Diabetes and Pregnancy

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You have diabetes and you want to become pregnant. Problem, right? Not necessarily. By planning ahead and working to stay in control of your diabetes, you can increase the chance that you will stay healthy throughout your pregnancy and you will have a healthy baby.

Planning Ahead

If your glucose levels aren’t under control, you need to get them that way before you become pregnant. Some birth defects caused by high glucose levels occur during the first eight weeks of pregnancy – before you may even know you’re pregnant. This is when the baby’s organs are developing.

Uncontrolled diabetes can cause problems for both you and your baby, such as:

  • Birth defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Hydramnios, which an increased amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby. This can lead to preterm labor and delivery.
  • Macrosomia, which is a very large baby. If you have too much glucose in your blood because your glucose levels aren’t controlled, your baby will have too much glucose as well and can grow too large. This can make delivery difficult and increase your chance of your baby needing a caesarian delivery.

Controlling Your Glucose

Controlling your glucose depends on you taking your medications, eating right, and exercising as your doctor tells you to do.

  • Taking your medications – Your doctor may increase the dosage of your insulin or other medications while you are pregnant. If you don’t normally take insulin, your doctor may recommend it while you are pregnant. Insulin is safe for the baby and won’t cause any birth defects.
  • Eating right – Your baby depends on the food you eat for nourishment to help him or her grow and develop properly. Eating well is important for his or her health as well as for yours. Not eating properly could cause your glucose levels to go too high or too low. It’s important to eat healthy foods and not skip meals.
  • Exercising – Staying active will help your glucose stay in the normal range. It will also give you other benefits, such as helping you control your weight during pregnancy, improving your energy levels, helping you sleep better, and reducing some of the discomforts of pregnancy such as backaches, constipation, and bloating.

Labor and Delivery

Your doctor will closely monitor the health of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. She or he may induce labor earlier than your due date as a precaution if health problems for either of you arise. When you’re in labor, your doctor will monitor your glucose and give you insulin if necessary. Babies born to mothers with diabetes may have problems with breathing, low glucose levels, or jaundice. But if you have worked to control your glucose levels during pregnancy, there is a lower risk of your baby having health complications.

Once your baby is born, experts highly recommend you breastfeed. It’s the best nutrition for the baby, plus it will help you lose extra weight you may have gained during pregnancy.


It’s an exciting time when you start planning for a baby! But if you have diabetes, we recommend you start your planning by talking to your doctor.

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