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Diabetes Health Center

Women’s Top Diabetes Concerns

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If You're Planning to Get Pregnant

Many women now have type 2 diabetes during their childbearing years. A healthy pregnancy is certainly possible with diabetes, but it takes extra care.

If you plan to get pregnant with type 2 diabetes, see your doctor first. You need a plan to keep your blood sugar level under control -- and during pregnancy the goals for blood sugars are very different.

Your doctor should check on your diabetes drugs, because some shouldn't be taken during pregnancy. As a result, you may need to take insulin.

When you’re pregnant, you may also need to check your blood sugar more frequently -- up to eight times daily -- to flag any blood sugar level spikes. And, of course, a healthy diet and exercise are a must to help control blood sugar.

Once you have your baby, you can breastfeed, if you choose to. Nursing helps your baby get to a healthy weight, and it also helps get your blood sugar and insulin levels under control.

After your pregnancy, your blood sugar control will change. You may need less insulin or a change in your diabetes drugs or doses. Talk about it with your OB/GYN, as well as the doctor you see for diabetes care.

Watch for Infections

“Certain types of infections can happen to anyone, men or women, but they tend to happen more frequently among women with type 2 diabetes,” says Melanie Jay, MD, a New York University professor of medicine. High blood sugars make a person with diabetes more likely to get infections. Higher than normal blood sugars may be a subtle sign of an infection.

Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria grow more readily in the lining of the bladder. Urinary tract infections can usually be treated with antibiotics your doctor prescribes.

Vaginal yeast infections may also accompany type 2 diabetes. The yeast, called candida, lives all over our bodies but thrives in warm, moist areas. If your blood sugars are often too high, you can have an overgrowth of candida that leads to infections.

Yeast infections can happen in other parts of the body where you have skin folds, such as in the armpits or beneath the breasts. People with diabetes can be prone to these infections.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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