How To Decrease Sugar During Pregnancy?

How To Decrease Sugar During Pregnancy
Sweets and desserts should be avoided as they may lead to high blood sugar levels.

  1. Eat 3 meals and 2–3 snacks per day.
  2. Measure your servings of starchy foods.
  3. One 8-ounce cup of milk at a time.
  4. One small portion of fruit at a time.
  5. Eat more fiber.
  6. Breakfast Matters.
  7. Avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks.

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What happens if sugar goes high during pregnancy?

Easy Tips to Control Blood sugar during Pregnancy | Pregnancy Diabetes – Dr. Poornima Murthy

Complications that may affect your baby – If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

Excessive birth weight. If your blood sugar level is higher than the standard range, it can cause your baby to grow too large. Very large babies — those who weigh 9 pounds or more — are more likely to become wedged in the birth canal, have birth injuries or need a C-section birth. Early (preterm) birth. High blood sugar may increase the risk of early labor and delivery before the due date. Or early delivery may be recommended because the baby is large. Serious breathing difficulties. Babies born early may experience respiratory distress syndrome — a condition that makes breathing difficult. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Sometimes babies have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia may cause seizures in the baby. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby’s blood sugar level to normal. Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Stillbirth. Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.

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Can I give birth naturally if I have diabetes?

You should be able to. Having gestational diabetes (GD) doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have your baby vaginally, You’ve got a better chance of having a birth without any interventions, such as induction or caesarean section, if you can keep your blood sugar levels stable during pregnancy.

  1. However, your obstetrician will recommend that you don’t go past your due date, even if you’ve been able to control gestational diabetes well.
  2. She’ll recommend that your labour is induced if it hasn’t started by 40 weeks.
  3. If you’ve had complications in your pregnancy, or if you’ve needed medication to control your GD, you’ll have a check-up with your doctor at 38 weeks.

Depending on how things are going, your doctor may recommend that you have an induction, or a planned caesarean, between 38 weeks and 39 weeks. The reason for your doctor’s caution is that with poorly controlled GD, you’re more likely to:

develop pre-eclampsia have a big baby (macrosomia), with a birth weight of 4.5kg (9lb 15oz) or more

Expecting a big baby doesn’t rule out vaginal birth. Almost two thirds of big babies are born vaginally. Getting into the right labour positions can help your baby to be born without needing an episiotomy, or assisted birth, It’s sensible to have a discussion with your doctor and midwife, though, because there are risks involved in giving birth vaginally to a big baby.

The biggest worry is shoulder dystocia, Shoulder dystocia happens when your baby’s shoulders get stuck behind the bones in your pelvis as she’s being born. This is a particular risk for mums with poorly controlled GD, because the extra blood sugar makes babies grow big around their shoulders and chest.

If your baby is over 4.5kg (9lb 15oz), there is a one in 13 chance of shoulder dystocia happening during birth. This increases to a one in seven chance if your baby is over 5kg (11lb). Giving birth to a big baby can also leave you with problems. It raises your risk of:

having a bigger tear in the area around your vagina (perineum) losing a lot of blood having damage to your tailbone (coccyx)

An advantage of having your labour induced a little before your due date is that it will stop your baby putting on too much weight in the final weeks of your pregnancy. Not all women with GD have big babies, especially when blood sugar is well-controlled. There is plenty you can do now to make sure your blood sugar stays stable:

eat a healthy diet for GD exercise regularly keep pregnancy weight gain under control

Talk to other mums who have gestational diabetes in our friendly community, Jenny Leach is an editor and writer specialising in evidence-based health content.
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What happens to baby if mother is diabetic?

A fetus (baby) of a mother with diabetes may be exposed to high blood sugar (glucose) levels, and high levels of other nutrients, throughout the pregnancy. There are two forms of diabetes during pregnancy:

Gestational diabetes – high blood sugar (diabetes) that starts or is first detected during pregnancyPre-existing or pre-gestational diabetes – already having diabetes before becoming pregnant

If diabetes is not well controlled during pregnancy, the baby is exposed to high blood sugar levels. This can affect the baby and mother during pregnancy, at the time of birth, and after birth. Infants of diabetic mothers (IDM) are often larger than other babies, especially if diabetes is not well-controlled.

This may make vaginal birth harder and may increase the risk for nerve injuries and other trauma during birth. Also, cesarean births are more likely. An IDM is more likely to have periods of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth, and during first few days of life. This is because the baby has been used to getting more sugar than needed from the mother.

