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Lois Jovanovic, M.D., answers questions about pregnancy and diabetes

BD answers questions about insulin injection during pregnancy


BD answers questions about insulin
injection during pregnancy

This page is sponsored by BD
Diabetes Educators recommend BD syringes
to their patients more than any other brand
because of the fine, thin BD needles

insulin injection syringe products

1. Pregnant women with diabetes seem to prefer to use the stomach as their injection site but are afraid they will hurt the baby. Is this possible?

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Diabetes and Pregnancy - Insulin Injections in Stomach:

It is very unlikely that a needle will ever directly hit the baby and cause a problem. However, it is important that injections be into the fat just below the skin and pregnancy can make that harder.

In early pregnancy, you can inject as you normally do. But in late pregnancy, the skin of the stomach can become very stretched, with little fat below the skin. If you can pinch up the skin, you can continue to inject into the pinched up area. If you can't pinch up, choose an area at the side of your stomach that has more fat. If you use an insulin pen with a 5 mm pen needle, you may not need to pinch up in this fattier area. However, if you use an 8 mm or 12.7 mm needle, you will still need to pinch up.

2. Can stomach injections increase stretch marks?

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Insulin Injections in Stomach During Pregnancy:


3. What injection sites can be used during pregnancy, and which are the best?

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Pregnancy and Insulin Injections:

During pregnancy you can use the same injection sites that you normally use. However, you may not be able to inject into the front of the stomach when it becomes very stretched.

4. What are the best types of needles to use based on body types?

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Insulin Injections and Needles:

You should always contact your health care provider, who has specific information about your diabetes care. In general, thin women can use very short needles (such as 5 mm pen needles). Women with a larger build can use 8 mm or 12.7 mm syringes or pen needles, with pinch-up.

5. Is it okay to switch between needle types (i.e., long, short, thick, thin).

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Insulin Injections and Needles:

You should always contact your health care provider, who has specific information about your diabetes care.

  • Some insulin syringe users prefer short needles because they find them to be more comfortable. Other people find that the longer, original needle length is more comfortable. If you are overweight, you may not be able to control blood sugar as reliably with short needles. If you give shorter needles a try, you'll need to check your blood sugar regularly to ensure that the short needle isn't affecting your blood glucose control. Some people prefer 30 or 31 gauge needles because they're thinner, but other people prefer 28 gauge needles because they're less flexible. Once you find a needle length and gauge that works well for you, try to stay with that size to help keep your insulin absorption as consistent as possible.
  • With insulin pens, if you are pinching-up you can change needle types. If you do not want to pinch up, use a 5 mm pen needle.
6. What do I have to know before flying with my diabetes supplies?

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Flying with Diabetes Supplies:

With proper planning, you can still enjoy the experiences of traveling to new places or visiting family and friends. Part of that planning includes:

  • Discussing your travel plans with your doctor.
  • Asking your doctor for written prescriptions for all your medications and diabetes supplies.
  • Getting a travel letter from your doctor describing your diabetes plan.
  • Packing the proper amount of diabetes supplies that you'll need for your trip. To make it easier to get through airport security, keep your insulin in the same box that it came in with the original Rx label on it.

Prepare a diabetes kit for traveling. It should contain the same items that are in your regular diabetes kit, but enough of them to last you for the length of time that you'll be away. Keep the kit close by you at all times - NEVER check it in your luggage.
Your total insulin dosage is designed to work for about 24 hours, so if you change three or more time zones when flying across the country or overseas, you might need to adjust your injection schedule.

Learn the latest airport security guidelines for people with diabetes:

7. What do I need to know about planning for pregnancy?

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Planning a Pregnancy with Diabetes:

If you have diabetes, with some advance planning you can generally have a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. The most important step you can take is to keep your blood glucose tightly controlled and your A1c on target for several months before the baby is even conceived.

Learn more about planning for pregnancy:

8. How will diabetes affect my health and my baby's health during pregnancy?

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Diabetes and Pregnancy - Fetal and Maternal Health:

Low blood glucose generally does not cause health problems for your baby. However, even an occasional episode of high blood glucose can affect your baby. The first trimester is a critical time for your developing baby's health. During the first three months of pregnancy, there is a higher risk of miscarriage. In months four through nine, the major risks are an overly large baby (called Macrosomia) or a stillbirth.
During pregnancy, diabetes-related health risks to the mother include vision and kidney complications, hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar), and childbirth difficulties.

