If you have type 1 diabetes, you may require less insulin for the first few days after delivery. Your health care provider may check for postpartum thyroiditis. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need insulin at all during this time. Your insulin needs will gradually go back to your pre-pregnancy level in about 2–6 weeks. If you had gestational diabetes, your blood glucose levels will most likely return to normal after delivery.
The postpartum period may be one of unpredictable swings in blood glucose. Your hormones and body chemistry are in flux. You are recovering from a major physical challenge. You are probably exhausted from caring for your baby, too. If you find that keeping your blood glucose on target poses a greater challenge, try not to get too discouraged.
Hormonal changes, emotional shifts, irregular sleep patterns, and fatigue may hide or change your symptoms of high or low blood glucose. You may find it hard to tell the difference between “after-baby” blues, such as unexplained crying or moodiness, and low or high blood glucose. Fatigue, feeling spacey, weakness, or forgetfulness can be caused by both high and low blood glucose and by lack of sleep. If you’re not sure, play it safe and check your blood glucose.
Although virtually every aspect of your life may seem turned on its head after the birth of a new baby, the four basic management tools remain the same: insulin or other diabetes medication (oral diabetes medications cannot be used while you are breast-feeding), blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, and physical activity.
Working out may be the last thing you are thinking about after the baby is born. But as soon as you feel well enough and you have your doctor’s okay, taking your baby for a daily walk can help you feel better and more relaxed.