Meet Otto: A happy bundle

As an early graduate of a collaborative clinic for pregnant women with diabetes, he arrived with a healthy birth weight and a bright future.

Sweet baby Otto has no idea how much care and monitoring went into ensuring he would have a healthy birth weight.

At just a few weeks old, all he knows is the love he’s soaking up from his parents, Becky and Ben Norris, and his three adoring—and adorable—sisters, Avery, Ellie and Isabelle.

“Otto is doing really well, and the girls are loving him lots,” Becky said. “I was actually shocked at how small he was at birth.”

He weighed in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and he measured 20 inches long.

That makes little Otto a success story.

Becky, a registered nurse at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, has Type 1 diabetes, which means any pregnancy is high risk. Throughout this pregnancy, she participated in a new Spectrum Health clinic formed especially for pregnant women with diabetes. She and the clinic were featured in a Sept. 23 Health Beat story, “Expecting and have diabetes?

“If the mother’s sugars are higher than they should be, those babies may be more prone to diabetes and obesity themselves,” explained Gail Heathcote, CNM, DNP. High blood glucose levels can also damage the mother’s blood vessels and those in the placenta.

Heathcote is a certified nurse midwife who cares for women with high-risk pregnancies in Spectrum Health’s maternal-fetal medicine program. She helped form the pregnancy and diabetes clinic in collaboration with the Spectrum Health endocrinology group.

One of Becky’s goals was for Otto to weigh less at birth than his sister Isabelle, who tipped the scales at more than 10 pounds just 19 months earlier.

Managing a baby’s birth weight is easier said than done. It takes continuous monitoring of the mother’s blood sugar levels and insulin dosages to keep things in the safe zone.

But the painstaking work is essential: The more tightly a patient controls her diabetes during pregnancy, the better the outcomes for mother and baby.

Becky’s diligence and the close monitoring she received at the clinic paid off.

“Otto’s blood sugars were awesome while in the hospital, and we did not have any issues with him or myself,” she said.

Now that she’s a few weeks postpartum, Becky says her blood sugars are under control and she’s back to her pre-pregnancy insulin amounts.

Her story illustrates the benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration, which encourages patient self-care and accountability, Heathcote said.

“Our group is very dedicated to the wellbeing of high-risk moms and babies, and I’m proud to play a small part,” she said.

Ask your endocrinologist or your OB-GYN for a referral to the pregnancy and diabetes clinic at Spectrum Health’s maternal-fetal medicine program or call 616.391.3681 for more information.

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