Diabetes Risks During Pregnancy

Diabetes is a condition which is often detected in women during the childbearing years and can have a profound effect upon the health of both the mother and the unborn baby. When diabetes is out-of-control in a pregnant woman there is an increase in the chances for birth defects and other problems for the baby, as well as difficulties and complications for the mother.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to convert the sugars and starches it takes in as food into energy. The pancreas either produces too little insulin or it is unable to utilize the insulin it does make in order to convert the sugars and starches into energy. The result is the collection of the surplus sugar in the blood and the release of some of the sugar through the urine. The extra sugar in the blood system causes damage to organs such as the heart, eyes and kidneys, if it remains in the body too long.

Are All Forms Of Diabetes The Same?

The three most common types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. A person with Type 1 diabetes suffers with a pancreas that makes so little insulin that the body is unable to use blood sugar for energy. This type of diabetes requires daily insulin shots to control. Type 2 diabetes is either the low production of insulin or the inability of the body to use the insulin it does make to convert blood sugar to energy. This type of diabetes is controlled through proper diet and regular exercise. Some people with this type of diabetes take pills or injections. A pregnant woman who has never had diabetes may contract it while she is pregnant and this is called gestational diabetes. Proper diet, exercise and sometimes injections are used to control this type of diabetes which often disappears after the birth of the baby.

Many Physical Conditions Come Along With Diabetes

People with diabetes are susceptible to high blood pressure, kidney disease, nerve damage, heart disease and blindness. This type of damage usually happens in people whose blood sugar has been out of control for years. Also, if the blood sugar is too high a diabetic coma may occur. Hypoglycemia, a case where the blood sugar is too low, can be dangerous as well. Both of these conditions, diabetic coma and hypoglycaemia, can be fatal. Controlling diabetes can help prevent damage or death.

What Happens When A Pregnant Woman Has Out-Of-Control Diabetes

If a pregnant woman with diabetes does not control the disease she may get some of the problems associated with diabetes, or those problems may become worse if she already has them. Diabetes that is out-of-control could lead to miscarriage or stillbirth of her baby. High blood pressure during pregnancy may cause an early birth, seizures or a stroke in the mother during labor and delivery. A woman may also produce too much amniotic fluid which also may lead to a premature birth. One of the common effects of out-of-control diabetes in a pregnant woman is that her baby grows too large or is born with birth defects.

Diabetes can be controlled. A woman who is pregnant and who has diabetes does herself and her baby a great service by getting control of the disease prior to, and during, pregnancy.

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