LADIES, are you pregnant now and diabetic? Or are you diabetic and now, pregnant? Whatever, your condition is called “gestational diabetes,” a type of diabetes that only pregnant women get. It occurs in 2-5% of all pregnancies. It is more simply defined as “diabetes that begins or first becomes apparent during pregnancy.”
Gestational diabetes is more common among women of the following ethnic origins - native North Americans, Pacific islanders and women of Mexican, Indian and Asian descent, and more so, among overweight and obese women.
Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially with strict monitoring of their blood sugar, eating a healthy diet and maintaining an ideal weight.
In some cases, though, there are potential risks especially on the baby which include macrosomia, in which the newborn is larger than normal, with the possibility of injury while passing thru the birth canal, plus the danger of cardiovascular events on the part of the mother with all those forceful straining just to expel the baby, thus, a caesarian section might be the alternative safer method of delivery. Or else, hypoglycemia – low blood sugar - of the newborn, thus breastfeeding is immediately encouraged to get more glucose into the baby’s circulatory system. If that were not possible, the baby may get glucose through a thin plastic tube in his/her arm directly into the bloodstream.
In some cases, the baby born to a diabetic mother may have yellowing of the skin, and the white of the eyeball, called jaundice, which might require phototherapy - a procedure in which the entire body of the baby is exposed to fluorescent lamps to slowly remove the yellowish discoloration of the skin.. Moreover, electrolytes like magnesium and calcium levels could drop significantly right after birth resulting to spasms in the hands and feet, twitching or cramping muscles of the newborn. Of course, a more serious complication is respiratory distress syndrome, in which the baby may have severe difficulty in breathing, thus requiring oxygen inhalation and other breathing aids.
Diabetes also increases a pregnant woman’s risk for infections, which could pose therapeutic concerns. Experts say that because of the abundance of excess sugar in the blood of the pregnant, diabetic woman, these glucose provide ample source of food for microbes. Fungal infection particularly Candidiasis or Moniliasis of the vagina and at times even the cervix. As a rule, only iron supplements, folic acid and iodine are safe in the first three months of pregnancy. There are very limited number of antibiotics which is safe, especially for the developing fetus, if the mother should need antimicrobial therapy.
For some quirky metabolic reason, a diabetic patient is, in all likelihood, also has high blood pressure, the condition is called pre-eclampsia. In the course of pregnancy, especially during the last few days up to the time of delivery, if convulsion occurs, then it is now called eclampsia.