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    Diabetes and Pregnancy

    How Diabetes May Affect Your Baby

    Babies born to women with diabetes are often much bigger, a condition called "macrosomia."

    Because their mothers have high blood sugar levels, they get too much sugar through the placenta. The baby's pancreas senses it and makes more insulin to use it up. That extra sugar gets converted to fat, making a large baby.

    Many hospitals keep an eye on babies of mothers with diabetes for several hours after birth. If you regularly have high blood sugar levels while you're pregnant (and especially in the 24 hours before delivery), your baby may get dangerously low blood sugar right after they're born. Their insulin is based on your high sugar, and when it's suddenly taken away, their blood sugar level drops quickly and they'll need glucose to balance it out.

    Their calcium and magnesium levels may be off, too. Those can be fixed with medication.

    Some babies are too big to be delivered vaginally, and you'll need a cesarean delivery or c-section. Your doctor will keep an eye on your baby's size so you can plan for the safest way to give birth.

    Diabetes Medications

    If you use insulin to control your diabetes, your doctor can tell you how to adjust your dose. Your body will probably need more while you're pregnant, especially during the last 3 months.

    If you take a pill, you may need to switch to insulin. It may not be safe to use some drugs, or you may get better sugar control.


    Changing your what and how you eat will help you avoid problems with your blood sugar levels.

    You'll also need to include more calories for your growing baby. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you figure out how to do that safely.

    Will I Carry My Baby to Term?

    Women with mild diabetes or who are very well controlled often go full-term without any problems.

    However, many doctors prefer to plan for an early delivery, usually around weeks 38-39.

    Blood Sugar During Labor and Delivery

    Labor can be a stressful time for you and the baby. If you've been using insulin during your pregnancy, you may need it when labor begins. You can take it as a shot or get it intravenously.

    Right after delivery, your need for insulin will likely drop quickly.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on January 08, 2015
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