Breastfeeding And Diabetes

Submitted by Nick on September 24, 2010
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Many women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be concerned about the worsening of their symptoms during breastfeeding. Even mothers who develop gestational diabetes may worry that diabetes may bring about complications in nursing. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes may develop when the body cannot transport glucose out of the bloodstream.

In some cases the glucose also cannot be moved into the cells for conversion into fuel. This could lead to certain symptoms such as fatigue, blurred vision, increase in the urge to urinate and excessive thirst. If the condition is not treated on time, the diabetes could contribute to kidney disease, heart disease, blindness and stroke. Gestational diabetes may occur in pregnant women who have never suffered from diabetes in their life. The condition is known to usually develop after the delivery. But many studies have shown that some women who experience gestational diabetes may also develop type 2 diabetes within the next few years.

This does not mean that mothers with diabetes cannot breastfeed. However it is important to monitor the diet and make the necessary lifestyle changes so that the condition is kept under control. Some women experience better health and a reduced insulin requirement during lactation. This could be due to the fact that body naturally adjusts to the metabolic changes after childbirth. In fact, within a few hours following birth the need for insulin drops. During breastfeeding, there is also a release of the hormone called oxytocin which has a stress relieving effect. This helps the diabetic mother feel emotionally and physically better. Babies born to diabetic mothers should be examined immediately after birth for blood glucose levels. In women with diabetes, the milk supply may begin within 5 to 6 days. Those who feel adequately well are advised to begin breastfeeding as soon as the baby is born. It is also advisable to discuss the medical condition and intake of medications with the doctor beforehand.

Diabetic mothers must make certain adjustments in the breastfeeding diet. The blood sugar levels must also be regularly monitored.  In order to meet the requirement of milk production, an additional 200 calories must be consumed. The calcium intake must also increase as around 300 to 400 mg is lost per day. Blood sugar levels must be regulated by eating at regular intervals. Snacks must be consumed before or during breastfeeding so that hypoglycemia is prevented. It is advisable to consult a doctor who will be able to provide the right breastfeeding advice. This will help diabetic mothers deal with breastfeeding problems.

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