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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Diabetes And Pregnancy

By Owen Jones

Despite the fact that pregnancy is a totally natural and normal process for women, there is no doubt that it imposes both mental and physical stresses and strains on the person involved.

Expectant mothers worry about whether the baby is well and whether they are doing all they could to give their baby every opportunity to do well.

This is normal for normal, healthy women, so how much more worrying and how much more difficult must pregnancy be for diabetic women? Firstly, the diabetic mother-to-be has to ensure that she is 'normal' and then worry like any 'normal' mother. This could add up to lots of extra pressure.

Nutrition, so diet, and exercise are the real keys to success here. I do not mean dieting to lose weight either. During pregnancy is not the ideal time to try to lose weight!

Rather, the pregnant diabetic has to eat sensibly and follow all the GP's advice on what to eat in order to encourage the right development of the baby.

Most people talk of two types of diabetes: Type I or juvenile diabetes and Type II or on-set diabetes in those who get it later in life. However, there is a third, which just pregnant women can develop.

It most frequently manifests itself in the last third of the pregnancy and is not at all uncommon. In fact, The USA is the only major country that calls it a disease.

It is known as gestational diabetes and some medical professionals think that it is a fairly normal part of pregnancy, although it can be exaggerated in some women. About 3%-10% of pregnant women get gestational diabetes, depending on the population being monitored.

It can be easily treated in most cases, but must be treated, because it can affect the baby and may have longer term complications for the woman. Normally, the indications of diabetes disappear after giving birth. It may however lead to type II diabetes if not taken care of.

Pregnancy for women who were diabetic before they became pregnant may be more difficult and ought to be monitored more closely because of the constant state of flux of hormones that pregnancy causes. Insulin is also a hormone, obviously.

This does not mean that there will be problems, just that it is safer to be more cautious than usual. If the pregnancy was unexpected, there is nothing to be done, but being cautious, but if a pregnancy is planned, then the woman ought to get her body in the best possible shape before attempting to conceive.

This means normalizing your weight and blood and being comfortable with the techniques that a diabetic has to get used to. If you are comfortable with your predicament, you will have that much less to worry about when pregnant.

It might be a problem for a non-professional to know whether a diabetic woman is ready to take on a pregnancy, so a visit to a GP is advisable.

There are risks for diabetic women who become pregnant. The worst of these worries are: diabetic retinopathy, hypertension, kidney disease, autonomic neuropathy or nerve damage to the internal organs, and cardiovascular diseases.

The risks can be reduced by frequent self-monitoring; medication; exercise and diet.

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