5 Tips to Help Manage a Healthy Pregnancy if You Have Diabetes

5 Tips to Help Manage a Healthy Pregnancy if You Have Diabetes

Pregnancy is tough enough by itself, adding diabetes to the mix elevates the challenges to a whole other level. What do you need to know and do to maximize the chances of a healthy pregnancy when faced with managing diabetes? Here are 5 things you absolutely need to do to protect your own health and the health of your baby.

1. Have the right team in place

Pregnancies involving diabetes have an elevated danger of complications and require an experienced high-risk obstetrician. Statistics show pregnant mothers with diabetes may need up to three times as many appointments to help manage the various challenges. Check whether your endocrinologist can work closely with your ob-gyn to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The key is to have doctors around you who are experienced in both diabetes and obstetrics. You should also review your insurance carefully: those extra visits and specialized testing can really add up, make sure your coverage is up to speed.

2. Consider alternatives to oral medications

Common practice recommended by most doctors is for pregnant women with type 2 diabetes to discontinue oral meds. The reason: there is a current lack of research that confirms diabetes pills, such as Metformin, are safe to take during pregnancy. Safety trumps convenience, and insulin has been more carefully and thoroughly studied: it is currently a better choice to effectively manage your blood sugar during pregnancy.

Discuss with your doctor your options and alternatives for medications.

3. Find a way to quickly overcome morning sickness.

Insulin requires food in your system to work; if you are having trouble keeping food down because of morning sickness, that can be a problem. Simple foods may be the most simple solution. As soon as you wake up, eat some plain crackers, saltines, bread, English muffin... anything that is easy on your stomach, not likely to trigger nausea because of smell or taste, and somewhat filling. Eat before you even get out of bed if moving around is one of your morning sickness triggers.

Talk with your doctor about medications for extreme nausea, including Zofran, and review your options.

4. Successfully control your blood sugar.

This tip is brought to you by Captain Obvious, but it bears repeating: if you have diabetes, the key to a successful pregnancy is maintaining absolute control of your blood sugar. If it wasn't already, your blood glucose monitor is now your best friend. Test hourly, or more often if you feel the need. Don't wait until you begin to feel a blood sugar spike or dip, you want to have a precise handle on where your blood sugar is at all times.

5. Have an emergency carbs reserve in place

If you depend on insulin, you need to be ready for episodes of hypoglycemia, which can develop when your blood sugar level is too low. Maybe you took too much insulin, or maybe you didn't eat enough – be ready! Glucose tablets are the most common solution. You can also keep 100% juice boxes handy, a roll of candies, or anything else that can quickly and efficiently deliver a carb boost.

The pregnancy/diabetes combo is filled with added challenges, but they are manageable with a little extra care. Put in the time to make sure you understand what you need and have the right solutions available.