Diabetes Risk during Pregnancy
My stroke history has put me into an automatic high-risk situation with my pregnancy. Being over 35 doesn't help either. I have had more tests and screenings than I ever remember having with my son. I'm so tired of being pricked with needles, but at the same time, it's always reassuring when I get the "everything's fine" from my doctor.
One screening my doctor has done is for diabetes. I had this done during my first pregnancy too. It's a common screening doctors do with most pregnancies, whether you're high-risk or not. It's not too bad. You have to drink this flat tasting orange soda. The hardest part is waiting the entire hour before the nurse sticks your finger. Being high-risk, I have had to have this done twice so far.
The screenings are necessary because it is common for some women to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Some women have more than one pregnancy affected by diabetes and it sometimes disappears after the pregnancy ends. However, about half of women with gestational diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes later. If you develop gestational diabetes, you must control it because it can cause the baby to grow extra large and lead to problems with delivery for the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, or it might take insulin as well.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are typically present before a woman becomes pregnant. If not controlled before and during pregnancy, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause the baby to have birth defects and cause the mother to have problems such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, nerve damage, heart disease, or blindness. If you have pre-existing diabetes, you must talk to your doctor about good sugar control before and during pregnancy to lessen the chance of birth defects to your baby. If you're on an oral medication, you will more than likely need to change over to insulin before you conceive and during your pregnancy.
If you have diabetes, it's also important to understand your increased risk of stroke. Multiple studies have shown that people with diabetes are at greater risk for stroke compared to people without diabetes regardless of the number of health risk factors they have. Overall, the health risk of cardiovascular disease is two-and-a-half times higher in men and women with diabetes compared to people without diabetes.