About 9 out of 100 women (9 percent) in the United States have diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which your body has too much sugar (called glucose) in the blood. Glucose is your body's main source of fuel for energy.
Unlike gestational diabetes, preexisting diabetes (diabetes you have before pregnancy) doesn’t happen just during pregnancy. You can develop it any time in your life.
If you have diabetes and are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, your health care provider needs to take extra special care of you. Pregnancy for a woman with preexisting diabetes is called high risk. This means you may have complications during pregnancy, so your provider needs to monitor you and your baby closely.
Just because your pregnancy is called high risk doesn’t mean for sure that you’ll have problems. It just means that your provider pays special attention to your health and may work with other specialized health providers to help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Can diabetes cause problems for a baby during pregnancy?
Yes. Women who have diabetes are almost as likely as women who don’t have diabetes to have a healthy baby. But they need to control their blood sugar levels before and during pregnancy. Here’s why:
If you have diabetes, what can you do before you get pregnant to help you have a healthy pregnancy?
If you’re planning to get pregnant, here’s what you can do to help you get ready for pregnancy:
How is preexisting diabetes treated during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the safest diabetes treatment is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control its blood sugar. Some people with diabetes have trouble making or responding to insulin and may need other treatment.
Your health provider can work with you to create a personal plan for your insulin treatment:
Here are some other things you can do to help manage your diabetes and have a healthy pregnancy:
If you have preexisting diabetes, is it OK to breastfeed?
Yes. If you have diabetes, it’s safe to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the best food for your baby during the first year of life. It helps him grow healthy and strong.
Here are some tips about breastfeeding if you have preexisting diabetes:
What are hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia?
Hypoglycemia (also called low blood glucose) is when blood glucose levels are too low. When blood glucose levels are low, your body can’t get the energy it needs. Hyperglycemia (also called high blood glucose) is when your body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use insulin correctly. Both of these conditions are common in women with preexisting diabetes.
Hypoglycemia is usually mild and easily treated by eating or drinking something with sugar in it. If it’s not treated, it can cause you to pass out. Hypoglycemia can be caused by:
If you have hyperglycemia, you may need to change the amount of insulin you take, your meal plan or the amount of physical activity you get. You may have hyperglycemia if you:
Hyperglycemia can be caused by:
Your provider can monitor you for these conditions during pregnancy to make sure you and your baby stay healthy.
Last reviewed October 2012
Mononucleosis (also called mono) is an infection usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It’s sometimes caused by another virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV). EBV and CMV are part of the herpes virus family. Mono is most common in teenagers and young adults, but anyone can get it. Mono is called the “kissing disease” because it’s usually passed from one person to another through saliva. In addition to kissing, it can also be passed through sneezing, coughing or sharing pillows, drinks, straws, and toothbrushes.
You can have mono without having any symptoms. But even if you don’t get sick, you can still pass it to others. Symptoms can include:
If your symptoms don’t go away or get worse, tell your health care provider. He’ll most likely do a physical exam and test your blood to find out for sure if you have mono.
There’s no vaccine to prevent mono. There’s also no specific treatment. The best care is to take it easy and get as much rest as you can. It may take a few weeks before you fully recover.
The Rh factor may be a problem if mom is Rh-negative but dad is Rh-positive. If dad is Rh-negative, there is no risk.
If your baby gets her Rh-positive factor from dad, your body may believe that your baby's red blood cells are foreign elements attacking you. Your body may make antibodies to fight them. This is called sensitization.
If you're Rh-negative, you can get shots of Rh immune globulin (RhIg) to stop your body from attacking your baby. It's best to get these shots at 28 weeks of pregnancy and again within 72 hours of giving birth if a blood test shows that your baby is Rh-positive. You won't need anymore shots after giving birth if your baby is Rh-negative. You should also get a shot after certain pregnancy exams like an amniocentesis, a chorionic villus sampling or an external cephalic version (when your provider tries to turn a breech-position baby head down before labor). You'll also want to get the shot if you have a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or suffer abdominal trauma.
Before getting pregnant again, it's important that you are ready both physically and emotionally. If you don't need tests or treatments to discover the cause of the miscarriage, it's usually OK for you to become pregnant after one normal menstrual cycle. However, it may take longer for you to feel emotionally ready to be pregnant again. Everyone responds differently to a miscarriage. Only you will know when you are ready to try to get pregnant again.
Not common, but they do happen. Elevated hormones during pregnancy can cause the gallbladder to function more slowly, less efficiently. The gallbladder stores and releases bile, a substance produced in the liver. Bile helps digest fat. When bile sits in the gallbladder for too long, hard, solid nuggets called gallstones can form. The stones can block the flow of bile, causing indigestion and sometimes serious pain. Staying at a healthy weight during pregnancy can help lower your risk of gallstones. Exercise and eating foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, like veggies, fruits and whole grains, can help, too. Symptoms of gallstones include nausea, vomiting and intense, continuous abdominal pain. Treatment during pregnancy may include surgery to remove the gallbladder. Gallstones in the third trimester can be managed with a strict meal plan and pain medication, followed by surgery several weeks after delivery.