Should women with gestational diabetes take insulin?

Pregnant Woman

Is it safe to take insulin during pregnancy?

A missed period, nausea, breast tenderness, aversion to some foods, and morning sickness – It might be a whole new world of experiences to you being pregnant. But, if you have a family history of diabetes, you might have to know about diabetes during pregnancy and the symptoms of gestational diabetes.

With an increasing number of pregnant women having gestational diabetes, healthcare practitioners go the extra mile to create awareness regarding diabetes during pregnancy and its management. However, it is a known fact that some women still give birth to newborns with macrosomia (babies with higher weights).

Gestational diabetes:

When a woman who was not a diabetic before develops diabetes during pregnancy with high blood sugar levels, she is said to have gestational diabetes.

Since many pregnant women do not experience any symptoms of gestational diabetes, doctors advice an oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th and the 28th week of pregnancy.

If a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the general treatment option would be conservative with dietary and exercise management and periodical checkups.
However, some women do not respond to diet and exercise management. These women have to go for either oral medications or insulin injections.

Insulin and Gestational Diabetes

It is a common misnomer of many pregnant women and their families that treating gestational diabetes with insulin may result in complications. This is wrong.

When the blood glucose levels of a pregnant woman remains high despite diet and exercise management, the healthcare practitioner may recommend insulin as the benefits of insulin therapy outweigh the risks of gestational diabetes.

Having said that, it is very important to provide the right dosage of insulin for optimum management. Also, the type of insulin that is appropriate to you would be determined by the doctor depending upon:

Your weight.
Extent of pregnancy.
Blood sugar levels (most recent).
Your diet plan.

If you are on insulin therapy during pregnancy, you might have to undergo some diagnostic tests to avoid stillbirth. These include:

Doppler flow studies.
Fetal movement counting.
Nonstress testing.
Biophysical profile.

With the prescribed diet, physical activity and insulin therapy, a pregnant woman can manage her gestational diabetes and give birth to a normal child.