There seem to be a thousand and ten things to worry about when pregnant. Clothing changes, as does skin care routine, the strength of a woman’s hair, and even the size of her shoes. That’s just talking about appearance; internally, things are changing to the max to accommodate the new tiny life.
Organs get bumped around, intestines get squished, and the bladder gets messed up in ways that can be gratuitously inconvenient to a pregnant woman. In this tumultuous time, one of the things that women have to worry about is their blood sugar levels.
While diabetic women might be accustomed to dealing with their blood sugar, or women who have been in tune with it for a while, this can be a surprise. Blood sugar, though, can be extremely important. It makes for a huge amount of different in the health of the baby as well as the health of the mother.
It can reduce weight gain and result in a better attitude—it even combats postpartum depression to make for an easier first year with the baby.
In this article, we’ll talk about the different risks that high blood sugar can pose to a pregnant mom and to her child. We’ll also discuss some preventative measures that are easy and cost-effective to take in preventing high blood sugar, as well as some outlying factors that may contribute to high blood sugar that people don’t usually think of. We’ll also discuss helpful dietary tips for preventing high blood sugar.
15 Too Much Sugar Causes Sleepiness
One thing to watch for in mothers as well as babies is sleepiness. If a mother is unsure whether or not she is eating too much sugar and doesn’t want to go to the doctor, a really good indicator is sleep.
Sugar causes the body to experience a temporary rush; this is why many people reach for it. In pregnancy, it’s even more likely that a mother might want a boost of energy. However, sugar will also cause an unfortunate crash, and it will leave the eater feeling more tired all the time.
Babies that come from mothers with high blood sugar will also be tired. Their tiredness will seem odd; most babies will sleep a lot during the day and night. This is because they haven’t built a solid circadian rhythm yet. However, babies born from mother with a high blood sugar will be sleepy more than usual. They might be tired when awake, and cranky as a result.
14 Excess Sugar Is Not Good
Having sweets every now and again isn’t going to be particularly dangerous to the baby in the long run or the short run. In fact, some things like chocolate are actually really good for people because cocoa is beneficial to the heart. However, it’s important to watch out for overall sugar content. Excess sugar, or eating too much food that has too much sugar in it, can result in a high blood sugar over all. High blood sugar can result in a lot of complications that we will discuss later, so it’s important to know how to manage it.
We’ll discuss later different diet options to take during pregnancy, but the main thing to remember is to minimize sugar intake. Like we said, it’s alright to eat sugar every now and again, but excess sugar should be monitored. Where low-sugar option exists, take them, and compromise between sweets and savory foods. Eating well can be easy if sugar intake is steadily tracked.
13 Artificial Sweeteners Are Dangerous To Pregnancy
We discussed different kinds of sugars and talked about artificial sugars, and artificial sweeteners aren’t the same thing. Well, they technically are, but it’s like squares and rectangles. All artificial sweeteners are artificial sugars, but not all artificial sugars are artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sugars are substitutes for sugar that many people use in baking or in their beverages as a healthy alternative to real sugar. However, this isn’t the case. At least with pregnant people, artificial sweeteners should be avoided.
In fact, it’s suggested that pregnant people have regular sugar in their tea (which should be decaf during a pregnancy) if they’re going to insist on having any sweetener. This is because of the chemicals found in artificial sweeteners. They aren’t harmful to the average person, but to a pregnant person, they can be detrimental to their health and to the baby’s.
It’s best to reach for more flavorful teas and skip the sugar altogether, but know where compromises need to be made.
12 High Blood Sugars And Birth Defects
Sometimes, high blood sugar can result in negatives effects in the fetus and that will result in negative effects in the infant after labor. These birth defects are not the same thing as birth complications, which we’ll discuss later, but are rather diagnosable defects that will affect the child for the rest of their lives.
One of the main things that become complicated in infants is the heart because it is linked to the mother’s sugar levels.
Other things include weight at birth and the amount of time that labor will take as a result of the weight. Other birth defects can be linked to blood sugar, too, but the studies on those suggest that those defects could very.
Specifically, they might be caused by factors other than blood sugar. Therefore, as to whether blood sugar caused those birth defects, the studies were largely inconclusive and provided little to no scientific evidence.
11 Diabetes Is Harder To Control
In mothers with diabetes, a lot of different measures will have to be taken during pregnancy. Diet will be monitored, of course, but most diabetic women are accustomed to that.
