As a woman with diabetes, you may have noticed that you face unique challenges, from where to place your insulin pump, to pregnancy, to hormone fluctuations. Many diabetes books offer general diabetes advice, but few focus on women beyond just a short chapter. That is, until now.
Up to seven years before she becomes pregnant, a woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified based on routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and body weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
With the recent news of Paula Deen's battle with type 2 diabetes, diabetes has been getting some negative coverage in the media. I've even heard comments like " No wonder Paula Deen has diabetes when she eats so much sugar and butter." This is frustrating because it perpetuates the false stereotype that all people with diabetes are the same.
My baby girl had just been born. I was in the postoperation room after going through a cesarean section. My husband went to get my parents, who had been waiting for twelve hours in the waiting room. A nurse laid my little girl in an incubator next to my bed and checked her blood sugar, which was normal, in the mid-40 range. Fifteen minutes later the nurse checked her again, and it registered in the mid-30s. I watched as the nurse fed my baby her first ounces of food. I was still too numb to even know that I had legs, much less to be able to wiggle my toes.
As I explained in my previous articles, I was pre-eclamptic and was admitted to the hospital at 37 weeks. I had a migraine that lasted for ten hours after I entered the emergency room. I had experienced migraines before and knew that Tylenol wouldn't ease the pain, so I went untreated even in the hospital. About twelve hours after admission, I was brought to the women's floor, where I waited for my already injected Levemir supply to diminish in my bloodstream.
Diagnosed with diabetes at age 15, Brandy Barnes went on to a successful career as a pharmaceuticals salesperson, but she deeply missed having other diabetic women in her life to whom she could relate. Finally, after a difficult pregnancy, long thought, and prayer, she founded DiabetesSisters (www.diabetes.sisters.org), a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization that provides education and support to women of all ages with all types of diabetes. DS offers conferences, websites, blogs, and a "sister match" program, all designed to lessen feelings of isolation and deepen bonds of connection among women with diabetes.
Editor' Note: This article continues Katherine Marple's series on pregnancy with diabetes as a complicating factor. For previous articles, enter her name in the search feature at the top right-hand of this website. The next installment, "Birthing Options," will appear on December 30.
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