American Diabetes Month Brought to you by CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (November 4, 2013) – Diabetes and pregnancy: Did you know that nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes? Every November, the American Diabetes Association holds American Diabetes Month® in an effort to spread awareness about the disease, its impact, and how it can be prevented.

In recognition of this endeavor, CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center would like to provide information about gestational diabetes and what it means for you and your baby.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs in women who haven't had diabetes before, but develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The condition develops when a woman can’t make enough insulin, which helps convert sugar into energy. When there’s not enough insulin, blood sugar rises and can cause health problems for mother and baby.

Untreated gestational diabetes may lead to high blood pressure in the mother — or most commonly, cause a very large baby. The larger size can cause injury to the baby during delivery or could require preterm or cesarean delivery, or both. In addition, babies born to mothers with uncontrolled gestational diabetes are at greater risk for birth defects and other complications, as well as obesity and diabetes later in life.

The good news is that the condition is treatable and most often goes away once the baby is born, though it’s likely to return in future pregnancies. Most women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and babies when they control their blood sugar properly.

Steps to a healthy pregnancy

Prior to becoming pregnant, prepare your body for pregnancy by practicing healthy lifestyle and dietary habits. Talk to your doctor about gestational diabetes and your risk level. If you learn you have gestational diabetes, the health care professionals at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center suggest you work closely with your health care team and:

  • Check your blood sugar often. Talk to your doctor about what your blood sugar numbers should be, and understand how and when to measure levels. During pregnancy, blood sugar can change quickly, so it’s important to check often.
  • Follow your meal plan. Adhere to the healthy meal plan that the dietitian or diabetes educator designed for you. They can help you learn how to control your blood sugar through your diet.
  • Be physically active. Exercise helps keep blood sugar under control by balancing food intake. Talk to your doctor about what’s appropriate for you and exercise regularly.
  • Take insulin, if needed. If your doctor decides you need to take insulin, take it as directed. If medications are prescribed, follow directions and take them on time.
  • Get tested after delivery. Get tested for diabetes six to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every one to three years.

If you develop gestational diabetes, be sure to work closely with your health care team to manage your condition and protect the health of you and your baby. By keeping your blood sugar in control, you’ll be protecting your own health and the health of your baby.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services. 

About CuddleBugs

CuddleBugs is a free program designed to provide answers to new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery – including guidance for newborn care. For more information about CuddleBugs, visit www.CuddleBugsBaby.com.

Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.

Sources:

American Diabetes Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases