Our goal at Project DOC is to help expecting mothers in the Rio Grande Valley stay healthy during their entire pregnancy and beyond. Failing to adequately take care of your gestational diabetes can not only lead to pregnancy complications but to health issues for your child after birth.
How Can Gestational Diabetes Affect My Child At Birth?
Because gestational diabetes affects your blood glucose levels, your baby can begin to store this extra sugar as fat, which can, in turn, lead to them suffering from “fetal macrosomia” which is a term used to describe newborns who are significantly larger than average. Unfortunately, this condition can lead to other issues and health complications, including:
- Vaginal delivery complications
- Injuries during birth because of size
- Pre-term birth
- Temporary breathing problems
- Low blood sugar and mineral levels at birth
- Congenital malformation
Gestational diabetes can contribute to the loss of a child in severe cases.
What Happens After Birth?
If you were dealing with gestational diabetes during birth, you and your baby will receive extra care and monitoring to treat any issues that arise. The team of medical professionals helping you understand exactly what risks your child faces and which forms of treatment will help to prevent any further health issues from occurring.
If necessary, your baby may need to be treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for some time.
Treatment after birth may include:
- Drawing blood to monitor blood glucose levels.
- Your team will also develop a feeding schedule for you that will need to be followed until blood glucose levels stabilize. In certain cases, some infants may need intravenous administration of glucose solution in order to help their blood sugar levels return to normal.
- Depending on your child’s condition, additional testing and monitoring may be required, especially if additional complications arise such as hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, or hypomagnesemia. Signs that your infant may be dealing with these issues include:
- Breathing issues
- Trouble feeding
- Eye rolling
- Weak or high-pitched crying
- If your child is suffering from respiratory issues, they may be given oxygen or use a breathing machine.
- If a birth injury occurred, your child will be treated.
It is important to be aware that if you had gestational diabetes, your child has a greater chance of dealing with obesity and has an increased lifelong risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, children who go on to develop Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing heart disease or suffering from kidney failure.
Taking Care of Yourself During Pregnancy
Taking care of your health and treating your gestational diabetes during pregnancy is absolutely a must to keep your baby healthy. Simple lifestyle changes can help to keep you and your baby strong while ensuring a safe pregnancy.
Steps to take care of yourself during pregnancy include:
- A healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your baby during pregnancy. Project DOC can connect you with nutritionists and diabetes educators to help you develop an appropriate diet plan for your needs.
- Physical activity is a great tool for managing your weight and your blood sugar levels. Ask your doctor about exercises that you can perform while pregnant.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Depending on the severity of your case, you may be prescribed insulin or some other medication which is needed to manage your gestational diabetes.
- Keep an eye on your blood sugar to ensure it is not too low or high.
- Make sure to keep all of your medical appointments so that your doctor can check on your health and your child’s condition as well.