Living with Diabetes

Care During and After Pregnancy

During Pregnancy:

If you are pregnant and have Diabetes it is important that you keep your blood sugar levels as near normal as possible for the entire duration of your pregnancy. High blood sugar levels during pregnancy could prevent your baby from developing normally and can cause the baby to grow quickly and become overweight, especially in the last three months.  This can lead to problems for you during delivery with a heavier baby (greater chance of Caesarian section or forceps delivery).  It could also mean that your baby is more likely to be born prematurely or have problems controlling their blood sugar immediately after birth.

During pregnancy and especially in the early stages, it is not uncommon to experience drops in your blood sugar levels or hypos more frequently.  You may also find that the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia are different from usual.  It is important to be careful about driving, sleeping, or spending long periods of time alone.  If you are having frequent hypos, then it may be wise to stop driving altogether until you are around 16 weeks (or more) pregnant.

Blood Tests and Insulin Doses during Pregnancy:

You will be asked to test your blood sugar at least four times daily (before each meal and before bedtime) but extra tests may be necessary.  For good control the blood sugar should be kept between 4-6 mmol/L before meals.

To achieve this good control, you may need extra insulin injections and your overall insulin dose will increase. 

Delivery:

No matter how you deliver your baby, your doctors will be working during labor and delivery to keep your blood sugar level under control. At the start of active labor, your insulin needs will drop. You will most likely not need any insulin during labor and for 24 to 72 hours after delivery.

After Delivery:

With the baby's arrival, your focus turns to caring for your little one. But keep in mind that to take good care of your baby you need to take good care of yourself. Stick to your habits that helped you keep your blood sugar levels on target during pregnancy.
After your baby arrives, your body begins to recover from the hard work of pregnancy and delivery. During the first weeks at home with a baby, you are likely to be tired, stressed from lack of sleep, and off schedule and low blood sugar is a real danger. Therefore, it is important to check your blood sugar often during this time.

Breastfeeding:

There is no reason why women with Diabetes should not breastfeed.

Remember to consider the following while breastfeeding: