Will I need Insulin if I have Gestational Diabetes?
The cause for high blood sugar levels isn’t always food, tension or stress: infections and some medications, can also raise blood glucose levels. Remember that often, pregnancy can cause glucose levels to rise.
Two out of every ten women with Gestational Diabetes need insulin injections.
If your doctor tells you to use insulin, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong or failed. It only means that you need help to keep your blood sugar within normal levels. During pregnancy, you MUST NOT take pills to reduce your blood sugar levels (oral medications).
What is insulin and how does it work?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas Beta cells, whose function is to metabolize glucose in our body, allowing the cells to be able to use it as an energy source. Insulin is the key that opens the doors to the cells, so that glucose can access them and be used as fuel and cells can function properly. When there’s no insulin or it doesn’t work properly, cells can’t use glucose as an energy source and it builds up in the bloodstream, raising blood glucose levels above normal.
When the healthy eating and physical activity plan given by your doctor isn’t enough to keep your glycemia levels (blood glucose) controlled, your doctor will probably prescribe the use of insulin, to help you keep your Gestational Diabetes under control.
If your doctor prescribes insulin, a Diabetes educator or a member of your healthcare team should explain how you have to inject it, the importance of rotating injection sites, and where you should apply it. Furthermore, it is important they also explain the different types of insulin that exists, the difference between them, and how long the insulin your doctor prescribed takes to start, its peak time, and duration.
When you inject insulin, you need to be aware of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
If you need insulin, it’s very important for you to know how to prevent a dangerous condition called Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. This can occur when, you inject more insulin than you need, don’t eat at your scheduled times, skip a meal, or exercise more than usual.
It is paramount, if you experience one or more of the symptoms mentioned below, to immediately ingest fast absorption glucose sources, such as candy, glucose tablets or gels, sugar sachets, sugary drinks, etc., so your glucose levels can go back to normal.
Hypoglycemia symptoms appear suddenly and include:
- Lack of attention and confusion.
- Inappropriate answers.
- Pale complexion.
- Sudden hunger.
- Lack of coordination.
- Bad mood.
- Blurry vision.
Therefore, if you have Gestational Diabetes and are prescribed insulin, it’s highly advisable to always carry fast absorption glucose sources such as candy, glucose tablets or gel, syrup, etc., so you can quickly counteract Hypoglycemia as this could quickly turn into a very dangerous situation that can lead to: unconsciousness, neurological damage, and even death.
If you take all necessary precautions to avoid Hypoglycemia, can recognize its symptoms, and know how to counteract quickly, you’ll avoid any problems that may arise, and ensure that everything works well with you and your baby.