LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In the past, pregnant women with diabetes suffered a higher rate of miscarriages and birth defects. But with some extra attention and good pre-natal care, women with diabetes can have a safe pregnancy.
New mom, Wendi Laughlin has lived with diabetes since she was just ten years old. She knows the routine of monitoring blood sugar levels, eating properly and self-administering insulin injections - but it wasn't until she found out that she was pregnant that she really began to worry about being diabetic. "We (diabetics) have a tendency to have big babies and we put a lot of stress on our organs," says Wendi, "it can progress our illness, we have a tendency to have stillborn babies towards the end."
While there are still risks associated with diabetes during a pregnancy, Dr. William Groves with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital says with careful planning, diabetic women can have healthy babies. "The diet, checking blood sugars," says Dr. Groves, "moms tend to have to be on a pretty good schedule as far as eating at the same time and there's a lot of doctor's appointments, there's a lot more check-ups, and ultrasounds and monitoring those things."
If the mom-to-be's blood sugars are out of control, this can have a bad impact on the baby. That's why pregnant women with diabetes typically double the amount of times each day they check blood sugars. "Most patients are checking blood sugars on average four times a day at home and taking anywhere from two to three insulin injections each day," says Dr. Groves.
Wendi says it was tough to stay on top of all of her numbers, but she had a good reason to keep up. "I kept all of my appointments, did all of my labs - because you do have quite a few...because I wanted a healthy baby," she says.
Eight weeks ago, Wendi gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Rylie. She's had no medical problems, but Dr. Groves says the babies are closely monitored right after birth. "They're typically exposed to higher sugars and their bodies have made a lot of their own insulin, so once delivery takes place, sometimes their blood sugars can go low," says Dr. Groves.
The biggest tip is for expectant mothers to have a steady diet, exercise and blood sugar monitoring routines.