Surrogates & Gestational Diabetes: What You Need to Know

We find Surrogates often worried that they might develop gestational diabetes during the course of their pregnancy – a matter that also concerns the Intended Parents.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2-10% of pregnancies in the US are affected by gestational diabetes every year. It is believed to be due to hormonal changes that make the body of pregnant women resistant to insulin. Usually, women who have had gestational diabetes are not qualified to be surrogates.

Although diabetic people can also have a healthy pregnancy, they are often disqualified due to the health risks posed by this condition.

That’s why, in this article, we would be answering some of the most commonly asked questions about gestational diabetes and how it affects a Surrogate and her pregnancy.

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What exactly is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs for the first time when a woman is pregnant.

Like other kinds of diabetes, it also impacts how the cells use sugar. This condition can increase the levels of sugar in the blood, which may affect the Surrogate Mother’s health and that of her baby.

Fortunately, it can be managed by making healthy food changes, doing exercise, and using medications.

Even though gestational diabetes typically goes away after the Surrogate has given birth, it increases her chances of developing type II diabetes in the future.

How does gestational diabetes affect surrogates?

Gestational diabetes affects Surrogate Mothers the same way it would affect any other pregnant women. It can raise the risk of:

  • Future diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Having a C-section delivery

All these can affect both the Surrogate Mother and the baby, so it’s crucial to follow the necessary precautions in order to prevent gestational diabetes.

Effects of gestational diabetes on the baby

This diabetes can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can affect the growing baby. Other ways it can affect the baby include:

1. Excessive Birth Weight (Macrosomia)

Gestational diabetes can raise the levels of sugar present in the blood, which can result in the baby weighing more than normal (9 or more pounds). And higher-weight babies are more likely to get injured or stuck during childbirth or require surgical delivery.

2. Preterm Birth

The increase in blood sugar levels caused by gestational diabetes can lead to premature labor or delivery. In some cases, physicians might even recommend preterm birth because of the baby’s large size.

3. Breathing Problems

Some children are born with respiratory distress syndrome due to gestational diabetes, which makes it hard for them to breathe.

4. Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar, otherwise known as hypoglycemia, is another issue babies born to women with gestational diabetes may face after birth.

5. Obesity & Risk of Developing Type II Diabetes

Gestational diabetes also puts the baby at a greater risk of being obese or having type II diabetes in later life.

What are the possible risk factors for gestational diabetes?

There are many risk factors that raise a woman’s odds of having gestational diabetes. Some of them are:

  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A history of pre-diabetes or gestational diabetes
  • A close family member suffering from diabetes
  • Previously had a baby weighing more than 8 pounds

Thankfully, a lot of these factors can be eliminated by making healthy lifestyle changes before pregnancy.

At Physician’s Surrogacy, we have a comprehensive surrogate requirement list a woman has to meet before signing up with us. Here are some of them:

  • Must be between the ages of 20.5 to 39.5 (Traditional Surrogates must be below 35)
  • Have already carried a pregnancy to full term and delivered their own healthy baby
  • Have a BMI of less than 32
  • Be willing to administer injectable medications
  • Be a non-smoker and live in a non-smoking environment
  • Be ready to abstain from alcohol all through the medical process and pregnancy
  • Be free from any sexually transmitted diseases that can pose serious harm to you and the baby.
  • Not have a mental illness or be on antidepressants
  • Be able to give us contact information of previous obstetricians or doctors so that we can get her medical records
  • Sign important documents that will give us access to her health records from past pregnancies and surrogacy journey
  • Have not been to a country infected with Zika within the last six months
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MN, MS, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, and WI.

Although the list of surrogate requirements is long, it helps us, the Intended Parents, and the prospective Surrogate avoid issues ( such as the gestational diabetes ) during pregnancy.

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How to prevent gestational diabetes

There is no certain way for a Surrogate to avoid having gestational diabetes. However, the healthier a woman’s habits before pregnancy, the better!

Below are some helpful tips on how to become a more healthy individual:

1. Leaning on to Healthy Foods

The first thing you need to do to prevent gestational diabetes is to consume healthy foods for your surrogacy pregnancy.

Try as much as possible to avoid “fast food” and any other packaged food. Instead, go for foods that are low in calories, low in fat, and rich in fibers, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.

One good way to do this is to select only foods you know each item they contain! We also recommend watching the portion of foods you take and the time you take them.

2. Exercising

This is another good way to avoid having gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Exercise doesn’t need to be something hard or complicated. It can be as simple as taking a short walk, doing yoga at home, or registering for a fitness class. Aside from benefiting the baby, these habits will improve your overall fitness level, your health, and your emotions when pregnant.

3. Losing Weight

Your weight when you become pregnant is another important factor that determines whether or not you are at risk of having gestational diabetes. Therefore, it is important to lose excess weight before becoming a Surrogate as well as when you are trying to conceive.

This can be achieved by eating healthy foods and doing regular exercise.

At our physician-managed surrogacy agency, prospective Surrogates must have a BMI in the range of 18 to 32 to register with us in order to prevent gestational diabetes.

4. Being Aware of the Possible complications

There are certain complications you and the baby may experience if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

You will be at higher risk of premature labor and childbirth. Besides, the baby may have excessive weight (more than 9 lbs), which raises the risk of injuries during labor.

Babies born to women with gestational diabetes may also have breathing difficulties and/or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when they are born. They are also at higher risk of developing type II diabetes and obesity in the future.

Lastly, having gestational diabetes can increase your chances of developing hypertension, needing a surgical delivery, and having diabetes later in life

5. Managing Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes can be treated by regulating the levels of sugar in the blood, which helps reduces problems and health complications associated with diabetes.

Basically, you will have to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You will also need to conduct blood sugar tests at certain times of the day to ensure your blood glucose levels stay within a normal range.

Sometimes, you may need to have your urine checked for ketones (compounds that are produced when the body burns fat for energy). But if diet and exercise are unable to normalize your blood sugar levels, insulin therapy may be advised.

It’s also important to take good care of your feet when pregnant as gestational diabetes can damage the nerves in this area (neuropathy). You can improve blood circulation in the feet and prevent foot pain by regularly washing and moisturizing them and putting on diabetic socks.

6. Ensuring a healthy pregnancy

Being healthy during pregnancy can lower your chances of having gestational diabetes. To achieve this, eat a healthy diet: go for fiber-rich, low-fat foods, take a lot of veggies and fruits, and watch your portion size.

If you are trying to become a Surrogate, make sure you achieve a healthy weight before getting pregnant. And when you are pregnant, try not to add more weight than what your doctor recommends.

If you have had gestational diabetes, staying healthy during pregnancy can reduce the chances of having it again or developing type II diabetes later in the future.

Bottom line…

Although gestational diabetes is an issue that requires urgent attention, Surrogates can still have healthy pregnancies, even with the condition. Eating healthily, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy weight, and taking necessary medications can help you manage the condition.

If you want to see whether you qualify to be Gestational Surrogate, simply fill out an application and find out instantly.

If you have more questions, open the chat box and get in touch now.

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Physician’s Surrogacy is the nation’s only physician-managed surrogacy agency. Join our community to get updates on surrogacy, expert insights, free resources and more.

Looking for Reliable Surrogacy Info?

Physician’s Surrogacy is the nation’s only physician-managed surrogacy agency. Join our community to get updates on surrogacy, expert insights, free resources and more.