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Diabetes Health Center

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Women’s Top Diabetes Concerns

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.

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