They have a higher insulin level than needed after birth. Insulin lowers the blood sugar. It can take days for babies’ insulin levels to adjust after birth. IDMs are more likely to have:

Breathing difficulty due to less mature lungsHigh red blood cell count (polycythemia)High bilirubin level (newborn jaundice)Thickening of the heart muscle between the large chambers (ventricles)

If diabetes is not well-controlled, chances of miscarriage or stillborn child are higher. An IDM has a higher risk of birth defects if the mother has pre-existing diabetes that is not well controlled from the very beginning. The infant is often larger than usual for babies born after the same length of time in the mother’s womb (large for gestational age).

Blue skin color, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing (signs of immature lungs or heart failure)Poor sucking, lethargy, weak crySeizures (sign of severe low blood sugar)Poor feedingPuffy faceTremors or shaking shortly after birthJaundice (yellow skin color)

Before the baby is born:

Ultrasound in the last few months of pregnancy can monitor the size of the baby relative to the opening to the birth canal.Lung maturity testing may be done on the amniotic fluid. This is VERY rarely done but may be helpful if the due date was not determined early in pregnancy. Delivery before 39 weeks is not generally recommended for IDMs.

After the baby is born:

The baby’s blood sugar will be checked within the first hour or two after birth, and rechecked regularly until it is consistently normal. This may take a day or two, or even longer.The baby will be watched for signs of trouble with the heart or lungs.The baby’s bilirubin will be checked before going home from the hospital, and sooner if there are signs of jaundice.An echocardiogram may be done to look at the size of the baby’s heart.

All infants who are born to mothers with diabetes should be tested for low blood sugar, even if they have no symptoms. Efforts are made to ensure the baby has enough glucose in the blood:

Feeding soon after birth may prevent low blood sugar in mild cases. Even if the plan is to breastfeed, the baby may need some formula during the first 8 to 24 hours if the blood sugar is low.Many hospitals are now giving dextrose (sugar) gel inside the baby’s cheek instead of giving formula if there is not enough mother’s milk.Low blood sugar that does not improve with feeding is treated with fluid containing sugar (glucose) and water given through a vein (IV).In severe cases, if the baby needs large amounts of sugar, fluid containing glucose must be given through an umbilical (belly button) vein for several days.

Rarely, the infant may need breathing support or medicines to treat other effects of diabetes. High bilirubin levels are treated with light therapy (phototherapy). In most cases, an infant’s symptoms go away within hours, days, or a few weeks. However, an enlarged heart may take several months to get better.

Congenital heart defects.High bilirubin level (hyperbilirubinemia).Immature lungs. Neonatal polycythemia (more red blood cells than normal). This may cause a blockage in the blood vessels or hyperbilirubinemia.Small left colon syndrome. This causes symptoms of intestinal blockage.Difficulty with delivery due to large size of the baby (if blood sugar is not well controlled).

If you are pregnant and getting regular prenatal care, routine testing will show if you develop gestational diabetes. If you are pregnant and have diabetes that is not under control, call your provider right away. If you are pregnant and are not receiving prenatal care, call a provider for an appointment.

Women with diabetes need special care during pregnancy to prevent problems. Controlling blood sugar can prevent many problems. Carefully monitoring the infant in the first hours and days after birth may prevent health problems due to low blood sugar. IDM; Gestational diabetes – IDM; Neonatal care – diabetic mother Garg M, Devaskar SU.

Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism in the neonate. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin’s Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine: Diseases of the Fetus and Infant,11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 86. Landon MB, Catalano PM, Gabbe SG.

  • Diabetes mellitus complicating pregnancy.
  • In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds.
  • Gabbe’s Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies,8th ed.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 45.
  • Moore TR, Hauguel-De Mouzon S, Catalano P.
  • Diabetes in pregnancy.
  • In: Resnik R, Lockwood CJ, Moore TR, Greene MF, Copel JA, Silver RM, eds.

Creasy and Resnik’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice,8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019: chap 59. Sheanon NM, Muglia LJ. The endocrine system. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,21st ed.

Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 127. Updated by: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M.

Editorial team.
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Does diabetes when pregnant go away?

