- Maintain hemoglobin levels between 10 - 12 g/dL.
- Receive frequent blood tests to monitor hemoglobin levels.
- Contact their doctors if they experience such symptoms as shortness of breath, pain, swelling in the legs, or increases in blood pressure.
[For more information, see In-Depth Report #57: Anemia.]
Treatment of Diabetes During Pregnancy
Some recommendations for preventing pregnancy complications include:
- Intensive blood sugar control during pregnancy can reduce the risk for health complications for both mothers and babies. Doctors recommend that pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels up to 8 times daily. This includes checking your blood glucose before each meal, 1 - 2 hours after a meal, at bedtime, and possibly during the night.
- Insulin needs increase during the pregnancy, especially during the last 3 months. Your doctor may recommend increasing your insulin dosage during this time.
- Consult a registered dietician to help adjust your food plan during pregnancy.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise during pregnancy can lower glucose levels. (All pregnant women, particularly those with diabetes, should check with their doctors before embarking on a rigorous exercise regimen. This is especially important for women with eye, kidney, or high blood pressure or other heart problems.)
- To prevent birth defects that affect the heart and nervous system, women with diabetes should take a higher dose of folic acid from the time of conception up to week 12 of pregnancy. They should also be checked for any heart problems.
- Women with diabetes should have an eye examination during pregnancy and up to a year afterward.
Review Date: 05/05/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.