Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Navigating Pregnancy

by Quinn Phillips

Diabetes and pregnancy have never had an easy relationship in the public eye. Many people may remember the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias, in which Julia Roberts’s character dies from complications related to pregnancy and Type 1 diabetes — a storyline based on what happened to the author’s sister. But while having diabetes makes pregnancy and childbirth more complicated, it does not rule out the possibility of having a healthy baby.

Women who already have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are not the only ones who have to think about diabetes during pregnancy, however. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that first occurs during pregnancy and usually ends soon after a woman gives birth; it, too, demands a high level of attention and blood glucose control. For women with any type of diabetes, recommendations for blood glucose control are generally tighter during pregnancy than at other times due to the potentially harmful effects of high blood glucose on fetal development. But with sufficient planning and commitment, most women who want to have a baby can control their diabetes well enough to safely go ahead with pregnancy.

The following resources offer diabetes-focused as well as general information on pregnancy, and some provide opportunities to discuss challenges and concerns with other people.

Books
DIABETES & PREGNANCY: WHAT TO EXPECT
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2001
This book serves as an introductory guide for women with diabetes. Topics covered include stages of development of the fetus, insulin therapy, nutrition, exercise, and how to safely monitor a pregnancy.

BALANCING PREGNANCY WITH PRE-EXISTING DIABETES: HEALTHY MOM, HEALTHY BABY
Cheryl Alkon
Demos Health
New York, 2010
Scheduled to be published in March, this book features numerous accounts by women with diabetes of their experiences during pregnancy. Topics covered include successfully conceiving, finding the right doctor, what to expect during each trimester, and potential problems and complications. The author is a writer-researcher with Type 1 diabetes who writes the blog Managing the Sweetness Within (www.thesweetnesswithin.blogspot.com).

101 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY PREGNANCY WITH DIABETES
Patti B. Geil, MS, RD, FADA, CDE, and Laura B. Hieronymous, RN, MSEd, CPT, CDE
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2003
This book, part of the American Diabetes Association’s 101 Tips series, uses a question-and-answer format to cover such topics as pregnancy preparation, nutrition, and managing drugs during pregnancy.

GESTATIONAL DIABETES: WHAT TO EXPECT
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2005
This book serves as a general reference guide for women with gestational diabetes. It covers insulin and oral medication, monitoring blood glucose levels, and dietary considerations — including meal plans with various calorie levels, depending on individual needs.

MAYO CLINIC GUIDE TO A HEALTHY PREGNANCY
Harper Paperbacks
New York, 2004
This general guide to pregnancy includes a section on considerations for women with diabetes. It covers nearly every imaginable pregnancy-related topic and includes self-care tips, charts that explain how to handle symptoms, and a series of “decision guides” for choices that commonly arise during and after pregnancy.

Government agencies
NATIONAL DIABETES INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE (NDIC)
1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
(800) 860-8747
TTY: (866) 569-1162
Fax: (703) 738-4929
ndic@info.niddk.nih.gov
www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov
The NDIC, part of the National Institutes of Health, publishes both “For Women with Diabetes: Your Guide to Pregnancy” (http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/pregnancy) — a comprehensive overview of concerns related to pregnancy and preexisting diabetes — and “What I need to know about Gestational Diabetes” (http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational) — describing what gestational diabetes is and how to manage it effectively; it also includes several links to other online resources. Both publications are available in Spanish. You can contact the NDIC to order paper copies of these brochures.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

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