5 Tips for Women with Gestational Diabetes –

Eat Healthy Foods Eat healthy foods from a meal plan made for a person with diabetes. A dietitian can help you create a healthy meal plan. Learn more about diabetes meal planning, A dietitian can also help you learn how to control your blood sugar while you are pregnant. To find a registered dietician near you, please visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website,

Exercise Regularly Exercise is another way to keep blood sugar under control. It helps to balance food intake. After checking with your doctor, you can exercise regularly during and after pregnancy. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. This could be brisk walking, swimming, or actively playing with children. Learn more about physical activity during pregnancy » Monitor Blood Sugar Often Because pregnancy causes the body’s need for energy to change, blood sugar levels can change very quickly. Check your blood sugar often, as directed by your doctor. Take Insulin, If Needed Sometimes a woman with gestational diabetes must take insulin. If insulin is ordered by your doctor, take it as directed in order to help keep blood sugar under control. Get Tested for Diabetes after Pregnancy Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years.For most women with gestational diabetes, the diabetes goes away soon after delivery. When it does not go away, the diabetes is called type 2 diabetes. Even if the diabetes does go away after the baby is born, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. It’s important for a woman who has had gestational diabetes to continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet after pregnancy to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes. She should also remind her doctor to check her blood sugar every 1 to 3 years.

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Women who had gestational diabetes or who develop prediabetes can also learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs. To find a CDC-recognized lifestyle change class near you, or join one of the online programs,
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Can stress cause gestational diabetes?

1. Introduction – Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as carbohydrate intolerance resulting in hyperglycemia with first onset or detection during pregnancy, accounting for 86% of hyperglycemia during pregnancy, Compared to healthy pregnant women, pregnant women with GDM are more likely to develop maternal and infant complications and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, and metabolic disorders after delivery,

  1. The mental health problems of pregnant women, especially the mental state of GDM, a high-risk group, have attracted a great attention from scholars all over the world.
  2. Studies in this population show that apart from physiological factors, anxiety and depression are also important causes of gestational diabetes,

However, there is no unified conclusion regarding the correlation between anxiety and depression and GDM. On the one hand, the study found that anxiety and depression can lead to chronic hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hyperactivity, resulting in increased release of cortisol and insulin resistance, increasing risk of developing GDM in pregnant women.

At the same time, the diagnosis of GDM may increase the risk of antenatal or postnatal depression through a reverse mechanism, This suggests that there may be a two-way relationship between gestational diabetes and anxiety and depression. However, on the other hand, some studies believe that anxiety and depression do not increase the incidence of GDM in pregnant women, and the diagnosis of GDM does not increase the risk of prenatal or postnatal depression,

There is currently no consensus on the relationship between anxiety and depression and GDM. We therefore conducted a systematic review of the relevant literature to further explore the bidirectional relationship between anxiety and depression and GDM.
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How can I stabilize my blood sugar overnight?

Work it out – Exercise can also help you manage your morning highs. If you have waning insulin, an after-dinner walk or other workout can help keep your blood sugar down overnight. But use caution when exercising before bedtime. The blood sugar-lowering effects of exercise can last for hours, so if you work out before bed, you risk going low overnight.
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What are the chances of birth defects with diabetes?

This sheet is about having diabetes in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a medical condition where the body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use insulin correctly.

Insulin is a hormone that helps sugar (glucose) move from our bloodstream into the cells in our body. Cells use this glucose for energy to function. When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood (hyperglycemia). These higher than normal sugar levels can lead to damage of blood vessels, nerves, and organs like the eyes and kidneys.

Is there more than one type of diabetes? There are different types of diabetes. This sheet will talk about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is another kind of diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. Type 1 diabetes (once called juvenile-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) is a condition where the body does not make enough insulin, or might not make any insulin at all.

  1. People with Type 1 diabetes need insulin injections and close monitoring to control their blood sugar levels.
  2. Type 2 diabetes (once called adult-onset diabetes) is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin the body does make is not able to work well.
  3. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their condition with exercise and changes to their diet.

Others may need insulin or other medications. I have diabetes and I am planning on getting pregnant. Is there anything I need to know? Speak with your healthcare providers before becoming pregnant to determine the best treatment plan to keep your blood glucose levels under control before and during pregnancy.

Along with medications, you and your healthcare team should develop a personalized diet and exercise plan as soon as possible, preferably before pregnancy. The hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) blood test can be done to look at glucose levels over the past 2-3 months. Ideally, HbA1c levels should be within the normal range before pregnancy.

Some healthcare providers will recommend home blood glucose testing to check the sugar levels more often during pregnancy. If you take insulin or other medication to control your diabetes, you can contact a MotherToBaby specialist to learn more about the use of your specific medication(s) while pregnant and/or breastfeeding.

