Diabetes in pregnancy
Diabetes is often diagnosed in women during their childbearing years and can affect the health of both the mother and her unborn child. Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the baby. It can cause serious complications for the mother, also. Proper health care before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects and other poor outcomes.
Women who have diabetes have a higher chance of having a baby with problems. Good blood sugar control can reduce the risk. A consult with the Perinatal Diabetes Management Team (Perinatologist, Diabetes Nurse Practitioner and Registered Dietitian) will allow evaluation and control of diabetes and other health risks. The goal of diabetes education is to improve the outcome before and during pregnancy for women who have diabetes.
Patients with diabetes are followed at HiROC can expect office visits and phone calls where their blood sugar levels, weight gain or loss, and ketones (urine test that indicate if adequate calories have been consumed) are monitored. This follow-up is very important so that decisions can be made weekly about adjusting diet or medication.
Patients who have diabetes before they were pregnant will need regular changes in medication due to rising hormone levels in pregnancy. Gestational diabetes develops in women who have not previously had diabetes before pregnancy. Women who have had bariatic surgery or weight gain or loss during pregnancy also will benefit from a consultation with the diabetes team.
Women who have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), insulin resistance, and problems with glucose tolerance or metabolic syndrome should also see the Diabetic Educator because they often develop gestational diabetes.
Our Perinatal Diabetes Management Team consists of a Perinatologist, Diabetes Nurse Practitioner, and Registered Dietitian. A consultation with this team will allow evaluation and control of diabetes and other health risks. The goal of diabetes education is to improve the outcome before and during pregnancy for women who have diabetes.
Diabetes Educators are certified by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. They help patients deal with the challenge of diabetes before and during pregnancy and provide ongoing support. When a patient with diabetes first meets the Diabetes Educator, questions are asked to find out how much she already knows about diabetes. Even women who already have diabetes before pregnancy need special teaching about how pregnancy changes blood sugar control and the effects of diabetes on the developing baby.
The diabetes education includes information on what causes diabetes, desirable levels of blood sugar during pregnancy, meal planning to achieve these desirable levels, blood sugar testing at home, and problems related to elevated to blood sugars. What to expect after the pregnancy is also addressed.
The Diabetes Education Nurse Practitioner is available any time during office hours if a patient has problems or has questions. When the patient works together with the diabetes management team, this increases the chance for a healthy baby.