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Type-2 Diabetes and Pregnancy: Risks and Potential Complications

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The American Diabetes Association (ADA), type-2 diabetes is way more common than its type 1 counterpart. In fact, the body of an individual with type-2 diabetes becomes insulin resistant. In other words, the body is unable to correctly utilize insulin.

Since there is not enough production of insulin in the pancreas of a diabetic individual, the blood sugar levels keep rising. Some people are able to manage their blood sugar levels by switching to a healthy lifestyle and making some diet amendments. However, others may require proper medication or insulin through external sources, i.e. injecting insulin into their body in order to improve their health.

There have been cases wherein pregnant women had type-2 diabetes. Well, the important point here is that you can have a healthy pregnancy even if you are diabetic, but there are some things that you must take into consideration to ensure that both your baby and you are healthy.

Before pregnancy

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In case you are planning on getting pregnant soon, you must consider getting in touch with your endocrinologist and OB-GYN too. While you discuss your health, be honest throughout about the following:

  • If you need to control your blood sugar levels
  • If there could be a likelihood of diabetes-related complications like kidney disease, neuropathy, or eye disease
  • Your present health condition along with the medical history
  • How exactly you maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • A thorough review of your complete diabetes medications to verify if they are safe during pregnancy

If you have an honest discussion with both your doctors regarding your current diabetes status and how it’s going to affect your pregnancy, then the right time for you to get pregnant can be finalized, considering all potential complications (if any).

Medications and pregnancy

As discussed above, some individuals with type-2 diabetes are able to manage their blood sugar levels with a healthy diet and light exercise routine. However, others have to take proper medications in order to control and maintain their blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you’re one of the latter individuals, you must talk with your doctor to check whether you are still allowed to take them during pregnancy.

In case you don’t know, there are many current medications for diabetes that have not been established to be safe during pregnancy. Therefore, you might need to switch to insulin injections instead.

Risks and complications linked to pregnancy with type 2 diabetes

In case you have uncontrolled type-2 diabetes, it can anytime lead to certain unnecessary complications during pregnancy. The following are some of these complications:

  • High blood pressure, which can cause some serious effects on your baby as well as on you, such as causing a stroke or even blood clots in you.
  • Miscarriage, as women with diabetes (type 1 or type 2, does not matter) are at significantly higher risk of stillbirth or miscarriage.
  • Cesarean or C-section delivery
  • Increased amniotic fluid in the uterus

In the meantime, it’s important that you see your doctor frequently to monitor your and your baby’s health.

Potential risks for babies

In case you’re pregnant and your blood sugar levels are not well-controlled, the developing fetus can be significantly affected. The following are some of the risks:

  • Birth defects.

Your body starts forming your baby’s organs way before you get to know you’re pregnant. In case you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels when you conceive, chances are that your baby can have birth defects in his/her heart, spine, and brain.

  • A large baby

High blood sugar levels during your pregnancy can lead to the baby being overfed, which during the delivery can further increase the risk of shoulder injuries and the likelihood of C-section or cesarean delivery.

  • Premature birth

According to a study, women with diabetes (type 1 or type 2, doesn’t matter) are likely to give birth earlier than women with no such disease. Now, if a baby is born earlier than expected, there is a high possibility that the baby has health issues.

Conclusion!

In a nutshell, if you are type-2 diabetic and are planning on getting pregnant soon, you must talk with your endocrinologist and OB-GYN. During your conversation, be upfront about your current health and blood sugar levels and how it can affect your overall health.

 

Therefore, it is important that you get your type-2 diabetes controlled before you get pregnant

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