en espaƱol

diabetes in pregnancy

  • Every woman starts out with a 3% to 5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect but uncontrolled diabetes increases that risk.
  • Diabetes is one of the most common risks for birth defects.
  • Women with diabetes should work with their provider to control their diabetes before they get pregnant.
  • Mom’s provider will test her Hemoglobin A1C to see if it is within the normal range. Keeping the A1C in the normal range during the pregnancy will reduce the risks.
  • Some of the birth defects associated with uncontrolled diabetes include birth defects in the spine, heart, bones, urinary tract, reproductive tract, and digestive system.
  • Other risks include greater risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, and polyhydramanios (too much fluid around the baby).
  • At birth, babies born to moms with diabetes are at greater risk for being large (sometimes over 10 pounds), having breathing difficulties, jaundice, and low blood sugar.
  • Not every woman with uncontrolled diabetes will have a baby with a birth defect but the risk increases from that baseline of about 5% to about 20% for very poorly controlled diabetes.
  • During pregnancy, the doctor may recommend different tests, such as an ultrasound and echocardiogram to look at the heart, to determine if the baby is developing properly.
  • Insulin is commonly used to control diabetes during pregnancy and the insulin does not increase the risks for birth defects.
  • Gestational diabetes usually develops later in pregnancy, after those structures like the heart are already formed, so there is less of a risk in pregnancy. But it still needs to be controlled well to prevent the other problems that baby could have at birth such as breathing problems.
  • For breastfeeding, moms should also control their diabetes to help produce milk and to prevent hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, in the infant.