Diabetes and family planning: Saving baby Blake

 

Diabetes has changed Beth Moore-Glover in many ways. Though she’s faced many challenges and heartbreaks, they have made her a stronger person who is more aware of how to keep her body healthy.

Published: 06/02/2015

Diabetes has changed Beth Moore-Glover in many ways. Though she’s faced many challenges and heartbreaks, they have made her a stronger person who is more aware of how to keep her body healthy.

Moore-Glover, age 39, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes seven years ago. Before that, she struggled with hyperinsulinemia, which is higher-than-normal blood sugar but not diabetes.

“I tried several methods to keep my blood sugars under control — losing weight, oral medication, insulin, diet and exercise,” she said.

The hardest thing for her to cope with, though, was not being able to have a baby. For women with Type 2 diabetes, the risk for miscarriage is higher.

Moore-Glover has had several miscarriages since learning she has diabetes. When she found out she was pregnant again last year, it marked a change for her.

“When I discovered the virus I thought I couldn’t kick was actually a pregnancy, I went into panic mode,” she said. “I didn’t want to lose another baby.”

Her OB/GYN referred her to Norton Children’s Hospital Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists, a group of physicians who care for women with high-risk pregnancies. Under the direction of Thomas N. Tabb, M.D., Moore-Glover was hospitalized for six days to get her blood sugar under control.

“When a woman’s diabetes is uncontrolled during pregnancy, there is a high rate of pregnancy loss but also a risk for excessive fetal growth, preterm delivery, birth defects and cardiomyopathy (abnormalities in the heart muscle),” Dr. Tabb said.

He also said that studies have shown that a woman’s health at conception will affect the health of the baby when that child grows into an adult. This can increase the child’s risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity later in life.

Moore-Glover learned how important it is to get diabetes well-managed early in pregnancy, and if a woman is planning to become pregnant, to take steps to manage diabetes first.

By week eight of her pregnancy, Moore-Glover had an insulin pump and was meeting with the diabetes educators at Norton Children’s Hospital Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists office every other week.

An insulin pump replaces insulin injections by delivering doses 24 hours a day through a catheter placed under the skin. Because it continuously delivers insulin to the body, blood sugar levels always remain within range.

“Hormonal changes and natural changes that occur overnight in someone with diabetes can make it hard to adjust insulin levels,” Dr. Tabb said. “With a pump we can evaluate glucose levels every few minutes and then adjust accordingly. The more consistent the blood sugars, the better it is for the baby.”

Through education, pump therapy and support, Moore-Glover gave birth at 38 weeks to a healthy 6-pound, 15-ounce baby boy, Blake.

“Having a thorough understanding of diabetes and how to manage it not only resulted in a very healthy baby, but saved my life,” Moore-Glover said.

9 things every woman with diabetes should know

1. Importance of eating three healthy meals and three healthy snacks every day, counting carbohydrates, reading food labels and controlling portion sizes

2. How many times to check blood sugar levels each day

3. How to increase physical activity and exercise safely during pregnancy

4. How to manage stress

5. How diabetes medication works

6. What an insulin pump is and how it can improve blood sugar during and after pregnancy

7. About continuous glucose monitoring

8. What signs and symptoms to report to your health care provider

9. How to get help to stop smoking, if needed


Are you pregnant and have diabetes?

The Norton Children’s Hospital Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists Diabetes and Pregnancy Program can help. The program includes preconception care (when possible), monitoring, treatment and one-on-one education with a nurse practitioner, certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian. Patients need a referral to the diabetes and pregnancy program. For more information, speak with your doctor or call (502) 804-2555


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