Diabetes is quite common amongst Indians these days. You can blame our lifestyle for the rise of it. If you do happen to have diabetes and you are planning your pregnancy, rest assured! You can have a safe and blissful pregnancy, provided you plan properly.
Diabetes-either type 1 or type 2, is a chronic metabolic disorder. When you’re thinking about having a baby, you should be aware of the risks too.
Pregnancy and diabetes isn’t a risky combination. Of course, you can get pregnant when you have diabetes. However, the starting of a family requires more planning when you’re a diabetic mother-to-be.
So, why you need to plan if you are diabetic?
High blood sugar is said to reduce fertility as it disturbs the menstrual and ovulation cycle. Moreover, perinatal problems are worse with the hyperglycemic condition, as it has increased risks for
- Diabetes complications
- Obstetric complications
- Fetal and neonatal hazard
Most of the time you might not know that you’re pregnant until the baby has been growing for 2-4 weeks. Therefore, pre-pregnancy planning can put your mind at ease.
You can give your baby the healthiest start by adopting healthy lifestyle choices and monitoring blood sugar levels, by which you can boost the odds of delivering a healthy baby.
What are the maternal and fetal complications?
- Recurrent infections-Vaginal candidiasis
- Abortions & miscarriages
- Birth trauma
- Operative delivery
- Premature membrane rupture
- Later stages
- Damages to various organs such as eyes, kidney etc
- Congenital anomalies
- Premature babies
- Macrocosmic or high birth-weight babies
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Later stages
- Diabetes mellitus
- Metabolic disorders
So, what are the steps that can be taken before and during pregnancy to prevent problems?
- Get checkups with your health care team before and during pregnancy
- Always control blood sugar before conception
- Follow your diabetes meal plan
- Be physically active as your healthcare team advises
- Take diabetes medicines or insulin as per your prescription
Can you plan your diet for steady glucose levels in diabetes?
Yes, you can! Scheduling your meals in advance can help you achieve your diabetes and fertility goals. It mainly involves three modules:
- Knowing what to eat
- How much to eat
- When to eat it.
What are the food items that can be eaten?
- Non-starchy vegetables: sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, and spinach
- Low-glycemic fruits: blueberries, strawberries, and apples
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, and chia
- Nuts: almonds or walnuts
- Phytoestrogenic foods: beans, garlic, oranges, and broccoli
How much can be eaten?
This is dependent on what your dietician/doctor says. But as a rule of thumb, the amount of individual components to be eaten are:
- 50 % non-starchy vegetables
- 25 % of proteins
- 25% carbohydrates such as brown rice
When should you eat?
It is best to have small portions of food spaced out during the day than have three full meals. The two main things that you can do are:
- Frequent snacking (of healthy food)
- Eat every 3-4 hours
To summarize, surviving with diabetes is not easy. It involves numerous life changes, particularly when preparing for pregnancy. But then, with patience and dedication, you can have a healthy baby with diabetes and enjoy your pregnancy and future motherhood with bliss.