Posts Tagged ‘glucose’

Diabetes during pregnancy: a risk factor premature birth

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Diabetes is a serious health concern, especially when left untreated. About 9 out of 100 women in the U.S. have diabetes – a condition in which your body has too much sugar (called glucose) in the blood. You can develop diabetes at any time in your life.

Seven out of every 100 pregnant women (7 percent) develop diabetes during pregnancy, also called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth. But if you have it in one pregnancy, you’re more likely to have it in your next pregnancy. You’re also more likely to develop diabetes later in life.

Having diabetes or gestational diabetes can cause you to go into preterm labor, before 37 weeks gestation. Babies born this early can face serious health problems including long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Are you at risk?

You may be more likely than other women to develop gestational diabetes if:

  • You’re older than 25.
  • You’re overweight or you gained a lot of weight during pregnancy.
  • You have a family history of diabetes. This means that one or more of your family members has diabetes.
  • You’re African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Islander. These ethnic groups are more likely to have gestational diabetes than other groups.
  • You had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • In your last pregnancy, you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 1/2 pounds or was stillborn.

You can develop gestational diabetes even if you don’t have any of these risk factors. This is why your health care provider tests you for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

How do you know if you have gestational diabetes?

If you’re pregnant, you will get a glucose tolerance test at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, or earlier if your provider thinks you’re likely to develop gestational diabetes. You may have heard of other pregnant women having to drink an 8oz cup of a thick syrupy drink – this is part of the glucose tolerance test, along with measuring your blood glucose levels.

What else can you do?

If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your health care provider. Getting diabetes under control could help prevent preterm labor and premature birth. Being active, eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and losing weight may help reduce your chances of developing diabetes later in life.

Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.  And, as always, visit your health care provider before and during pregnancy.

Have questions? Text or email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

What are hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Foods we eat are broken down to glucose (blood sugar), which is the body’s main source of energy. Extra glucose is stored in the liver and is released into the blood stream as needed. Insulin is a hormone that helps our cells use energy from glucose.

Hypoglycemia (also called low blood glucose) is when blood glucose levels are too low. When blood glucose levels are low, your body can’t get the energy it needs.

Hyperglycemia (also called high blood glucose) is when your body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use insulin correctly. Both of these conditions are common in women with preexisting diabetes.

Hypoglycemia is usually mild and easily treated by eating or drinking something with sugar in it. If it’s not treated, it can cause confusion and severe lightheadedness and you might pass out. Hypoglycemia can be caused by:
• Not eating enough. This may mean you’ve been eating meals or snacks that are too small, or skipping or delaying meals or snacks.
• Taking too much insulin
• Getting too much physical activity

If you have hyperglycemia, you may need to change the amount of insulin you take, your meal plan or the amount of physical activity you get. Signs that you may have hyperglycemia include if you:
• Need to go to urinate often
• Are thirsty
• Lose weight suddenly

Hyperglycemia can be caused by:
• Problems with the amount of food you eat and diabetes medicine you take
• Eating the wrong kinds of foods or more food than usual
• Being less active than usual
• Having an illness
• Stress

If you have diabetes, it is important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia. If hyperglycemia is left untreated, it may develop into a more serious problem. You can read more about it at this link.

Your health care provider can monitor you for both of these conditions during pregnancy to make sure you and your baby stay healthy.

Diabetes Awareness Day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

One third of women with diabetes don’t know they have it – that’s one out of every three women with diabetes, a lot!  Today is Diabetes Awareness Day.  We’ve posted on the importance of getting diabetes under control before you conceive and keeping it under control during pregnancy, but today is a good opportunity to mention it again.

This is really important ladies.  If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects of the brain or spine, heart defects, cleft lip or palate, kidney problems, etc. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to high blood pressure in the mom, a baby that is too large or born prematurely, a cesarean delivery or other life-threatening situations.

Pre-existing diabetes may also increase the risk of miscarriage and poorly controlled diabetes later in pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth.

But don’t panic, because paying attention now has excellent benefits.  Most of these women can look forward to having a healthy baby. While diabetes poses some risks in pregnancy, advances in care have greatly improved the outlook for these pregnancies. So make sure you get your preconception checkup, fine tune any issues and be as healthy as possible before you conceive.