Well-controlled glucose levels are when your levels are in the range that works best for you. Uncontrolled or poorly-controlled diabetes means your blood sugar levels are too high, even if you’re treating your condition. What is considered well-controlled, poorly-controlled, and uncontrolled can vary from person to person.

According to the American Diabetes Association, for people with pre-existing type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant, ideal glucose levels are:

Fasting glucose 70-95 mg/dL (3.9-5.3 mmol/L) and HbA1c <6.0% and either One-hour postprandial glucose 110-140 mg/dL (6,1-7,8 mmol/L) or Two-hour postprandial glucose 100-120 mg/dL (5,6-6,7 mmol/L)

However, because every person and every pregnancy are different, it is important to work with your healthcare team to determine your glucose goals. I have diabetes. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant? Having diabetes can make it harder to become pregnant. Different factors, such as obesity, being underweight, having complications related to diabetes, and/or having conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect a person’s ability to get pregnancy. Having appropriate blood sugar control and a healthy body weight may help with conception. For more information on obesity, please see our fact sheet:, Does having diabetes increase the chance for miscarriage? Miscarriage can occur in any pregnancy. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and whose glucose levels are not in control have an increased chance for miscarriage. Can diabetes cause birth defects? Every pregnancy starts with a 3-5% chance of having a birth defect. This is called the background risk. Most babies born to people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are not born with birth defects. However, high glucose levels during pregnancy increase the chance that a baby will be born with birth defects. High glucose levels have the greatest effect early in pregnancy, possibly before a person knows they are pregnant. These risks are thought to be highest when hemoglobin A1C levels are above 8% or the average blood glucose is >180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L). As hemoglobin A1C levels go above 8%, the chance of birth defects increases. For people who are pregnant and have poor control of their diabetes, the chance for a baby to be born with birth defects is about 6-10% (about 1 in 16 to 1 in 10). For those with extremely poor control in the first trimester, there may be up to a 20% (1 in 5) chance for birth defects. These birth defects can include spinal cord defects (spina bifida), heart defects, skeletal defects, and defects of the urinary, reproductive, and digestive systems. Can diabetes cause pregnancy complications? People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and whose glucose levels are not in control have an increased chance for stillbirth. There is also a higher chance of pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure), more amniotic fluid around the baby then usual (polyhydramnios), and delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy (preterm delivery). Babies born to people with diabetes might also have trouble breathing, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes) at birth. People with poorly-controlled diabetes are more likely to have large babies (called macrosomia). Some babies could weigh over 10 pounds. In some cases when ultrasound shows macrosomia, the healthcare provider may advise delivery of the baby by C-section rather than by vaginal delivery in order to reduce the chance of injuries to the mother and the baby. On the other hand, babies born to people with poorly-controlled diabetes might not get the nutrition they need before birth to grow typically, and could be smaller than expected. Chances for growth issues are lower when blood sugar levels are in the normal range in pregnancy. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who have other medical issues such as high blood pressure or obesity have a higher chance for pregnancy complications. Can having type 1 or type 2 diabetes in pregnancy cause long-term complications for the baby? People born to those with diabetes have an increased chance of also developing diabetes later in life. This is thought to be caused by both genetics and diabetes management during pregnancy (whether glucose is controlled). Some studies suggest that poorly-controlled diabetes during pregnancy could affect neurodevelopment, although the data from these studies is limited. What kinds of tests are recommended during pregnancy for people with diabetes? Your healthcare providers will follow you and your developing baby’s health closely during the pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can discuss any screenings that are recommended to help monitor your diabetes and pregnancy. Some might include:

Blood screenings to measure certain proteins the baby makes that cross into the mother’s blood. The levels of these proteins can give information on a baby’s chances of having certain birth defects such as spina bifida. Ultrasounds to look at the baby, the placenta, and the fluid around the baby. People who are pregnant and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes may need to have more ultrasounds than someone without diabetes to monitor the growth of the baby and look at amniotic fluid levels. HbA1c blood test to check glucose levels throughout pregnancy. Nonstress tests in the third trimester to monitor the baby and amniotic fluid levels. Eye exam before pregnancy and in the first trimester. People with diabetes may develop an eye problem called retinopathy, which can lead to vision problems. People with poorly-controlled diabetes may find that this condition worsens during pregnancy.