Read more about diabetes-related pregnancy complications:

9. Do you offer any resources for women with gestational diabetes?

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Gestational Diabetes:

BD has published an award-winning brochure on Gestational Diabetes. Download in English or Spanish:

English Gestational Diabetes Brochure . Spanish Gestational Diabetes Brochure

You can also find detailed information on diabetes care at http://www.BDdiabetes.com/us.

Learn about insulin, how to draw and inject insulin properly, meal planning tips, and more.

10. If my doctor doesn't specify a brand, my pharmacy always gives me the store brand of needles. Is it necessary to have the doctor ask for a specific brand?

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Insulin Syringe Prescription:

Yes, it is necessary for the doctor to prescribe a specific brand of insulin syringe or pen needle, along with instructions that no substitutions are allowed. If the doctor only writes "insulin syringe" on the prescription, then the pharmacist can dispense any brand of insulin syringe or pen needle, including a store brand. Also, the pharmacist can decide what syringe size, needle length and gauge to dispense, which may not always be the best choice for your specific needs.

11. What benefits are gained from having a good quality needle?

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Best Insulin Syringes:

BD is constantly seeking to improve syringes and pen needles to make them more comfortable and easy to use. Some of our many product features include:

Scale Alignment: It's easy to hold a BD syringe with the flanges or wings side to side with the scale markings facing you. On some other brands, the scale is not always located in the same spot, and you may have to turn the syringe to see it.

Flat-top plunger: Attached to the plunger in a BD syringe is a black rubber stopper that's lined up with the scale markings in order to draw up a dose. The top of a BD rubber stopper is flat so that it's easy to line up with the scale marks.

Latex-free: Recognizing that latex sensitivity is an issue in the healthcare environment, BD insulin syringes and pen needles do not contain natural rubber latex.

Smooth needles: Other needles can have microscopic burrs or imperfections in the steel, which can cause injections to be painful. BD's manufacturing processes have virtually eliminated such imperfections.

Lubricant: BD needles are coated with a low-friction lubricant to create a smoother edge that makes injecting easier and less painful.

Quality Control: BD inspects each and every one of our needles during the manufacturing process to ensure the very highest quality.

When insulin syringe users were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with their chosen brands, BD users rated BD products higher than did the users of other brands on these important characteristics:

  • Ease of penetrating the skin
  • Overall quality of the syringe
  • Sharpness of the needle
  • Ease of dispensing the total dosage
  • Ease of measuring to the correct dose line
  • Ease of reading the scale on the syringe
  • Consistent quality from syringe to syringe
  • Comfort of injection into the skin
  • Smooth action of the plunger when drawing up insulin
12. Do you offer coupons or other ways to cut down on supply costs?

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Diabetes Supply Special Offers:

Special offers on BD diabetes products occur throughout the year. Visit http://www.bddiabetes.com/us/news/update.asp and sign up to receive
promotional announcements from BD.

13. Many pregnant women with diabetes are afraid to inject insulin. What products or tips can you offer for people who are afraid of shots?

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Insulin Injections - Fear, Anxiety, Scared, Afraid....:

For people who are nervous about sticking an insulin needle through their skin or uncomfortable watching the insulin go into their skin, an automatic injector - such as the BD™ Inject-Ease® Automatic Injector - is a solution that can make the injecting process much easier.

BD™ Inject-Ease® Automatic Injector works in five easy steps:

  1. Draw up the proper insulin dose with your syringe.
  2. Place the syringe in the injector. (When loaded, the needle will be covered by the injector.)
  3. Place the tip of the injector against the injection site.
  4. Press the button. A spring-loaded mechanism quickly inserts the needle into your skin and out of your sight.
  5. Push in the plunger to inject the insulin.

This product can be ordered by your local pharmacy.
BD Catalog # 328245
NDC/HRI # 08290-3282-45

INJECT-EASE is a trademark of Palco Laboratories.



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This is not a health care site. The editor is not a health care professional, is not qualified, and does not give medical or mental health advice.

Everyone is different in regards to what kind of regimen is needed (diet, exercise, medication, dosages, tests, etc).

Please consult with qualified professionals in order to find the right regimen and treatment for you. Do not make changes without consulting your health care team. .

Because this site is for all diabetics at all stages of life and everyone has different needs, some information may not be appropriate for you (for example, information for nonpregnant diabetics or for someone with type 1 diabetes might not pertain to someone with gestational diabetes). Keep this in mind and always consult with your healthcare team.

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