Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Contributor: Blood Sugar Management During Labor

Thanks again to Amy for sharing her stories with us over the last week!

One of our regular visitors commented that Amy's birth stories didn't include a lot of information about blood sugar management during delivery. In response, Amy had the following thoughts to share about her blood sugars during labor and birth.

I did want to say something about the comment that these don't seem like natural birth stories from a woman with type 1 diabetes just because I didn't mention my blood sugar in them. Beth was right in saying that when I wrote these it was just for friends and family and they either wouldn't care about what my blood sugar was and/or wouldn't even know what the numbers meant :) Also, my labors have all been extremely fast and there just wasn't time to check my blood sugar multiple times. Of course I don't think it is unimportant, but I honestly just don't have the time to do it. Plus, as Beth mentioned, for type 1's with good blood sugar control our births don't really look much different than "normal" anyway.

Thinking back to when I did check my blood sugar while in labor:

With #1 I know I checked once during labor at home (probably actually around 9-10 or so because I had eaten dinner and wanted to get an after meal check), it was around 100. I checked again before we left for the hospital and it was 86. I did not check any more after that since I arrived at the hospital fully dilated and my son was born about 45 minutes after we arrived.

With #2 I woke up and my water broke at 6am, I took a shower, finished packing my hospital bag and we were out the door by 6:35am. I checked my blood sugar before leaving and it was in the 150's, I didn't do anything about it because I was afraid of dropping too low if labor happened to bring it down low as well. We arrived at the hospital a little after 7am, put in a room around 7:10/7:15, and he was born at 7:25. There was simply no time to check my blood sugar again.

With #3 I remember checking it once while we were sitting around in triage (when I "wasn't really in labor") and it was in the 80's. Once I was actually in active labor- for a whole 27 minutes- there wasn't time to check my blood sugar, I was just concerned with pushing my baby out. Besides, I'm not exactly sure what the recommendation is for how often to check your blood sugar during labor, but even if it were hourly or every 30 minutes I wasn't even in labor for that long.

I always resume checking my blood sugar soon after the birth and it is always climbing in the 200's. I don't really know how to prevent that, it is difficult to maintain good control when there are so many hormones going crazy at the same time.

All that to say, YES these are natural birth stories of a type 1 diabetic! But I don't think my labors would be a very good example of what your blood sugar does during labor and how to manage it because I have extremely fast labors and there simply isn't time to track my blood sugar every hour throughout labor or to see what it is doing during different stages of labor (like early labor, hard labor, transition, pushing). All my stages of labor pretty much happen all at once. :)


  1. Thanks for this post and addressing my concerns! I think I've heard it's best to check at least every hour you're in labor to make sure the baby isn't born when you're high and risk exposing them to a low when they're born. However, in our new world of CGMs maybe we can avoid testing all the time and just make sure we're keeping a nice streamline.

  2. You're welcome! We do welcome your suggestions :)