I have to take medication for diabetes. Should I stop? Talk with your healthcare providers before making any changes to how you take your medications. Diabetes that is uncontrolled or not well-controlled can cause miscarriage, birth defects, pregnancy complications, and stillbirth.

People who are using insulin to control their diabetes may need a higher dose, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Talk with your healthcare provider if you find out that you are pregnant. They can go over the benefits of taking your medication versus the risk of an untreated condition. You can also discuss your medications with a MotherToBaby specialist.

If I have diabetes will I be able to breastfeed my baby? There are health benefits of breastfeeding and people with diabetes should be supported if they want to breastfeed. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should make sure their glucose levels are well-controlled when breastfeeding.

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Some research has found that high maternal glucose can overflow into the breast milk as sugar. Diabetes can slow down the production of milk. Insulin is necessary for milk production, so this may partly explain why people with diabetes are slow to produce milk. I take medication for my diabetes. Can I breastfeed? Insulin is a normal part of breastmilk.

It does not cross over into breast milk in large amounts, and is not expected to cause problems for the breastfed baby. People using oral medications to treat their diabetes should monitor the baby for jitteriness, a sign of low blood sugar. If the baby has symptoms, contact the child’s healthcare provider.

  1. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all of your breastfeeding questions.
  2. How will breastfeeding affect my blood sugar levels? People with diabetes will often experience lowered blood sugar after nursing.
  3. Many people require less insulin while breastfeeding.
  4. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more carefully and adjust your insulin dose.

If a male has diabetes, could it affect fertility (ability to get partner pregnant) or increase the chance of birth defects? It is possible for males with poorly-controlled type 1 or type 2 diabetes to have fertility problems. However, there is no evidence to suggest that a male’s use of medications to treat diabetes would increase the chance of birth defects in a pregnancy.

In general, exposures that fathers and sperm donors have are unlikely to increase risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet Paternal Exposures at, Please click here for references. OTIS/MotherToBaby encourages inclusive and person-centered language.

While our name still contains a reference to mothers, we are updating our resources with more inclusive terms. Use of the term mother or maternal refers to a person who is pregnant. Use of the term father or paternal refers to a person who contributes sperm.
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Can diabetes cause birth defects?

What is preexisting diabetes? Diabetes is a condition in which your body has too much sugar in the blood (called blood sugar or glucose). Preexisting diabetes (also called pregestational diabetes) means you have diabetes before you get pregnant. This is different from gestational diabetes, which is a kind of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy.

Women with diabetes can and do have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. But untreated diabetes can cause complications for both moms and babies. In the United States, about 1 to 2 percent of pregnant women have preexisting diabetes. The number of women with diabetes during pregnancy has increased in recent years.

When you eat, your body breaks down sugar and starches from food into glucose to use for energy. Your pancreas (an organ behind your stomach) makes a hormone called insulin that helps your body keep the right amount of glucose in your blood. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin well, so you end up with too much sugar in your blood.

  1. This can cause serious health problems, like heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.
  2. High blood sugar can be harmful to your baby during the first few weeks of pregnancy when his brain, heart, kidneys and lungs begin to form.
  3. Treatment for diabetes can help prevent problems like these.
  4. There are two types of preexisting diabetes.

Managing them before and during pregnancy can help reduce your risk of complications:

Type 1 diabetes. This is when your body doesn’t make insulin. This is because your immune system destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin every day. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, but you can get it at any age. Type 2 diabetes. This is the most common kind of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but doesn’t make or use it well. It most often is diagnosed in adults, but you can develop it at any age.

Can preexisting diabetes cause problems during pregnancy? Yes. If it’s not managed well, diabetes can increase your risk for complications during pregnancy, including:

