Diabetes and pregnancy

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Being diabetic and pregnant, or developing the disease during pregnancy puts an added stress on your body, leading to a higher risk of complications. To reduce these risks, it's important to keep blood sugar levels under control. Sometimes, the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can trigger a form of diabetes in women with no prior history of the disease. This is called gestational (ges-TAY-shun-ul) diabetes. While relatively rare, gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in women who are overweight, above age 35, or who've had large or stillborn infants. The condition can be detected with a simple glucose tolerance test, in which blood sugar is measured after drinking a sweet solution. If you're diabetic, a doctor may recommend dietary changes, frequent blood sugar monitoring, and medication. Though both types of diabetes pose a potential threat to you and your child, pre-existing diabetes is far more dangerous. Complications may range from birth defects, to pre-term labor, stillbirth, the need for a cesarean delivery, an increase in your blood pressure, or very low blood sugar in your baby. If the situation becomes threatening, doctors may schedule an early delivery. Gestational diabetes usually fades about a month and a half after the baby's born. However, a small percentage of women may remain diabetic. For more information on diabetes and pregnancy, speak to a health care professional.

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