Some women become diabetic during pregnancy, and they will receive insulin treatment as a result. Diabetes can and will affect the baby during the fetal stages, and those complications are unfortunately high in number.
Babies born of mothers with diabetes tend to have heart problems more often. In addition, babies can be more likely to have birth defects that are more permanent, such as spina bifida. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs when bones around the vertebrae don’t connect properly.
In extreme cases, babies are unable to move their legs, arms, or other parts of their body. They might have exposed nerves in the back of the neck, and growing up they will have a small dimple where skin grows to cover those nerves.
10 High Sugar Diet Results In Nutritional Deficit
When a woman gets pregnant, it’s doubly important that she gets all the vitamins and minerals that she needs. Often, she’ll take pregnancy supplements to make sure all those vitamins get in there.
However, it’s important to make sure that she eats food that has the appropriate nutrition as well. If a woman eats nothing but sweet food, she might satisfy her sweet tooth, but she’ll be missing a lot of nutrition and therefore her baby will be missing it too.
If a woman isn’t sure whether or not she’s eating enough food with nutrition, there’s no need to panic. Most vitamins come in gummy forms that can be taken during pregnancy. Taking sugar in moderation ensures that other nutrition is getting to the baby, and this will help the baby’s growth and development immensely.
Vitamins made specifically for pregnant women also exist to ensure that they get all of the necessary things they need to keep going and have a healthy baby.
9 The Baby Will Crave Sugar
People who have a sweet tooth will find that when they become pregnant, their craving for sweet food only intensifies. Not only that, but their desire to eat more than ever intensifies. Pregnant women can eat a lot of food, that’s no surprise, but pregnant women with a sweet tooth can eat huge amounts of sweet food at once.
This will drive the blood sugar up over time and have an assortment of impacts on the baby, including the baby’s taste in foods.
Babies who have mothers with an overindulged sweet tooth during pregnancy often develop quite the sweet tooth themselves. After all, they take in everything the mother takes in. For this reason, they’ll often crave sugar, and cast away things that aren’t sweet as a result. It can make it difficult to get them the nutrition that they need because a lot of baby food isn’t inherently sweet.
It’s important to remember to indulge babies’ sweet tooth to a healthy extent, regardless of what they’re hungry for.
8 Different Types Of Sugar Act Differently Physiologically
All this talk of avoiding sugar can get a little confusing. Some women get confused when they go to pick up veggie juices or smoothies that are supposedly healthy when the sugar label reads ‘sixty grams of sugar.’ The trick is knowing that there are different kinds of sugar, and those different kinds of sugar do different things. Luckily, it’s not too hard to figure it out once the information is put out there.
For the purposes of pregnancy diets, the only kinds of sugars that mothers need to be aware of are natural sugars and artificial sugars. Natural sugars are found in most fruits and aren’t inherently bad. Some mothers have to watch their intake of natural sugars, but others have no problem eating as many mangoes, apples, or bananas as they want. The other kind of sugar is artificial sugar, and it’s the good stuff that’s found in pies, cupcakes, and ice cream. The body doesn’t break down this kind of sugar the same way, and for that reason, it should be avoided.
7 C-Section Due To Overindulgence
Women who eat a lot of sugar during their pregnancy might not have high blood sugar. Women who do have high blood sugar, however, could have it because of what they eat or because of what they do; smoking and drinking actually elevate blood sugar. Who knew?
In pregnant mothers who have high blood sugar, getting a C-section is much more common. This is because of other things that happen as a result of high blood sugar that we’ll get into later.
Having a C-section because of high blood sugar is never a good thing. It usually happens because the baby is large, and therefore the mother will have spent time trying to give birth beforehand. As a result, birth will be a long, painful process. About half of it will be done naturally, and then a C-section will be ordered, and the recovery for C-sections is not worth the overeating during the pregnancy.
6 Heart Disease And High Blood Sugar
Earlier when we discussed diabetes during pregnancy, we brought up heart disease. Heart disease occurs frequently in babies born from mothers with diabetes, and it’s also common in mothers with high blood sugar.
In fact, some controversy has surfaced that pressures doctors to lower the blood sugar requirement that has to be met in order to receive diabetes medication because of this birth problem. Taking diabetes medication when a person doesn’t have diabetes, though, can seriously harm a person’s normal pancreatic system.
