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The Final Weeks of Pregnancy- Pregnant with Type 1 Diabetes

"Birth And Beyond" Part 5


Nov 9, 2011

Katherine Marple

Final weeks of pregnancy! The third trimester brings about many more ultrasound scans and measurements taken to judge the growth and health of your child. You'll likely be visiting your OB/GYN or maternal fetal medicine office twice per week for non-stress tests to ensure that your baby is healthy and active.

Between weeks 28 and 36, many women notice a sudden growth spurt in their baby's measurements. My baby suddenly went from measuring "right on target" to being deemed a "big baby" around week 32. In my conversations with other type 1 mothers, I learned that they too saw a sudden growth spurt during this time.

I know that as women with diabetes , we are very sensitive when it comes to our babies' weight in the womb. We try so hard and are very dedicated to bringing these babies into the world, proving that our diabetes does not affect every outcome in our lives. But sometimes we still become demoralized by the assumptions about diabetes and pregnancy.

My own A1C was stellar throughout pregnancy, including the six months before attempting to conceive. I was steady in the 6.5% range throughout the first half of pregnancy, bringing it down even farther, to below 6.0%, in the last weeks. I had very few fluctuations in my glucose readings and was testing so often that even if my blood sugar jumped suddenly, I was correcting and bringing it back down to range within one hour. Surely it can't be said that my baby's birth weight of 9.4 pounds was due to my diabetes.

When my doctors noted my baby's growth spurt around week 32 and told me that she was going to be a big baby, my first thought was that it was my fault. I mentally badgered myself for the infrequent 200 readings and begrudged my diabetes for taking part in my pregnancy even when I was trying so hard to not allow it to affect my baby. I felt like my doctors and family would judge me, blaming her higher-than-average weight on my illness and assuming that I was in poor control of my blood glucose.

But, I knew the truth. I knew that my glucose was as close to a "normal" person's as it had ever been and that I was doing everything I could to keep my baby healthy and strong. As it turned out, my baby was very strong. She withstood 21 hours of labor and an emergency C-section. I also had pre-eclampsia for the last three weeks of pregnancy, causing my own body to swell nearly beyond its capacity.

At just two days old, my baby was picking up her head with her strong neck muscles to look around. At six weeks old (the age she is as I'm writing this), she is the most active and alert newborn I've ever seen. It is still undecided if my child's above-average birth weight was due to my diabetes or genetics. Though my and my husband's birth weights were average, my older brother weighed nearly 10 pounds at birth, although my mother had no signs even of gestational diabetes.

The point is not to point fingers or to lay blame on anyone or anything. There are still so many things we don't understand about this disease. Every day, medical communities are discovering something new. Managing type 1 diabetes while pregnant is very difficult. The fact that you've made it to the third trimester is astounding. Don't allow anyone (even yourself) to make you feel anything less than what you are.

As mentioned above, I experienced pre-eclampsia during the last weeks of my pregnancy. I will discuss those symptoms in Article Six.


Categories: A1C, Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Gestation, Gestational Diabetes, Losing weight, Poor Control, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Third Trimester, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 1 Issues



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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 9 November 2011

Wow Katherine...I have read all the articles this is the first time I have decided to comment. As Lynne and I are trying for children and I am considered "pre-diabetic" I am obviously concerned. You should look into turning this into a book and maybe get you on Dr Oz or something...

Posted by Anonymous on 9 November 2011

I have type 1 diabetes and have 2 kids, both pregnancies went great and my daughter was 8 lbs. 1 oz. and my son was 7 lbs. 3 oz. I have very tight control of my blood sugars though. I remained at 6.0 or lower before conceiving and during both pregnancies. I struggled more with my 2nd child than the first as far as controlling my blood sugars, but my A1C's were still great. Near the end of both pregnancies I started requiring less insulin, so the doctors decided to induce me by breaking my water with both pregnancies. My daughter was born at 38-1/2 weeks and my son at 37-1/2 weeks, still full-term for both. Just wanted to let people know, it can be done, even with type 1 diabetes. Thank the Lord for my insulin pump, it made it so much easier.

Posted by Anonymous on 14 December 2011

Wow Thank you Kathryn am a type 1 diabetes and i have been so worried about getting pregnant. Infact, i had given up on being pregnant, but worse is that i thoght having diabetes affects getting pregnant. But now i will give it a shot. Am am inspired and so ready

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2013

I am also Type 1 & pregnant with my 3rd. I totally agree with you...I am a worrier. I test ALL the time & adjust accordingly and as I am just about 28 weeks now, I have really just become huge. My last hBA1C was 6.3mmol, but suddenly my sugars are going up in the last week. I don't know if it's stress from writing 30 report cards (& sitting for LONG periods of time to write them)...but I feel worried/guilty any time things don't go as planned. As people comment, attempting to be subtle with the..."how much longer do you have?" - expressing, "HOLY SMOKES, you're huge!", I feel self-conscious. Most people are just commenting on my size - but knowing full-well how heightened sugars affects the size of my babies, I say, "Well my hBA1C is awesome. So if I'm big it's just crappy genetics, compounded by having diabetes."
My mom had 4 kids & we were all 8+ pounds except one sibling was over 9.3lbs (& my 5'1" mom was not diabetic).
Anyhoodly...thanks for relating. It is just SOOO stressful being diabetic & pregnant - particularly when your sugars, despite TONS of effort, don't go perfectly. I have adjusted my basal TONS this past week...and I continue to need to do so.
I have 2 healthy boys though...even though they were whoppers. Can't wait to meet our newest baby. Hopefully I can get rid of some stress (& illness too VERY soon!) :)


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