Diabetes Awareness Month: Can diabetes affect your pregnancy? Yes it can.


November marks Diabetes Awareness Month, so I want to shed light on the prevalence of diabetes among pregnant women and how it can affect their pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 30.3 million Americans currently live with diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. 30.2 million are 18 years old or older. That is a surprising number. This means that 12.2% of adults in the United States live with diabetes today. You may have had diabetes before becoming pregnant or have developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy. If you had it before or during pregnancy, it can affect your baby.

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes that occurs when your body can not control its blood sugar level. Although many women with type 2 diabetes develop it after having children, some develop it before they finish giving birth. If you are one of these Americans who has diabetes, be sure to talk with your health care provider to make sure your blood sugar levels are in good control before your pregnancy

Did you know, according to US News and World Report, an estimate of 18 Percent of women during their pregnancy are diagnosed with gestational diabetes? That's almost one in five women! This type of diabetes is caused by a change in the way a woman's body responds to the hormone insulin during pregnancy and is usually diagnosed in the last three months of a woman's pregnancy. According to Healthy Mom & Baby, this change produces "higher levels of blood sugar than normal in the bloodstream."

Healthy Mom & Baby provides an easy-to-read chart that shows the effects of diabetes on your pregnancy:

Many times Do not think about considering diagnosing diabetes during pregnancy. The good news is that you can take simple steps in your daily life to reduce the risk of having gestational diabetes. It can help prevent diabetes by avoiding unhealthy habits that increase insulin resistance in your body, such as smoking, being overweight or obese, eating an unhealthy diet and avoiding exercise.

If you are currently overweight or obese, it is useful to start changing your eating habits to eat healthier foods and help you lose weight. To improve your diet, it helps reduce the intake of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. Those foods put people at risk on the fast track to developing diabetes. In addition, according to Diabetologia, 30 minutes a day exercise reduces your risk of diabetes by 25 percent, and walking for 10 minutes after meals lowers your blood sugar by 22 percent. I encourage you to work with your nurses to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that will keep you on track to avoid diabetes during pregnancy and throughout your life.

For more information, go to health4mom.org .

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