Typically, when one thinks of pregnancy, babies, booties and bassinets come to mind, but for Jonah Yap-De Jesus at 34-weeks along, so do glucose monitors, test strips and insulin.
Yap-De Jesus’ second pregnancy was moving along as expected until she was diagnosed with one of the most common health problems of pregnancy – diabetes. Frustrated and scared at the prospect of managing the condition, her obstetrician referred her to Community Medical Centers’ Diabetes Care Center to help manage it.
According to the America Diabetes Association (ADA) usually around the 24th week of pregnancy some women develop abnormally high levels of sugar in their blood. Gestational diabetes is a complication that between 7% and 14% of expectant mothers get while pregnant, according to the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program. Pregnant women with diabetes are at high risk for labor complications and their infants for congenital malformations or stillbirth. Appropriate prenatal care and diabetes control can reduce or prevent these problems.
“My experience is great working with the people at Diabetes Care Center. They are very helpful. They are very informative and accommodating, and that’s what I like,” Yap-De Jesus said.
The Community Diabetes Care Center served more than 1,000 gestational diabetes patients like Yap-De Jesus last year. This ADA-recognized program gives education and treatment to women at different stages of pregnancy. The center is an affiliate of California’s “Sweet Success” program which provides support and education to medical personnel and community liaisons to help pregnant women at high risk with pre-existing diabetes and those who develop gestational diabetes.
Expectant mothers are referred to Community’s program by their obstetrician. Depending on their needs, they come in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, for individual counseling or to take part in an educational class. Every mother also gets a glucose monitor and an information packet that details proper nutrition for diabetes in pregnancy.
“Without the educational program, my level of awareness [about diabetes] wouldn’t have been the same,” Yap-De Jesus said.
If a mom needs insulin, the team at the center shows them how to take it. There also is a two-hour class that addresses the psychosocial aspects of the condition, nutrition and meal planning, and exercise, and connects the women to other resources.
“If we can instill lifestyle changes with food and exercise that’s going to make a difference in the community,” said Velia Garza, R.N., a supervisor at the Diabetes Care Center.
The center also provides care for its patients after they deliver their babies by following up with them six weeks after birth and also encouraging them to be rechecked annually for diabetes.
“There’s a follow up after this. So I can still check if I need to continue or not. I think it’s very important,” Yap-De Jesus said.
Jennifer Avila-Allen reported this story. Reach her at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.