancies.

Women with a history of diabetes should monitor their glucose levels and keep their blood sugar low during pregnancy. High blood sugar can have adverse effects on you and your baby. If you are diabetic and are planning your pregnancy, visit Dr. Ayalon to check and see how to prepare your body, keep blood sugar low, and to come up with a way to monitor your glucose levels. We will help you create a plan for a healthier diet, a proper exercise regimen, and can prescribe medication if necessary. Women with diabetes before pregnancy have a higher chance of preterm birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects to the baby’s brain, spine, and heart. Because of these serious health risks, if you have a history of diabetes, you will need to visit Dr. Ayalon more often than women who do not.

Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and usually goes away after birth. The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not certain, but it is most likely the effect of hormones produced by the placenta. While the placenta supports your baby as it grows, the hormones produced can sometimes block insulin which is needed to convert glucose into energy. When glucose builds up, hyperglycemia occurs. Women who develop gestational diabetes will not see birth defects in their baby, as gestational diabetes occurs after the baby has fully formed. However, diabetes in pregnancy can still lead to a heavier baby and serious health problems.

When you have diabetes during pregnancy, extra insulin produced by your body will not decrease your glucose levels, and your high glucose blood will transfer to the baby. The baby’s pancreas will produce extra insulin to get rid of the glucose, but because the baby is receiving more glucose than it can use to grow or turn into energy, most of it will be stored as fat.

Larger babies are known to have more problems during birth. Their size can make delivery more of a strain on them, even damaging their shoulders. High levels of insulin can also cause them to be born with extremely low blood sugar, putting them at risk for breathing problems. In general, babies born with high insulin levels have a higher chance of becoming obese as children and developing type II diabetes as adults.

It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels during pregnancy to ensure your baby is born healthy with minimal complications. Remember that even if you are eating more because you are pregnant, it is important to make the right choices in food for you and your baby. If you develop gestational diabetes, you should also have your glucose levels checked after delivery and at least once every year afterwards, since women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop Type II diabetes later on. Visit Dr. Ayalon today to talk about the effects of diabetes during pregnancy and see what you can do to prepare your body to deliver a healthy baby.

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