Medication for gestational diabetes

Medication for gestational diabetes

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What medication do I take for gestational diabetes?

You many not need to take medication for gestational diabetes. It's possible to manage the condition by following a special diet and exercise plan. However, about 15 percent of women won't be able to control blood sugar with diet and exercise alone.

If that's the case for you, your healthcare provider will prescribe oral medication or insulin to lower your blood sugar.

Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas produces naturally. The insulin taken to treat diabetes is a synthetic version. Insulin treatment aims to bring down your blood sugar so it's at the same level as a woman who doesn't have gestational diabetes.

Insulin is given through an injection, and you may need several injections each day. Your provider will teach you how to give yourself insulin injections. (Insulin doesn't cross the placenta, so it's considered safe to take during pregnancy.)

Even if you take insulin, you still need to follow a balanced, healthy diet. This means monitoring your intake of carbohydrates and eating foods that make blood sugar rise and fall slowly. This includes whole grains, vegetables, beans, and lentils.

How can I be sure I'm taking my medication correctly?

Insulin is an effective treatment, but it requires careful attention. You'll need to test your blood sugar at least four times a day (using a kit your provider gives you), and write down the results.

You'll also need to record how much insulin you've taken. Your provider will review this information with you at your prenatal appointments, and adjust your dosage if necessary. Overall, your need for insulin will increase as your pregnancy progresses.

If your blood sugar levels are consistently within the normal range, it means your medication is working well. Blood sugar can change quickly during pregnancy, though. So even if you're seeing good results, keep testing as recommended by your provider.

If you feel well, and your doctor is happy with the results of your tests, you can feel confident that your medication is working as it should.

Gestational diabetes can make your baby grow very large, so your healthcare provider will also check that your baby is growing at the right rate. You may have additional ultrasound exams in your third trimester to estimate your baby's size.

If you need to take medication to control your diabetes, you'll have fetal nonstress tests starting around 32 weeks of pregnancy. This is a safe test which lets your doctor check for signs that your baby may not be getting enough blood flow through the placenta.

Your provider will attach sensors to your belly and measure your baby's heart rate and movements for about 20 minutes. You may have this test once or twice a week until you deliver.

What are the alternatives to insulin injections?

Your healthcare provider may prescribe other diabetes medications, such as glyburide and metformin, to lower your blood sugar levels. Both of these are tablets taken orally, so you won't have to give yourself injections. However, even with these medications you still need to eat carefully and monitor your blood sugar levels.

Also, small amounts of both drugs may reach your baby through the placenta. Although there are no reports of health problems in newborns caused by these drugs, the long-term effects are unknown. And sometimes these medications are not effective enough to control blood sugar, so you may still need to take insulin.

If you feel anxious about taking any medication, talk to your provider. She'll be able to answer your questions and provide reassurance. Remember that untreated gestational diabetes can harm both you and your baby.

Visit the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's website for more information and to find an MFM specialist near you.

Watch the video: Gestational Diabetes: Patient experience (May 2022).

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