Eye health, blood pressure, glucose levels need extra attention.
November 16, 2009
All women go through changes in their bodies during pregnancy - they need more rest and nutrients, and hormone levels can ebb and flow - but women with diabetes have special concerns and need to see a variety of doctors more often than women without diabetes. Some changes will return to normal after delivery, but some will need lifelong monitoring.
Here are some things to watch for:
Damage to the small blood vessels in your eyes can progress during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. An eye specialist can monitor changes.
Pregnancy may actually bring on diabetes and start lifelong complications. Gestational diabetes - diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy -usually goes away after delivery but it can have effects down the road. Once you've had gestational diabetes, your chances are 2-in-3 that it will return in future pregnancies. Also, many women who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later, according to the American Diabetes Association.
When youre pregnant, you have a higher risk of low blood glucose or hypoglycemia. When levels are too low, your body cant get the energy it needs. You can usually treat it with a carbohydrate snack, but if you dont treat it, you could pass out. Your health care team can teach your friends and family how to inject you with glucagon, a hormone that raises blood glucose levels instantly, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Changes to blood sugar levels can often change quickly during pregnancy. Out-of-control blood sugar can lead to high blood pressure, which can put a woman at risk for further complications, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
During the last three months of pregnancy, hormones made by the placenta to help the baby grow can block insulins effectiveness. So you may need much more insulin than usual at that point, advises the Mayo Clinic.