Babies that have heart problems can often be stuck in surgeries for much of their early weeks. It can be anything from a minor problem that won’t need to be touched on until they’re older to weeks in an incubator getting their heart worked on. Open-heart surgery in infants is incredibly risky and while the technology improves every day, the survival rates aren’t always a hundred percent.
For this reason, doctors are pressured to make diabetes medication more accessible—however, this has its own complications.
5 Possibility Of Having A Large Baby
One of the things that has come up a few times in this article is a complication of birth referred to as a ‘large baby.’ Large babies are babies that weigh more than the average weight of seven point five pounds at birth. Usually they’ll weigh more than a pound over seven point five. Large babies often have heart problems due to their weight because the body has to work extra hard to pump blood around the extra area, and babies have a hard time doing that as it is.
Large babies can also present a host of problems during labor. These babies are more likely to get their shoulder stuck in the mother’s vaginal canal, which will stop labor completely. They’re more likely to need a C-section as a result of this, because mothers become unable to get the baby out. The vagina can only stretch so far, and at a point, a baby that is too large will need to be removed surgically.
Thankfully babies born overweight are usually not in critical condition and the problem usually solves itself, but the trick is the birth process and the complications that exist there.
4 Why A Healthy Diet Is So Important
We’ve talked about all the adverse effects of having high blood sugar and what it could mean for a mother and her baby. We’ve talked about different sugars and different things that a mother might want to try instead of sugar. However, there’s still the question as to what to do to avoid high blood sugar. The answer is surprisingly simple. Besides communicating with the doctor, pregnant women should always be conscious of their diet.
Eating healthy can make any person feel better. It balances nutrition levels and makes the brain more active. In addition, it makes the body happier. For pregnant people this is double true. Eating a healthy diet can regulate high blood sugar. Veggies and fruits should be in abundance (although some mothers might need to watch the fruits they eat because of the natural sugars we talked about earlier), and lean meats are the way to go for protein. Drink lots of water, and things should be just fine!
3 Stay On Top Of Diabetes
While it’s important to know to regulate blood sugar levels while pregnant, some mothers don’t have that opportunity. Diabetic mothers have little control over their blood sugar and often their blood sugar will run high as a result of their disease.
In this case, doctors will often prescribe medication in addition to insulin to keep the body regulated and all systems going as well as possible. However, there may still be complications.As we discussed, mothers with diabetes are much more likely to have children with heart problems. In addition, their babies might have lung problems. However, there’s not a need to panic. Most of these problems are mild, and only in severe cases are children impacted in a horribly negative way.
Usually the problem won’t need to be dealt with until the child has reached an older age and the heart has better developed. Mothers with diabetes should have their children checked often for any signs of heart trouble.
2 Prevent High Blood Sugar With Exercise
Another trick to keeping blood sugar down, diabetes or no, is to exercise regularly. Exercise has a million and ten health benefits. It can release endorphins in the brain that combat depression—or postpartum depression in new mothers—and it can make the brain clearer and better.
In addition, it helps motivate a lot of pregnant people to eat better because they feel productive and healthy. If they feel hopeless and like they can’t move, they’re more likely to reach for the Oreos than fix themselves a healthy lunch.
There are many pregnancy exercises that can benefit mothers and their children immensely. Many yoga studios offer pregnancy classes that go at the pace of the expecting mother. Exercise balls offer a million different ways to exercise, too, with the help of some research.
It’s important that a pregnant woman not overexert herself, but it’s good to get exercise during pregnancy and keep everything moving. The body needs all the help it can get feeling better and healthier.
1 Irresistible Pregnancy Cravings
One of the worst parts of pregnancy—or the best, depending on who’s answering—is the cravings. Women are familiar with period cravings, they strike at random and often make little sense. Pregnant women, though, know cravings on a much more personal and crazy level.
They can be incredibly strange because the taste buds are changing, and often these cravings will be for sweet or unhealthy food. It’s important not to always indulge these cravings, because sweet food can be bad in excess because they can lead to high blood sugar.
Pregnant women should always have some sort of emergency stash of snacks on hand. Keeping a supply of healthy snacks abundantly available will make it easier not to cave into the carton of ice cream in the freezer. Tinker with recipes and find out what works best for the individual system.
Most healthy foods can taste absolutely fantastic with the right amount of attention, and it will be a confidence booster to know that the cravings didn’t get indulged.