Doctors have known for years that diabetes can complicate pregnancy, labor and delivery. Now, new research has shown that mothers with diabetes prior to pregnancy are more likely to have Cesarean section (C-section) deliveries than women without diabetes.
But there’s good news, too. Research shows that women who keep their weight and blood sugar under control before becoming pregnant can reduce their risks of complications and give birth to healthy babies of normal size.
Diabetes and Pre-pregnancy
Key organs begin to develop in the fetus during the first several weeks of pregnancy — often before a woman even realizes that she is pregnant. To minimize the risks of birth defects and miscarriage, both of which are associated with poorly controlled blood glucose, women with diabetes need special care even before they conceive. It is essential for women with diabetes who hope to have a baby to get their blood glucose levels under strict and consistent control. Careful and regular monitoring of blood glucose, following a healthy eating plan, getting adequate exercise and maintaining any necessary medication regimens are critical steps.
Weight and Pre-pregnancy
It’s also advisable for women who are overweight to lose weight before becoming pregnant. Overweight and obese women, even without diabetes, risk having longer periods of labor, developing very large babies, and requiring C-sections to deliver their babies. For diabetic women who are also overweight, these risks are even higher.
Weight and Pregnancy
If you become pregnant while overweight, you shouldn’t try to lose weight during your pregnancy, but you should be extra careful about weight gain. While weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds is healthy for a woman of normal weight, women who are overweight before becoming pregnant are advised to keep their weight gain in the range of 15 to 25 pounds.