If you are nearing your due date and are suffering from gestational diabetes, you are probably worried if you will have a natural delivery or not. Try not to be. These days a lot of pregnant women are facing the problem of gestational diabetes (GD) or high blood sugar level during pregnancy. What was once a relatively rare condition, occurring in about 4% of pregnancies is becoming common in pregnant women nowadays. In recent years, the rate of women developing gestational diabetes has doubled, and experts believe the occurrence of the disease will keep increasing. Having gestational diabetes can have a lot of harmful effect on the health of the pregnant woman and her unborn baby during pregnancy, but does it really impact how they give birth?
Having gestational diabetes does not really imply that you cannot have your child vaginally. The good news is that most of the pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes have uncomplicated deliveries and healthy babies. Obviously, unlike a normal pregnancy, the doctor has to consider different factors during a vaginal delivery if you are having gestational diabetes. Read on to know if it is possible to have a natural delivery with gestational diabetes.
Why Is Labor Induced In Pregnant Women With Gestational Diabetes?
Several factors are crucial during labor and vaginal delivery of pregnant woman having gestational diabetes. Foremost, home birth is not allowed as there may be immediate requirement of specialist medical attention in case of any complications for both the mother and her baby after delivery.
There are several reasons why doctors recommend induction of labor for women with gestational diabetes. Please remember many of these complications occur in those women whose diabetes in not well managed:
- The baby will be larger than normal size: If you have gestational diabetes, you will probably have a big baby. Macrosomia, the super-sized baby, can cause some complication during vaginal delivery such as:
- Shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia refers to a condition in which the baby gets stuck in the pelvic outlet since his shoulders are too wide to pass through. Most doctors think about this as a medical emergency
- Perineal tearing: Delivering a big baby vaginally increases the chances and the intensity of the perineal tearing. Even fourth-degree laceration (a perineal tear that extends to the rectum) is common in a delivery of a big baby
- Damage to the tailbone: If your baby is very large, the pressure of a baby passing through the birth canal can injure your tailbone
- Blood loss: The chances of postpartum hemorrhage increases if the baby is larger than the normal size
- Therefore, inducing labor a little earlier in such situation will make vaginal delivery easier. This is because the baby’s size and weight increase considerably towards the last couple of weeks. Inducing labor a couple of weeks before the due date, thus, prevents the baby from putting on extra weight.
- Increased chances of Stillbirth: Preventing stillbirth is the main reason for inducing labor when in a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes. In a normal pregnancy, even if the gestation crosses the forty weeks benchmark, 42nd week before inducing labor but in case of a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes, the chances of stillbirth increase significantly when the pregnancy progresses beyond 40 weeks. Therefore, labor is induced around the 40th week of pregnancy if there are no signs of natural labor.
Is Vaginal Birth Possible With Gestational Diabetes?
For a successful vaginal delivery for women with gestational diabetes, the doctors may follow few precautions such as:
- Close monitoring of mother: The mother will be closely monitored throughout the labor and delivery if she is suffering from gestational diabetes.
- Continuous monitoring of the baby: The baby will be continuously monitored throughout the labor for signs of distress.
- Getting the baby into right position: Even if you are expecting a big baby, you can still have a straightforward vaginal birth if the baby gets into the right labour position. The doctors will be monitoring the position of the baby to ensure smooth delivery.
- Inducing labor a little earlier: As we already mentioned, the labor is induced a little earlier than the due date to make the delivery easier and reduce the chances of risks and complications
- Keeping the blood sugar level under control throughout the labor and delivery: The blood glucose will be monitored each hour during labor to make sure it remains under control. If the levels are high, you may receive insulin and glucose will be administered through a drip. If your gestational diabetes has remained under control during pregnancy, it is unlikely that your blood glucose levels will spike.
- Assisted birth: If the pregnant woman gets exhausted during the process of delivery, if the baby is distressed or if the baby is not smoothly moving out of the birth canal, there will be a need for an assisted birth. This means the doctors will either be using forceps or a ventouse to gently help the baby out of the birth canal.
Gestational diabetes has become very common and if it is properly managed through diet and exercise, the chances to have a normal birth are quite high.