Pregnancy is such a special and exciting time, but it often comes along with a few worries too – including health worries. There are lots of health conditions that can be really common during pregnancy, some more serious than others so it’s always worthwhile knowing what to expect and what to look out for. It’s definitely worth checking any symptoms with your midwife if there’s anything you’re not sure about, and I also found it helpful to get advice from other mums, or from websites like Emma’s Diary.
Emma’s diary have put together this helpful infographic to explain some of the most common pregnancy health conditions, including morning sickness, antenatal depression, anaemia, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and back pain.
With four pregnancies, I have been through a few of these myself but the most daunting health condition was gestational diabetes which I had with my third pregnancy (and weirdly, not in my 4th although I was convinced that after having it the previous time I would be guaranteed to get it again!)
A Gestational Diabetes diagnosis in pregnancy (normally towards the later stages of pregnancy, but if you’re at a high risk you may have it detected earlier) can mean you have to be really careful with what you eat, and you will need to test and record your blood sugar regularly throughout the day. As mentioned in the Emma’s Diary infographic above, 1 in 5 mums to be with Gestational Diabetes will need to be put on medication. This would usually be metformin tablets, or if still needing more help controlling blood sugar levels, then insulin injections. I had the insulin injections with my gestational diabetes pregnancy, which felt really worrying when I was first told that I would need to inject at home. I was worried how I would manage with fitting in all of the injecting and blood testing around my busy schedule at the time with two toddlers to look after as well, but found that making a written note of all of the blood results and writing down the insulin injections too really helped and I soon fell into a routine with it.
I had also been worried whether the insulin injections would be painful or difficult to administer but actually they hurt less than the finger pricks for the blood testing! At first it was easier to ask my husband to help with injecting the insulin, but I soon got used to it, and once you give birth if you get the all clear with your sugar levels, then you don’t need to continue with the blood sugar testing or insulin injections – although it can be worth going for an annual check of your blood sugar after a gestational diabetes pregnancy, as you will be considered a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes in later life after suffering from this pregnancy condition.
If you do end up on medication for gestational diabetes, whether that is the metformin tablets, or the insulin injections, there is a possibility that the doctors would recommend inducing you on or before your due date. With my pregnancy, I was induced a couple of weeks before due date and luckily it all went very smoothly. Sometimes gestational diabetes can cause babies to become quite large, so it may be recommended to induce just to be on the safe side, and there is a risk that the placenta can become less effective after your due date when you have gestational diabetes.
Although this condition can make babies larger, if it’s well managed then the baby may not necessarily be really big – it all depends! My Gestational diabetes baby was born weighing 6lb exactly, at 38 weeks. So he was actually my smallest baby of all four children!
Although gestational diabetes can be daunting and can be a tricky pregnancy condition to manage, it’s all worth it once you have your little bundle in your arms!
This is my 3rd son R who is now 7! The time has really flown past, but I remember my gestational diabetes pregnancy like it was just the other day!
Do check out the Emma’s Diary website for information on more of the common pregnancy conditions
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