Gestational Diabetes - Treatment Overview
During labor and delivery
Most women who have
gestational diabetes are able to have their babies vaginally. Just because you
have gestational diabetes does not mean that you will need to have a
cesarean section (C-section).
baby that has grown too large can be difficult to deliver safely, your doctor
will do fetal ultrasounds to check the size of your baby. If your
doctor thinks that your baby is in danger of being too large, he or she may
decide to induce labor or do a C-section.
During labor and delivery, you and your baby are monitored closely. This
- Checking your blood
sugar level regularly. If your level gets too high, you may
be given small amounts of insulin through a vein (intravenously, or IV). If
your level drops too low, you may be given IV fluid that contains glucose.
- Checking your baby's heart rate and how well your baby's heart
responds to movement.
Fetal heart monitoring helps your doctor know how your
baby is doing during labor. If the baby is large or does not seem to be doing
well, you may need to have a C-section to deliver your baby.
After delivery, you and your baby
still need to be monitored closely.
- For the first few hours, your blood sugar
level may be tested every hour. Usually blood sugar levels quickly return to
- Your baby's blood sugar level will also be watched. If
your blood sugar levels were high during pregnancy, your baby's body will make
extra insulin for several hours after birth. This extra insulin may cause your
baby's blood sugar to drop too low (hypoglycemia).
If your baby's blood sugar level drops too low, he or she may need extra sugar,
such as a sugar water drink or glucose given intravenously.
baby's blood may also be checked for low calcium, high
bilirubin, and extra red blood cells.
What to think about
Most of the time, the blood
sugar levels of women who have gestational diabetes return to normal in a
few hours or days after delivery.
If you have had gestational diabetes,
you are at risk for having it again in a future pregnancy. You are also at
risk of type 2 diabetes, a permanent type of diabetes. The
healthy choices and changes you made during your pregnancy, if continued, will
help you prevent diabetes in the future. If you are worried about type 2
diabetes in yourself or in your child, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Most doctors will
recommend that you
breast-feed, if possible, for the health benefits for you and your baby. For example, breast-feeding can
help keep your child at a healthy weight, which may reduce his or her
chances of developing diabetes. It provides antibodies to strengthen your baby's immune system. And it lowers your baby's risk for many types of infections. Also, it may lower your chances of developing diabetes later in life.
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