Diabetes in Pregnancy – Risk and Management

The increase in the cases of diabetes among women necessitated the study of diabetes in pregnancy because every woman will want to have a baby someday. If you are diabetic and want to learn its effects in pregnancy then read on.

For the benefit of clarity, this article is targeted to women that suffer from diabetes before pregnancy. In other words, it is about diabetic women that are searching for how to handle diabetes when pregnant.

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It is different from gestational diabetes, which only occurs during pregnancy and disappears after childbirth.

You can read about gestational diabetes Here.

Detailed research by CDC (center for disease control) show that between the year 2000 to 2010 the number of women with type 1 and 2 diabetes before pregnancy increased by 37%. Therefore, there is a need to educate every woman on the danger of diabetes in pregnancy.

In bringing the facts about this health challenge, we covered the effect of diabetes on the pregnant woman and the unborn baby.

Before then what really is the difference between diabetes 1 and 2 or what is diabetes?

For the benefit of all, we will start by explaining in details what diabetes is, and the possible causes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorder that leads to high blood sugar level over a long period of time. In other words, the pancreas of a diabetic patient does not produce enough insulin to regulate the body sugar level. Or the body does not respond properly to the produced insulin.

Type I Diabetes

Before now, type 1 diabetes is known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. This means it was common among children and it is primarily caused as a result of the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin or produced little that is not enough to regulate the body sugar level.

Type 2 diabetes

In this case, the body cell fails to respond to insulin properly. This is common among adults, which is why it is also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes.

Further research on diabetes in pregnancy reveal that women between the ages of 40 and 65 are prone to have type 2 diabetes, which means age greatly increase the chances of having this health problem in women.

Effects of Diabetes in Pregnant Woman

The effect of diabetes on pregnancy can be devastating if not properly handled. High blood sugar level is harmful both on the mother and fetus, therefore should not be treated with kid gloves.

To the woman, diabetes in pregnancy increases the chances of early labor, birth defect or increasing the chances of cesarean delivery.

Effects of diabetes on the Unborn Child

The risk of the unborn baby is usually high when the mother is diabetic. It can lead to miscarriage, growth restriction or acceleration, fetal obesity (macrosomia), mild neurological deficits and birth defects.

Research shows that 4 to 11% of babies born by diabetic women had defects compared to babies born by mothers free from diabetics.

Effects of Diabetes on the Born Baby

Babies born by diabetic mothers are prone to develop a serious respiratory problem because the infant lungs usually under develop.

Also, a health challenge known as hypoglycemia can occur after birth. In this case, the babies blood sugar level is low and may cause the baby to produce extra insulin.

In fact, there are increased symptoms of ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in babies born by mother with high sugar level.

Diabetes in Pregnancy – Treatment

Despite billions of dollars dedicated to the research on diabetes treatment, little or no success has been recorded regarding its cure. So, is all hope lost?

No is the answer, a lot has been achieved in the area of managing diabetes both in type 1 and type 2.  Therefore, to every woman out there that is diabetic, there are a set of rules to follow that ensure you conceive and have safe delivery at the end of the day.

Preconception Health Care

Every diabetic woman must undergo what is professionally known as preconception health care.  Preconception health refers to that stage a man or woman is at the prime of childbirth. It centers on taking steps now that will ensure the safe delivery of babies in good health conditions.

Therefore, the preconception health care a diabetic woman needs is to discuss with her doctor on the exact steps before conceiving.

Most times, this process starts between 2 and 3 months before conceiving. One of the things need to be done is to regulate the sugar level near normal through the use of insulin injection other than oral diabetes medication.

Diabetes in Pregnancy – Total Management

It has been established by research conducted in 2016 by Cochrane that no scientific evidence reveals the exact sugar level in a diabetic patient that is safe for both mothers and babies. Yet there are comprehensive management steps that have yielded a great result in dealing with diabetes in pregnancy. Otherwise, known as diabetes in pregnancy guidelines

Generally, diabetes in pregnancy can be effectively managed through dieting (pregnancy diabetes diet) increased physical training (exercise) and instituted insulin treatment.


Dieting plays a very huge and vital role when managing diabetes, therefore should be taken so seriously. After all, you are what you eat. This means healthy eating will make you a healthy person.

To manage blood sugar level through dieting means you have to cut down sweets, eat three small meals and one to three snacks a day.

Also, you have to maintain proper meal time and consume more fruits, vegetable, and grain because they have high fiber content, which helps in reducing sugar level in the body.


The positive effect of exercise on a human being cannot be overemphasized. More especially on a diabetic patient, therefore it is imperative you indulge in one or two types of exercise daily. Because you are pregnant or preparing to be, you should indulge in simple, yet effective daily exercises such as walking, swimming, and aerobics.

Instituted Insulin

This is only applicable when other steps listed above have failed to control your body sugar level or keep the sugar level under the desired range. This really prevents diabetes complications when done right.

The desired blood sugar range for a pregnant woman is The below 95 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/l) on awakening, below 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/l) one hour after a meal and below 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/l) two hours after a meal.

This means you have to monitor your blood sugar level regularly and make sure you keep the record of every check you do for a proper medical report.

What is the Effect of Insulin on a Pregnant Woman

It has been scientifically proven that there is no side effect of administering insulin on a pregnant woman and unborn baby. Therefore, if it gets to the point that you will need insulin to control your body sugar level during pregnancy then feel free because it is safe for you and your baby.

Diabetes in Pregnancy – What Next After Birth?

After birth, there are two important things a diabetic mother need do to remain healthy and keep the newborn healthy.

Baby’s Health (Breast Feeding)

The first thing is breastfeeding.  Some women wonder if breastfeeding their baby is healthy after being diagnosed with diabetes. The reality is that it is very essential to fully breastfeed your baby because it will lower the chances of the baby developing type 1 diabetes in the future.

In addition, proper breastfeeding of the baby will help the baby maintain healthy body weight during infancy.  Therefore, never relent in giving your baby full-time breast milk. Because it makes him/her healthy and almost immune to other diseases common among infants.

Here are some of the things you have to do before breastfeeding your baby:

  • Plan to have a snack before and after breastfeeding
  • Take enough water or the fluid that are free from caffeine

Mother’s Health

It is obvious that before now, you must have been managing your situation. But as a reminder, we will highlight some of the ways to manage your health after childbirth.

The first thing to do as a diabetic mother is to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.  Because you’re a breastfeeding mother, you have to consider a lot of factors before embarking on the weight loss program.

In fact, you need to consult your doctor who will consider your age and your total health status. It will help in recommending the exact exercise that is fit for you to lose weight.

Eat healthy because you need the right proportion of vitamins, proteins, fluids, and mineral. This helps in satisfying the diet need of the infant. To get this right, you need the service of dietitian that will help you arrange your meal plan professionally.

Diabetes in Pregnancy – Wrap Up

Obviously, the case of diabetes in women or pre-pregnancy diabetes is on the increase today. But studies conducted have shown that early detection and proper health care reduces the danger it poses in pregnancy.

So if you are diabetic and searching for the right information on diabetes in pregnancy then you have it here. But the most important point here is that you should always work with your medical team. Because Every case has a different approach

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