15 November, 2021
In the era of the fast moving world, if you plan to conceive with diabetes and have a baby, you should get your blood glucose levels within the recommended target levels to have a safe and uneventful delivery. The target blood glucose levels are different for adult women that are non-pregnant, and pregnant individuals. Uncontrolled blood sugars can harm the mother and baby from the first week of pregnancy or sometimes prior to conceiving as well.
The hormonal and other changes in your body during pregnancy can cause your blood glucose level to fluctuate and you may need to visit a doctor regularly to manage your diabetes.
If an individual woman is tested for diabetes and gets conceived, then they will have to change their diet plans, regular medications and adapt to regular physical activities.
Once the woman is detected to have gestational diabetes, they have to switch over from oral medications to insulin as insulin does not cross the placenta and is safe for babies in the womb. As the due date nears, insulin management plans may change as per the blood sugar levels in the third trimester.
Few of diabetes oral medications are not safe during pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, you should stop taking them and consult your doctor at the earliest. Mention these medications and issues such as blood pressure, cholesterol medications, anti-epilepsy and thyroid medications to your doctor. The current medications will be changed which are safer during the course of pregnancy.
Insulin is prescribed for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. Short-acting, interned acting are usually used during pregnancy. As the pregnancy continues, the insulin needs will increase over the weeks till the end of pregnancy. Doctors will regulate the doses in your regular visits and follow-ups. Post-delivery insulin will be discontinued and regular monitoring of blood sugars is advised.
Do you need to be physically active during pregnancy?
Yes, let physical activity be part of life even before a woman plans to conceive. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity is recommended every day. Once you’re pregnant, you need to discuss with your doctor about the safest kinds of physical activity such as yoga and aerobic exercises during the first trimester and for the later part of pregnancy.
How often should you check your blood sugar levels while pregnant?
As the pregnancy progresses over weeks, blood glucose levels and targets will change.
Blood sugar levels need to be checked and documented, and shared with your doctor on a regular basis. Glucometers to check blood sugar levels at home are recommended. Safe insulin pen use and its technique to use them should be discussed with your doctor during regular visits.
What are the recommended blood glucose levels during pregnancy?
Recommended daily target blood glucose numbers for most pregnant women with diabetes are:
- Before meals, at bedtime, and overnight: 90 or less
- 1 hour after eating: 130 to 140 or less
- 2 hours after eating: 120 or less
- Hba1c ideally target is below 6.5%
Should pregnant women take the COVID-19 vaccine?
Pregnancy per se will not increase the risk of a COVID-19 infection. The health of pregnant women with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac conditions will be at high risk and will deteriorate rapidly and will affect the baby. Hence, ideally, you should be under your physician’s supervision. Current guidelines recommend vaccination during pregnancy and every pregnant woman should be vaccinated after discussing with your doctors.
Dr. Ambanna Gowda
Consultant Physician & Diabetologist
SPARSH Hospital, Bengaluru
Category: Women & Children