Birth defects, like heart defects and birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (also called NTDs). Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works. Cesarean birth, Cesarean birth (also called c-section) is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus (womb). You may need to have a c-section if you have complications during pregnancy, like your baby being very large (called macrosomia). High blood pressure and preeclampsia, High blood pressure is when the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels is too high. It can stress your heart and cause problems during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working properly. Signs of preeclampsia include having protein in the urine, changes in vision and severe headaches. Macrosomia or fetal growth restriction, These conditions have to do with your baby’s weight. Macrosomia is when a baby weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4,000 grams) at birth. Weighing this much makes your baby more likely to get hurt during labor and birth. And you may need to have a c-section to keep you and your baby safe. Fetal growth restriction (also called small for gestational age) is when a baby doesn’t gain the weight he should before birth. Miscarriage and stillbirth, Miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirth is the death of a baby in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Perinatal depression, This is depression that happens during pregnancy or in the first year after having a baby (also called postpartum depression ). Depression is a medical condition that causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in things you like to do. It can affect how you feel, think and act and can interfere with your daily life. It needs treatment to get better. Preterm labor and premature birth, Preterm labor is labor that starts too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature birth is birth that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are more likely than full-term babies to have health problems at birth and later in life. Women with diabetes are at increased risk for a condition called polyhydramnios, This is when there’s too much amniotic fluid in the sac around your baby. This can lead to preterm labor and premature birth. If there are problems with your pregnancy, your provider may induce your labor, sometimes earlier than your due date. Inducing labor means your provider gives you medicine or breaks your water (amniotic sac) to make your labor begin. Shoulder dystocia or other birth injuries (also called birth trauma). Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during labor and birth. It often happens when a baby is very large. It can cause serious injury to both mom and baby. Complications for moms caused by shoulder dystocia include postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding). For babies, the most common injuries are fractures to the collarbone and arm and damage to the brachial plexus nerves. These nerves go from the spinal cord in the neck down the arm. They provide feeling and movement in the shoulder, arm and hand.

Most babies born to women with preexisting diabetes are healthy after birth. But preexisting diabetes can increase your baby’s risk for health problems, including:

Autism spectrum disorder, A group of developmental disabilities that can cause social, communication and behavior challenges. Developmental disabilities are problems with how the brain works that can cause a person to have trouble or delays in physical development, learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others. Enlarged organs if your baby is very large Jaundice, This is when a baby’s eyes and skin look yellow because his liver isn’t fully developed or isn’t working. Obesity later in life. Obesity is being very overweight. It means you have an excess amount of body fat and a body mass index (also called BMI) of 30 or higher. To find out your BMI, go to, Hypoglycemia (also called low blood sugar) and polycythemia. Polycythemia is when the body makes too many red blood cells which causes the blood to be thick. Respiratory distress syndrome (also called RDS). This is a breathing problem caused when babies don’t have enough surfactant in their lungs. Surfactant is a protein that keeps the small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing.

Pregnancy can make health complications associated with diabetes worse. Some can be life-threatening. Getting regular treatment and managing your diabetes during pregnancy can help you prevent severe complications. What kinds of health care providers do you need to treat preexisting diabetes during pregnancy? To best manage your diabetes during pregnancy, you need a team of health care providers who work together to give you the best all-around care.

Your prenatal care provider Your endocrinologist. This is a doctor who treats people with diabetes and other diseases of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is all the glands in your body that produce hormones that control how your body works.,

Your team also may include other providers, including:

A perinatologist. This is a doctor who treats women with high-risk pregnancies. A diabetes educator. This person has training to help you control your blood sugar. A registered dietitian (also called RD). This health professional has training to help you use diet and nutrition to help you stay healthy. Your baby’s health care provider, especially as you get closer to your baby’s birth

Before you try to get pregnant, make sure each provider knows about your pregnancy plans and the other providers you see. All your providers work together with you to help you get ready for pregnancy and stay healthy during pregnancy. They make sure that any treatment you get is safe for your baby.

Manage your diabetes. Get your diabetes under control 3 to 6 months before you start trying to get pregnant. Make sure all the providers on your health care team know you’re trying to get pregnant. Use birth control until your diabetes is under control and you’re ready to get pregnant. Birth control (also called contraception and family planning) is methods you can use to keep from getting pregnant. Also called contraception or family planning. Methods you can use to keep from getting pregnant. Birth control pills and intrauterine devices (also called IUDs) are examples of birth control. Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid in it every day. Folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. If you take it before pregnancy and during early pregnancy as part of healthy eating, it can help protect your baby from neural tube defects. If you have diabetes, your provider may need more than 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Talk to your provider about the right amount of folic acid for you. Tell your prenatal provider about any medicine you take. Your provider can make sure the medicine is safe for your baby when you do get pregnant. If not, you may need to change to another medicine. Don’t start or stop taking any medicine during pregnancy without talking to your provider team first. Eat healthy foods and do something active every day. Work with your RD or diabetes educator to create a healthy meal plan to help control your blood sugar.

