7 tips for women with diabetes

If a woman with diabetes keeps her blood sugar well controlled before and during pregnancy, she can reduce the chance of having a baby with birth defects. Controlling blood sugar also reduces the chance that a woman will develop common problems of diabetes, or that the problems will get worse during pregnancy.

Steps women can take before and during pregnancy to help prevent problems:

1. Plan for Pregnancy
Before getting pregnant, see your doctor. The doctor needs to look at the effects that diabetes has had on your body already, talk with you about getting and keeping control of your blood sugar, change medications if needed, and plan for frequent follow-up. If you are overweight, the doctor might recommend that you try to lose weight before getting pregnant as part of the plan to get your blood sugar in control.

2. See Your Doctor Early and Often
During pregnancy, a woman with diabetes needs to see the doctor more often than a pregnant woman without diabetes. Together, you and your doctor can work to prevent or catch problems early.

Also read: Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and pregnancy

3. Eat Healthy Foods
Eat healthy foods from a meal plan made for a person with diabetes. A dietitian can help you create a healthy meal plan. A dietitian can also help you learn how to control your blood sugar while you are pregnant.

4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is another way to keep blood sugar under control. It helps to balance food intake. After checking with your doctor, you can exercise regularly before, during, and after pregnancy. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. This could be brisk walking, swimming, or actively playing with children.

5. Take Pills and Insulin As Directed
If diabetes pills or insulin are ordered by your doctor, take it as directed in order to help keep your blood sugar under control.

6. Control and Treat Low Blood Sugar Quickly
Keeping blood sugar well controlled can lead to a chance of low blood sugar at times. If you are taking diabetes pills or insulin, it’s helpful to have a source of quick sugar, such as hard candy, glucose tablets or gel, on hand at all times. It’s also good to teach family members and close co-workers or friends how to help in case of a severe low blood sugar reaction.

7. Monitor Blood Sugar Often
Because pregnancy causes the body’s need for energy to change, blood sugar levels can change very quickly. You need to check your blood sugar often, as directed by your doctor. It is important to learn how to adjust food intake, exercise, and insulin, depending on the results of your blood sugar tests.

Source: www.cdc.gov
Image: Flickr Creativecommons Amrufm