Managing Type 2 Diabetes During Pregnancy

Being a Type 2 diabetic in and of itself is a challenge, managing the disease while pregnant can be a daunting task. It CAN be done. You CAN have a healthy, normal weight baby but it is not going to happen by accident. I was terrified when I found out all the risks that could occur during a diabetic pregnancy. But I found that the situation was manageable and if I was willing to do the work, the results did follow. The result of course was my happy healthy baby.

KNOW THE FACTS:
First you need to know the facts. Do the research; get all the information you can from your physician and diabetic support team. The resource section of this article lists websites that will provide information as well.

The most basic factor you are dealing with is how your bloodsugar is impacting your baby This is the essential factor you will be managing. Your baby gets its nutrients from your blood via the umbilical cord. You baby does NOT receive your insulin, but will produce its own insulin via its own pancreas while it is in the womb. Because of this, if you are experiencing consistently high blood sugar, your baby’s pancreas is going to be producing high amounts of insulin to regulate that imbalance. Your baby will not develop properly and may experience such difficulties as a poorly developed heart, a disproportionately large head, or an abnormally high birth weight.

This is why it is CRUCIAL that you become more aware of your own blood sugar numbers than you ever have before. In order to be able to effectively do that you need to understand that your blood sugar is no longer simply impacted by your food intake and insulin dosage. The hormones that your body produces during pregnancy will dramatically impact your blood sugar readings. I found that the cornerstone of managing my diabetic pregnancy was measuring my blood sugar religiously, six times a day. Because the hormones in the body are vacillating throughout pregnancy, so are your blood sugar readings and insulin needs.

It is very likely that even if you have not been on insulin before your pregnancy, you will be during pregnancy. The reason for this is compound. First of all if you are taking oral medication, it goes into your bloodstream. The blood goes directly to your baby. However insulin, injected into your system, does NOT impact the baby. The other reason is that the extreme changes caused by hormones often require insulin.

Taking insulin is no big deal. You will need the careful assistance of a medical professional to make sure that your dosages are correct throughout the pregnancy, but after the first two weeks or so it becomes second nature. The pain is minimal, and the scare factor is mainly from horror stories you may have heard about people who have Type 1 diabetes.

HAVE A PLAN:
When it was just my diabetes and me I must admit, I was not always as attentive as I should have been. But once I became pregnant my doctor made it very clear that living in denial could be fatal. Pregnancy and Type 2 Diabetes are a very serious mix, and you absolutely cannot afford to go into this situation without a plan.

In addition to your OB/GYN specialist, ou should have a medical doctor or diabetic specialist assisting you with your nutrition, meal planning and insulin dosages

You must have a medical team that you know is going to support you. If you don’t have insurance, if your insurance isn’t providing what you need, this is not a time to be passive. Raise hell. Beg, steal, and borrow. Contact every support group and agency until you get the help you need.

There are two lives you are fighting for, yours and your baby. Keep that in mind with every choice you make. Don’t approach any choice about your health as if it were mundane or inconsequential. Everything you put in your mouth, every injection, every doctor’s appointment is vital.

This is extremely important when thinking about food intake. This is not a time for fad diets or for getting lax about your eating. You must follow the food plan that you and your health care provider have worked out. On the other hand if you find that the plan is not working for your body, be proactive, make adjustments, and let your doctor know.

Of course there will be an occasional event or situation when you will be eating out or changing your usual diet. In those situations make sure that you have assistance in adjusting your insulin dosage for that meal.

HAVE A SUPPORT GROUP.
This is going to be very hard work. When I was pregnant I had to inject myself with insulin 5 times a day, and measure my blood sugar 6 times a day. I called in my blood sugar readings two times a week to both my dietician and my OB/GYN, snd I had monthly appointments with both. I felt like my whole life had become a medical experiment of some kind.

While I was watching the other pregnant women eating vats of ice cream and growing fat as happy cows I was recording every carbohydrate consumed and carefully monitoring fat intake. Sometimes it got to be a little much to handle.

You are going need to blow off steam. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will be your spouse. He’s going to need his own support group just to live with you. Whether it is an online chat group, a church group, or a special friend or family member, be deliberate and plan ahead to make sure you have the resources you will need emotionally as well as physically.

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