Recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes? Failed the glucose test so horrendously they instantly put you on insulin? Or did you just barely fail? I’ve been there, and want to save you from the overwhelm and confusion I felt after my gestational diabetes diagnosis. In this post, we focus on one of the things that frustrated and confused me most: the relationship between gestational diabetes & C-Sections. Here are 7 things I wish I had known the first time around. I would have been better prepared to handle all my doctor’s uncertainties and known what to expect for labor with gestational diabetes. Additionally, to simplify your life and ease your transition to the gestational diabetes diet, make sure to sign up for my newsletter and get the 7-Day Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan sent straight to your inbox!
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Here’s what you need to know about Gestational Diabetes and C-Sections
**disclaimer** I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions. Use your best judgment. What worked for me may not work for you. Each body is different and unique. Do what you feel is best at your own risk. I am not liable for any consequences. I am a blogger. This is a blog meant to provide opinions, suggestions, and information. I am human, and make mistakes, so information may not be 100% complete or accurate.
**disclosure** This post may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may receive compensation for products you purchase through links found on my blog. This in no way affects the products I recommend. I only recommend the best! Thank you!**
1. Women with Gestational Diabetes have weaker, shorter contractions- therefore, longer labors (which the OB timeline does not accommodate for)
This study, published in Diabetologia in 2012, by Al-Qahatani, et. al, monitored the contractions of diabetic vs non-diabetic mothers and did biopsies of 40 uteri. They found that contractions were consistently reduced in those with diabetes, regardless of Type 1 or Gestational.
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Most first-time moms on average take 6-12 hours to get to 4cm dilated, but some can even take many days. First-time mothers also, on average, take 8 hours in active labor to get from 4cm to 10cm dilated. After that, a laboring mother should be allowed 4 hours to go from 10cm to birthing Baby. After 4 hours of pushing, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends medical intervention.
These are all averages, which means the ranges of normal can be more or less. If you have gestational diabetes, then you should expect (& plan for) your labor to be much longer than these averages. If your baby’s heart rate is reacting normally to labor, and you have not developed a fever or anything, then you can be confident that you are just fine to continue laboring.
But, why do women with gestational diabetes have weaker and shorter contractions? This leads us to point #2.
2. Women with gestational diabetes have less muscle tone in the uterus
In the aforementioned 2012 study, Al-Qahatani, et al., continue by stating that after examining the uteri under light microscope, a small, but significant difference in the muscle content was detected. There were also differences in the processing of Calcium. The diabetic samples had “[r]educed intracellular calcium signals and expression of calcium entry channels…”. No difference was observed between those with diet-controlled diabetes and insulin controlled diabetes.
They believe the disparity in muscle content could be a contributing factor to the reduced length and intensity of uterine contractions. And these contractions were not just reduced for a short period of time, the difference was apparent for hours. Therefore, we can conclude the uteri really did have shorter and weaker contractions throughout labor. But, we can augment labor artificially, right? Um, not necessarily.
Avoid C-Sections by preparing your body for labor the right way