How is preexisting diabetes treated during pregnancy? If you have diabetes, your prenatal care provider wants to see you often during pregnancy so she can monitor you and your baby closely to help prevent problems. At each prenatal care checkup, you get tests to make sure you and your baby are doing well. Tests can include:

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An ultrasound in the second trimester that includes a detailed look at your baby, to check his growth, weight and heart. Ultrasound uses sound waves and a computer screen to show a picture of your baby inside the womb. Tests like the nonstress test and the biophysical profile. The nonstress test checks your baby’s heart rate. The biophysical profile is a nonstress test with an ultrasound.

Your provider tells you how often to check your blood sugar, what your levels should be and how to manage them during pregnancy. Blood sugar is affected by pregnancy, what you eat and drink and how much physical activity you get. What worked for you before pregnancy to control your blood sugar may not work as well during pregnancy.

Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. And keep seeing all the providers on your health care team who help you manage your diabetes. Follow your provider’s directions about how often to check your blood sugar. Call your provider if your blood sugar is too high or too low. Keep a log that includes your blood sugar level every time you check it. Share the log with your provider at each prenatal checkup. If you take insulin, take it exactly as your provider tells you to. You need more insulin during pregnancy, especially between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. Insulin is safe for your baby during pregnancy and labor. Tell your providers about any medicine you take, even medicine that’s not related to your diabetes. Some medicines can be harmful during pregnancy, so your provider may need to change them to ones that are safer for you and your baby. Don’t start or stop taking any medicine during pregnancy without talking to your provider first. Talk to your provider about taking low-dose aspirin. Low-dose aspirin (also called baby aspirin or 81 mg aspirin) can help prevent preeclampsia. You can start taking low-dose aspirin after 12 weeks of pregnancy (before 16 weeks is best). Don’t start or stop taking low-dose aspirin or any other medicine during pregnancy without talking to your provider first. If you don’t have a dietician, get one. Your provider can recommend one for you. An RD can help you learn what, how much and how often to eat to best control your diabetes. She can help you make meal plans and help you know the right amount of weight to gain during pregnancy. Check to see if your health insurance covers treatment from an RD. Eating healthy foods and being active every day can help you manage your diabetes. Ask your provider if you need to have a c-section. Diabetes increases your chances for needing a c-section. If your provider thinks you need to have your baby by c-section, ask about timing. If your diabetes is well controlled, ask about waiting until at least 39 weeks to have your baby. This gives your baby time to grow and develop in the womb before birth. If you have complications during pregnancy, you may need to have your baby earlier.

During labor and birth, your provider watches your glucose level closely. You can take insulin during labor. What is insulin resistance? Some pregnant women with diabetes become insulin resistant. This means your body makes insulin but doesn’t use it well.

During pregnancy, the placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and supplies food and oxygen to your baby through the umbilical cord. The placenta also makes hormones that help your baby develop. But these hormones can make you insulin resistant. You may need more and more insulin the longer you’re pregnant—up to 3 times as much as you needed before pregnancy.

You’re most resistant to insulin in your third trimester. If you have preexisting diabetes, is it OK to breastfeed? Yes. If you have diabetes, it’s safe to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the best food for a baby in the first year of life. It helps him grow healthy and strong.

Talk to your dietician. She can help create a new meal plan to make sure you get all the calories you need for you and your baby. You need about 500 more calories each day for breastfeeding. She may recommend that you eat a healthy snack before or after breastfeeding. Talk to your providers about the amount of insulin you need. You may need less insulin than usual for a few days after giving birth, and breastfeeding can lower the amount even further. It’s safe to take insulin while breastfeeding. Talk to your providers about how often to monitor your blood sugar. If you’re breastfeeding, your providers may want you to check your blood sugar more often than usual.

What are hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia? Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and hyperglycemia is high blood sugar. Both of these conditions are common if you have preexisting diabetes. If you have signs or symptoms of either condition, tell your provider.

  1. Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or you’re coughing.
  2. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others can’t see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy.
  3. If you have preexisting diabetes, you’re more likely to have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during pregnancy.

This can happen if you don’t eat enough or often enough, if you get too much physical activity or if you take too much insulin. It’s usually mild and easily treated by eating or drinking something. But if it’s not treated, it can cause you to pass out.

Being hungry Having a headache Feeling weak, dizzy, shaky, confused, anxious (worried) or cranky Looking pale Sweating Having a fast heart beat

You also may have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), even if you’re being treated for diabetes. You may have hyperglycemia if:

You don’t take your medicine at the right times. You eat more than usual or at irregular times. You’re less active than normal. You’re sick.

