Can You Have a Natural Birth with Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes (GD) is a condition that affects pregnant women and is caused by elevated blood sugar levels in pregnant women due to hormones from the placenta blocking the effects of the mother’s insulin. In most cases, GD can be managed with diet and careful monitoring of blood sugar levels. But many women worry about having a natural birth if they have gestational diabetes.
Pros and Cons of Natural Birth with GD
There are advantages and disadvantages to having a natural birth with GD. On the plus side, natural birth is associated with a lower risk of cesarean section. The labor and delivery process involved in a natural birth can also help to monitor the health of the baby more closely during labor.
On the negative side, mothers with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of having a large baby due to hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin) in the mother’s body. This can cause prolonged labor and increased risk of complications such as shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery) and need for an emergency cesarean section.
Tips for Having a Natural Birth with GD
If you’re aiming for a natural delivery, here are a few tips to help you succeed:
- Monitor your blood sugar levels: Keep your blood sugar levels within the acceptable range by eating a healthy, balanced diet and regularly testing your blood sugar.
- Avoid stress: Stress can increase cortisol levels, which can cause further disruption to your blood sugar levels. Aim to keep calm in the lead-up to labor and during delivery.
- See your medical team regularly: Continue to see your doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy. They can help to manage your GD and provide advice on how to reduce the likelihood of complications during labor.
- Stay active: Engage in light physical activity as often as possible to help improve your insulin sensitivity and help you stay fit and healthy throughout pregnancy.
- Avoid birthing aids: Birthing aids such as epidurals can further increase the risk of complications. Speak to your medical team about your options before the birth.
Overall, if you have gestational diabetes and would like to have a natural birth, it is possible – but only with the support of your healthcare team and under close monitoring. By following the above tips and advice from your medical team, you can increase your chances of a positive and healthy birthing experience.