If I have Gestational Diabetes… What can happen to my baby?
The baby uses the mother’s glucose for energy and for growth until the moment it’s born. When the mother’s blood glucose levels are high, so will the baby’s, so the baby will have to produce more insulin to lower the glucose excess in the blood. The baby can use their mother’s glucose, but not her insulin, as insulin cannot cross the placenta.
Any glucose the baby doesn’t use, is stored as fat, that’s why the baby may grow a lot or gain a lot of weight in the womb. This is known as macrosomia.
If your baby is very large, you could get hurt or you can hurt your baby, during delivery, or might need a cesarean section (Birth by surgery).
If your glucose level is high at the moment of birth, your baby will produce a large amount of insulin, and once born, he or she won’t use the mother’s glucose anymore. Which is why the baby will have excess insulin in the bloodstream, making its glucose levels drop too much. This is known as Hypoglycemia and is a very dangerous condition which can cause seizures, neurological damage and even death, within a few minutes. Therefore, it’s very important for the baby to be tested exhaustively at the moment of birth to detect a possible Hypoglycemia.
Your baby may also be born with a yellowish skin color (jaundice), but this doesn’t last for long and using an infrared lamp will be required to make the color of the baby’s skin return to normal.
Only in very rare cases, can a premature death occur, which is when the baby dies before birth. This doesn’t happen often and here we’ll describe a very simple test to prevent it, called “movements count” (Details below). Similarly, blood glucose level control helps to prevent premature deaths. Pregnant women should also avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs, to ensure their baby’s health.
If you do any of these things, even just a little, tell your doctor; they can help. Don’t feel embarrassed or fearful, your doctor knows that no pregnant woman harms her baby on purpose.
Diabetes and Pregnancy… How to perform the “movements count”?
Movements count is the best test you can do, and it’s an evaluation you can do by yourself anywhere and anytime. Your baby should start to move every day, at some point between weeks 16 and 20 of the pregnancy. There are different ways of counting movements. We will describe one of them:
- Lie on your left side or sit well on a comfortable chair. Pay attention to your baby’s movements.
- As soon as you feel the first movement look at the clock and note down the time.
- Count each movement or kick until your baby has moved 10 times.
- When you feel the 10th movement, check the time again and write it down. Surely the baby will move about 10 times in a range of 10 to 20 minutes.
Bring your movements count record every time you visit your doctor.
Example for the month of May
|No.19||Beginning||07:55 p.m.||08:20 p.m.|
|From the 1st to the 7th||Ending||08:10 p.m.||08:20 p.m.|
Call your doctor or the delivery room (no matter what time it is or where you are) if you feel:
- Your baby hasn’t moved 10 times in an hour.
- Every day, the baby takes longer to move 10 times.
- You haven’t felt the baby move all day.