Diabetes and Pregnancy… How can I tell if my baby is okay?
If you have Gestational Diabetes, it’s normal for you to worry about your baby. First of all, it’s very rare for a baby to be born with Diabetes. Second, there are tests that can be done during pregnancy to determine if your baby is healthy.
All pregnant women (whether they have Gestational Diabetes or not), should have themselves examined on each doctor visit, he should check your weight, blood pressure, and sometimes do blood and urine tests.
Other tests that should be done are:
- An ultrasound, which allows you to view an image of your baby without using x-rays.
- A test to check the baby’s heartbeat during movement.
- A test to determine the baby’s size, its breathing, movements and muscle tone during very mild contractions.
- Movements Counts, to keep a record of the number of times your baby moves.
There are other tests that can be used to detect birth defects. Birth defects during childbirth aren’t caused by Gestational Diabetes. All pregnant women have a low risk of having babies with birth defects. Commonly, two tests are used to detect these:
- AFP (Alpha Fetoprotein), which is a blood test.
- Amniocentesis, in which a sample of the fluid that surrounds the baby is taken and analyzed. This test also indicates whether the baby’s lungs are mature and ready for delivery.
Don’t get worried if they ask you to get one of these tests done, and make sure, to ask any questions you may have about them and, to understand the answers. This may help you worry less.
Problems unrelated to Diabetes that can occur to pregnant women.
It’s very important for all women who are expecting a baby to be alert about other problems that can occur during pregnancy. If you have any symptoms of the possible complications we explain below, you should see your doctor and treat the problem as soon as possible, to be sure your baby is fine.
Preterm labor or preterm birth is when the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature birth can cause health problems for the baby and could even be fatal if the organs haven’t developed adequately or aren’t mature enough. A sign of preterm labor are regular contractions before the 37th week of pregnancy, which cause the cervix to begin to dilate.
Preeclampsia occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy in about 5% of the cases, and occurs because some substances produced by the placenta clog the arteries during pregnancy, causing blood pressure to rise, which is known as Hypertension.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will have to perform a thorough additional evaluation to detect if you have Preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a very serious condition in which symptoms are mild in most cases and occur in late pregnancy. If this condition is treated and properly controlled, it shouldn’t be a serious problem for you and your baby.
Placenta Previa occurs when the placenta is located too close to the cervix, even covering it. When this occurs during early pregnancy, it doesn’t represent a major problem. However, the doctor will perform an ultrasound at mid-pregnancy to check the placenta’s position. If the problem persists until the end of pregnancy, a cesarean birth will be necessary. If there’s heavy bleeding it will have to be immediately treated, requiring a premature or preterm birth.
Pregnant women can have many other problems unrelated to Diabetes such as: Rh blood Incompatibility, placental abruption, excessive or insufficient amount of amniotic fluid, premature placental rupture, Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and multiple pregnancy, among others. For this reason, if you’re pregnant, it’s vital for you to visit your doctor regularly and do all tests deemed necessary to detect and treat any problems that might arise during your pregnancy at any time.