Having a baby can be nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. On top of the many factors you have to take into consideration during a pregnancy, if you have diabetes, there are some more steps you may need to take to ensure your baby is healthy.

Make sure your blood glucose levels are near your target range. Especially in the first few weeks, maintaining your glucose levels is important because high amounts of blood sugar can be harmful to your baby. Your target range may also be different during pregnancy, so meet with your doctor to get a more accurate idea of how to manage your diabetes while pregnant. Doctors suggest being in your target range even before pregnancy (if possible).

Switch to insulin injections if you are currently taking diabetes pills. Depending on what your doctor says, you may have to receive injections rather than take diabetes pills. Although it is not yet clear whether or not the pills are safe to use during pregnancy, insulin injections also regulate blood glucose levels without going through the placenta.

Get plenty of exercise in a safe, healthy way. You can sign up for a prenatal exercise class, go for a walk around the neighborhood or swim. Do not overwork yourself with intense workouts, and do not exercise in ways that are dangerous to the baby, such as putting pressure on the abdomen. Doing light workouts after eating can help maintain healthy blood glucose levels as well as alleviate aches and cramps.

Swimming is a good exercise for pregnant women, as it helps you stay in shape. It is a low impact activity and relieves pressure on your back and legs. Swimming is particularly recommended for women in their third trimester.

Check your blood glucose levels more often than you did before. If you never needed to check, start checking. Your doctor may tell you specifically how many times a day and when to test your levels, so start making it a habit.

Look out for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is different from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as it develops in a pregnant woman who did not have diabetes prior to pregnancy. Doctors usually test for it from 24 to 28 weeks. Gestational diabetes can be maintained through healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Some women may need to take insulin.

Author: Julie Kang
juliekang99@gmail.com

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