If you have hyperglycemia, you may need to change the amount of insulin you take, your meal plan or the amount of physical activity you get. Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

Being thirsty Having a headache Needing to urinate often Felling weak or tired Having trouble paying attention Having blurred vision Having a yeast infection

Your provider can check you for these conditions during pregnancy to make sure you and your baby stay healthy. Last reviewed: April, 2019
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What birth defects are caused by diabetes?

Effects of Diabetes on the Baby Diabetes Effects on the Baby Diabetes makes a pregnancy high risk. This is because diabetes can cause many potentially negative effects on the baby as well as the mother. Blood sugar is the baby’s food source and it passes from the mother through the placenta to the baby. When a woman has diabetes and her blood sugars are poorly controlled (too high), excess amounts of sugar are transported to the baby. Since the baby does not have diabetes, he/she is able to increase the production of insulin substantially in order to use this extra sugar. This abnormal cycle of events can result in several complications including: Macrosomia (large baby) Macrosomia refers to a baby born weighing more than 4,000g (8.8 pounds) or born at greater than the 90 percentile for the gestational age. In response to the excess amounts of sugar that the baby receives, large amounts of insulin are produced by the baby in order to convert the sugar into body fat. That is, the baby is being “overfed” while inside the uterus. As a result, the delivery can be more difficult for the baby and the mother with increased risk for injury to both. In addition, the odds of requiring a cesarean delivery can be much greater when the baby is too large. Most obstetricians perform an ultrasound to estimate the fetal weight before delivery and to determine if it is safe to attempt a vaginal delivery. Trying to deliver a very large baby vaginally, particularly when the mother has diabetes, can result in one of the most frightening obstetrical emergencies, a shoulder dystocia, where the baby’s head delivers but the shoulders are too large to fit through the birth canal. Neonatal Hypoglycemia Neonatal hypoglycemia is defined as low blood sugars in the baby after birth. If the baby’s pancreas is making large amounts of insulin in response to the mother’s high blood sugars, it will continue to do so for a time after delivery. Since the sugar supply from the mother is no longer present once the baby has delivered, blood sugar can drop too low (hypoglycemia, blood sugar < 40 mg/dl). The baby can become fussy, jittery or may even have a seizure or breathing problems. Because of these possible complications, most babies born to women with diabetes will be monitored very closely for the first few hours of life with frequent heel sticks to check their blood sugars. These babies may require more frequent breast or bottle-feeding to maintain their blood sugars at a normal range and in some cases will require intravenous fluids with glucose. Other Neonatal Metabolic Problems In addition to hypoglycemia, the excess insulin can also infrequently be responsible for other metabolic complications such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and imbalances of calcium or magnesium. The chances of a baby being born with diabetes are extremely rare particularly in cases where the mother has gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes tends to run in families and offspring may be at increased risk for developing it in adulthood. Children of mothers with Type 1 diabetes have less than a 5% chance of developing diabetes during childhood. In fact, the baby has a greater risk if his/her father has Type 1 diabetes. Stillbirth When blood sugars are persistently high, blood vessel damage in the placenta and poor oxygen and nutrient supply to the baby can occur. This decrease in oxygen may cause health damage to the baby including death or stillbirth. This rarely occurs in pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes and is more likely to occur if the mother had diabetes (either Type 1 or 2) before the pregnancy (pre-gestational diabetes). Because of this, women with pre-gestational diabetes should be monitored more closely toward the end of pregnancy. Birth Defects In the general population, there is about a 2 to 3% risk for having a baby with a major birth defect. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes do not have a greater risk of birth defects than the general population. In women with pregestational diabetes, this risk is increased about three to fourfold particularly if blood sugars are high during the early weeks of pregnancy. This is the developmental time period when the baby is forming its vital organs. The risk for having a baby with one of these birth defects is directly correlated with how poorly the blood sugar was controlled during the first few weeks of pregnancy. The most common birth defects are those of the brain, spinal cord and heart. The majority of these birth defects can be detected during the first half of the pregnancy with ultrasound studies and prenatal diagnostic tests. Having diabetes does not increase the risk for having a baby with a chromosome problem such as Down syndrome over the age-related risk. The key to minimizing the risks for having a baby with a birth defect is to seek preconception medical care in order to optimize blood sugar control before becoming pregnant. : Effects of Diabetes on the Baby View complete answer

Do diabetics have trouble having kids?

Diabetes in men and women can affect their fertility and chance of having a baby. The risk of fertility difficulties is reduced when the diabetes is well managed.
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