Information for Patients
Diabetes and Pregnancy
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. When you are pregnant, high blood sugar levels are not good for your baby.
About seven out of every 100 pregnant women in the United States get gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that happens for the first time when a woman is pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after you have your baby. But it does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes later on. Your child is also at risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Most women get a test to check for diabetes during their second trimester of pregnancy. Women at higher risk may get a test earlier.
If you already have diabetes, the best time to control your blood sugar is before you get pregnant. High blood sugar levels can be harmful to your baby during the first weeks of pregnancy - even before you know you are pregnant. To keep you and your baby healthy, it is important to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible before and during pregnancy.
Either type of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances of problems for you and your baby. To help lower the chances talk to your health care team about
- A meal plan for your pregnancy
- A safe exercise plan
- How often to test your blood sugar
- Taking your medicine as prescribed. Your medicine plan may need to change during pregnancy.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Gestational diabetes Gestational diabetes is a disorder characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Affected women do not have diabetes before they are pregnant, and most of these women go back to being nondiabetic soon after the baby is born. The disease has a 30 to 70 percent chance of recurring in subsequent pregnancies. Additionally, about half of women with gestational diabetes develop another form of diabetes, known as type 2 diabetes, within a few years after their pregnancy.Gestational diabetes is often discovered during the second trimester of pregnancy. Most affected women have no symptoms, and the disease is discovered through routine screening at their obstetrician's office. If untreated, gestational diabetes increases the risk of pregnancy-associated high blood pressure (called preeclampsia) and early (premature) delivery of the baby.Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes tend to be large (macrosomia), which can cause complications during birth. Infants whose mothers have gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop dangerously low blood sugar levels soon after birth. Later in life, these individuals have an increased risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.