Insulin during Pregnancy
What is Insulin and why does it matter during your pregnancy?
Insulin refers to the hormone that is released by the pancreas (located in your stomach) the main function of which is to convert glucose in the blood to the energy that is used by the cells for all kinds of body functions. During pregnancy, hormone levels in your body change making it harder for your body to process blood sugar and making it rise beyond normalcy. This usually leads to Type 2 diabetes wherein your body may become insulin resistant and the blood sugar rises beyond what your body’s metabolism can use even though the pancreas produces insulin at a normal rate. In the case of gestational diabetes, your body may not produce enough insulin to meet the increasing need during pregnancy and the lack of its effective utilisation by the body gradually causes high blood sugar levels. This may not only affect your pregnancy but make the baby vulnerable to diabetes later.
When should you take insulin during pregnancy?
As you go about with your regular check-up during your pregnancy, your doctor will constantly check your sugar levels and if a planned diet, regular exercise, and certain medication prescribed for you result in no sign of reduction in your sugar level, your doctor will advise you to take insulin. Our experts have listed below the essential target levels and when and how much to take insulin during pregnancy-
Pre-meals < 95 mg/dl
1 hour post-meal < 140mg/dl
2 hours post-meal < 120mg/dl
Fasting blood sugar < 92mg/dl
What does insulin intake do to your baby?
Pregnant women with Type 2 diabetes are most of the time advised to switch to insulin over oral medicines to avoid direct effects across the placenta and reaching the baby. This is also the reason why insulin is considered a very safe choice in combatting excess blood sugar during pregnancy. According to our experts, when the high rise in blood sugar in a pregnant woman is not controlled through the effective administration of insulin, the high glucose levels in the blood get transmitted to the baby through the placenta which eventually leads to the increased size of the baby than desired or ideal rate for a healthy pregnancy and causes other complications. Our experts recommend insulin intake through injections because, by this method, the excess glucose is broken down in a healthy manner to provide energy that the body makes use of. This controlled methodology prevents the glucose from reaching the baby and thereby, avoids any further complications.
What are the risk factors that increase the demand for insulin intake during pregnancy?
Although an increase in blood sugar level is highly common in pregnant women, some women may have a greater risk of gestational diabetes than others. Listed here are some of the risks our experts wish you to be aware of for timely intervention to reduce chances of complications with regard to insulin during your pregnancy-
- Diabetes in an immediate family member
- Gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes history
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Obesity or excess body weight
- Absence of physical exercise or activity
- Any past delivery involving a baby weighing more than 4.1 kilograms
- It has been observed that Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian American women have a higher risk of gestational diabetes.
What are the types of insulin that can be taken during pregnancy?
As mentioned above, insulin injection is the most recommended means of insulin intake during pregnancy. However, there are different kinds of insulin depending upon how fast they act, what their peak time is, and the duration in which their effect remains in your body to lower or keep the blood sugar level in control. Thus, the level of your blood sugar determines what kind of insulin your body needs. Our experts have listed the various types of insulin and how they should be taken in different cases below-
Rapid-acting insulin: This insulin is to be taken 10-15 minutes before meals since it works within 15 minutes and peaks in 1-2 hours and its effect lasts for 3-4 hours.
Intermediate-acting insulin: This works within the first 2-4 hours and peaks in 4-12 hours and lasts for 12-18 hours.
Short-acting insulin: This works within the first half an hour and peaks in 2-3 hours and continues to lower your blood sugar for 3-6 hours after its injection.
Long-acting insulin: This works after 2-3 hours from its injection and the effect continues for an entire day, i.e. 24 hours
You need not worry about which type to take because our experts will prescribe the right dosage of the one that will work best for you according to your unique condition which includes your weight, gestation period, diet, and glucose level.
Where should you take your insulin injection?
You are advised to inject the insulin in the parts of your body that are rich in fat mass since insulin is not only best absorbed in the areas but such areas also cause less pain while injecting it into your body. Here are some of the most ideal sites on your body for insulin injection-
- Abdomen or belly, ideally a couple of inches away from your belly button
- Outer sides of your buttocks
- Outer sides of your arms that have a maximum fat mass
- Upper and outer sides of your thighs
Whom to consult?
It is very common that women with no diabetes history develop the need for insulin intake with pregnancy and if you are a first-time mother or one who has never dealt with diabetes before, you need not panic at all or be stressed out over the situation because, with the right consultation at the right time, your pregnancy will have no complications regarding your blood sugar level. Yashoda Healthcare is here to develop the most effective treatment for you through the collaborative efforts of our multidisciplinary specialist teams and our specialists at the Department of Gynaecology and Diabetes and Diabetes Surgery Department are ever ready to deliver just the best care for your unique needs and care.
For any query about Pregnancy and Insulin intake, please reach out to us on our official website www.yashodahealthcare.com, or book an appointment with our Gynaecology/Obstetrics specialists Dr. Sashi Arora and Dr. Gauri Agarwal by calling us on 09810922042.