7 Tips for Moms-to-Be with Diabetes
Healthy pregnancies are possible whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But if blood sugar isn’t well controlled, it could lead to difficulties for you and your baby. The key to a healthy pregnancy is managing your diabetes.
Your prenatal care provider will want to see you often while you’re pregnant. This way you and your baby can be monitored closely to prevent problems. At your checkups, tests like ultrasounds and nonstress tests may be used to check the health of your baby.
Your healthcare provider will let you know how often you need to check your blood sugar and how to manage your diabetes during pregnancy. Remember, pregnancy can affect your blood sugar — so what worked before pregnancy may not work now.
As you prepare to be a new mom, here are some helpful tips you can follow to manage your diabetes during pregnancy.
1. Go to every checkup
Even if you feel great, go to every prenatal care checkup. Keeping up with these checkups and other appointments with your healthcare team is important. Remember, you’re the most important part of your care team — you’ve got to show up.
2. Know Your new target blood sugar levels
Your doctor can give you personalized blood sugar levels to aim for. However, the recommended target numbers for most pregnant women who have diabetes are [i]:
- 90 or less before meals and overnight
- 130-140 or less an hour after you eat
- 120 or less two hours after you eat
Talk to your healthcare provider about what target blood sugar levels are right for your pregnancy.
3. Consider working with a dietician
Eating healthy foods will be an important part of managing blood sugar during pregnancy. If you don’t have a dietitian, consider getting one. A good dietitian can help you come up with a healthy meal plan. They’ll also help you learn more about how to control blood sugar levels while pregnant. Your dietitian can also guide you in determining the right amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly is another important part of managing diabetes during pregnancy. It’ll help balance your food intake. Check with your doctor to make sure exercise is safe for you. If so, aim for 30 minutes of physical activity five days each week. Swimming and brisk walking are both excellent ideas.
5. Quickly deal with low blood sugar
As you work hard to keep blood sugar levels managed during pregnancy, you may encounter low blood sugar at times. If you take insulin or diabetes medicines, it’s essential to have a source of fast sugar to quickly raise your blood sugar. Glucose tablets, glucose gel, and hard candy are great options. It’s also a good idea to teach close friends, co-workers and family members how to help you if you have a severe low blood sugar.
6. Check your blood sugar often
Blood sugar levels often change quickly during pregnancy. This is because your body’s needs for energy can change when you’re pregnant. Checking your blood sugar often is important. Ask your doctor how often to monitor your levels. It’s also important to find out how to adjust your medicines, exercise and food based on your blood sugar tests.
7. Take medicines as directed
Take medicines or insulin exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. It’s likely you’ll require more insulin or a higher dose of your diabetes pills while you are pregnant, especially later in your pregnancy. Insulin is safe for your baby while you’re pregnant and during labor, so take it as prescribed.