Women who have diabetes can and do bring healthy babies into the world every
day, but with new demands on the body occur in pregnancy. If you are pregnant and
diabetic, you may be considered high risk , which may require additional ultrasounds and
doctors visits. There are three different types of diabetes, each of which can affect an
expectant mother or her baby differently.
Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. This is an
autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attempts to destroy the insulin-
producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is a
metabolic disorder that results when the body cannot make enough insulin.
Gestational diabetes is a condition where the blood glucose level is increased during
pregnancy, In addition, other diabetic symptoms may appear although the woman had
not been previously diagnosed with diabetes.
Early on in pregnancy, hormones can cause an increase in insulin and a
decrease in glucose, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels).
Similarly, hormones can block insulin later in pregnancy and cause a condition called
Through pregnancy as the fetus grows, additional hormones are produced which
increases insulin resistance. While your body is able to overcome insulin resistance,
sometimes it fails and the result is gestational diabetes or a worsening of pre-
Diabetes can affect pregnancy in numerous ways depending on the type of diabetes
you have and to what degree. Some complications include:
birth defects. Overall, major birth defects occur in five to ten perfect of infants born to
insulin-dependent mothers. These birth defects can affect:
High blood sugar levels that occur during the first trimester of pregnancy (12 weeks) can
especially cause birth defects and increase your risk of miscarriage and other diabetes-
If you have diabetes and aren’t pregnant, we recommend scheduling an appointment.
Your provider can give you pre-conception counseling, which will better prepare you for
pregnancy. During your appointment, your doctor will tell you if your diabetes is
controlled well enough for you to safely stop your birth control method. He or she will
likely labs which demonstrate your hemoglobin levels.