Pregnancy is an exciting period, especially if you had tried to conceive for a long time. Delivering a healthy baby is the goal for every woman. This is why women take precautions before and during pregnancy with an aim of keeping the unborn child healthy and minimize the risk of birth defects. It’s advisable to avoid taking medications during pregnancy unless the drug is prescribed by the physician, for example, Metformin for pregnancy.
Metformin and pregnancy are closely related. It’s a popular drug and has been on the market for many years. It comes in the form of a tablet and a solution. The medical care provider may prescribe this drug during pregnancy to treat the following conditions explained below.
To Treat Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar accumulates in the bloodstream since the cells are resistant to actions of insulin hormone. Many females develop the condition in their childbearing years. If planning to conceive, it’s crucial to inform the doctor to come with a plan on how to control blood glucose levels during pregnancy. If blood sugar levels remain elevated in a pregnant woman, it may lead to pregnancy complications. Nevertheless, a healthy pregnancy is possible with diabetes, but it calls for extra care. If you were taking Metformin tablets before pregnancy, if you conceive, inform the health professional, he may recommend you continue taking the medication alone or together with insulin.
While on Metformin during pregnancy, you will have regular clinics to monitor the progress and look out for side effects of the medication. The medical care provider or diabetes educator will train you to check blood glucose levels during the day- at least eight times and remember to record the values. Depending on the blood sugar levels, the dosage for the drug may be adjusted as well as insulin if on combination therapy to get the desired outcome. As you continue with the drug, the health care professional will may recommend you undergo an ultrasound scan for the following reasons;
- To determine the due date
- To screen for birth defects
- To check amniotic fluid levels
- To monitor the baby’s growth
- To screen for birth defects
To Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is an endocrine disorder which affects women of childbearing age. The disorder is accompanied by a number of symptoms like irregular periods, excess hair growth, acne, insulin resistance and obesity. A woman with the condition will experience difficulty getting pregnant. To deal with insulin resistance and infertility, the fertility expert may prescribe Metformin. In this case, the drug will deal with insulin resistance and the cells of the body will move glucose from the blood with the help of insulin hormone, hence blood sugar levels are regulated. A woman having this disorder has pre-diabetes (the blood sugar levels aren’t high enough to be classified as type II diabetes).
The medicine also aids a female to restore fertility; the drug is popular in fertility clinics. Polycystic ovary syndrome is also characterized by high levels of androgen (male hormones). Once insulin resistance is dealt with in PCOS patient, androgens levels fall and normal ovulation can occur increasing the chance for a woman to conceive. If the woman becomes pregnant, does it mean she will stop taking Metformin? Bear in mind the patient has pre-diabetes and is obese- these two can eventually lead to diabetes type II. Thus, as earlier mentioned, it’s important to control blood sugar levels in pregnancy, because of this; the female will continue taking the medication to prevent pregnancy complications and full -blown diabetes. The dosage will be individualized depending on blood sugar levels. A woman will attend clinics frequently and check the blood sugar levels at home. The medical care provider may also need the patient to undergo an ultrasound scan for the same reasons outlined previously.
The brighter side of pre-diabetes and diabetes, a woman is already aware of her condition, hence, she can plan ahead before conception by:
• Managing diabetes or pre-diabetes three to six months before conception; the diabetes management team will give tips on keeping blood sugar under control
• Using birth control method until one attains the desired blood glucose levels for a number of months
• Taking folic acid supplements; folic acid protects the baby from neural tube defects. Take it before conception and during the first trimester if you conceive.
• Informing the doctor all the medications you are on to ensure they are safe during pregnancy. If need be, the health practitioner may change the drugs if they are not safe to be used in pregnancy.
• Meeting with medical professionals like perinatologist who can aid in managing diabetes and any complications that one may experience in pregnancy
To Treat Gestational Diabetes
During pregnancy, a woman develops insulin resistance; insulin hormone aids the body to use sugar for energy. In pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many changes and makes many hormones; this change makes the body become insulin resistant. The good thing is that for many women, the body is able to produce more insulin to meet the rising demand. However, for some women, this is not the case and when insulin isn’t used effectively; glucose accumulates in the bloodstream making a woman to develop gestational diabetes.
It’s unclear why some women develop gestational diabetes, but the medics believe the following risk factors plays a role:
- Age– women above 25 years are at risk of gestational diabetes.
- Weight – overweight or obese women are at risk of gestational diabetes.
- Family history – if a member of the family has had diabetes, you are at a greater risk.
- Pre-diabetes – if your blood glucose has been high, but not yet diagnosed with diabetes at one point in life. You may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Previously experienced gestational diabetes in another pregnancy –if you had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy, it may occur again if you conceive.
The condition is diagnosed by checking the blood sugar levels. During the first prenatal clinic, the health care professional reviews the risk of developing gestational diabetes. If he feels you are at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes, such as being overweight or a history of gestational diabetes, the physician will put you on Metformin for pregnancy and will give directions on how to take the medication.
Why is it important for pregnant women with PCOS, gestational diabetes and type II diabetes to regulate blood sugar levels during pregnancy; in this three cases, there is something in common, they are pregnant and blood sugar levels are high. These women have high-risk pregnancy because of the complications which may happen such as:
- Preeclampsia – its high blood pressure in a pregnant woman and may be an indication that her organs such as kidneys and liver aren’t working as expected. Signs may include vision changes and severe headaches.
- Premature birth – its delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy; premature babies are at risk of having health problems later in life than full-term babies.
- Birth defects for example heart defects and neural tube defects. They change the function or shape of one or a number of body parts and may cause overall health problems.
- Having an overweight baby; a large baby may get hurt during delivery, hence, to keep the baby safe, the physician may recommend a C-section birth. Large babies are at risk of developing diabetes later in life or become obese.
- Miscarriage or stillbirth– miscarriage occurs if the baby dies in the uterus before 20 weeks of pregnancy, whereas still, birth happens if a baby dies after 20 weeks of your pregnancy.
The above is an illustration of what may happen if you don’t control blood sugar levels by taking metformin for pregnancy or any other medication prescribed by the health care provider to regulate blood sugar levels. Remember, blood glucose is affected by pregnancy, what you eat and drink. What was effective in controlling blood sugar levels prior pregnancy may not work as it used to when conception occurs. Follow the physician advice on the number of times you have to check blood sugar levels, what your targeted level should be and how to maintain the levels.
The health practitioner may refer you to a dietitian to guide you on healthy eating. A dietician will guide you on what, how much as well as how often one should eat to regulate the blood sugar levels. Don’t miss any prenatal clinics although you may think that all is okay. Take part in physical activity at least 30 minutes daily. Contact the doctor on the best and safe exercise to engage in during pregnancy.
Other women have had safe delivery thanks to taking Metformin in pregnancy. Strictly follow the physician direction on the dosage, diet, physical activity and checking blood glucose frequently. Some studies claim that taking the drug in the first trimester may minimize the risk of having a miscarriage.