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Diabetes and Pregnancy: Is it More Challenging?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jul 29, 2022

    Diabetes and Pregnancy: Is it More Challenging?

    Diabetes, in general, is considered as one of the life-threatening body issues and in pregnancy, it can increase the risks of several body issues to the baby. Read on to learn more about diabetes and pregnancy.

    Ignoring the rise in sugar levels during pregnancy may lead to birth defects and other problems. 

    This is why it is essential for every woman to check their sugar levels during pregnancy and take the right measures to ensure good health. Read on to learn more about diabetes and pregnancy.

    Understanding Diabetes

    Diabetes is a metabolic disease. The human body produces a hormone called insulin that helps store sugar in your cells with the help of blood circulation. Also, it helps to generate energy in the body. 

    In diabetes, either your body is not able to use insulin effectively or make enough insulin hormone. Diabetes is of 3 types namely Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

    • Type 1 Diabetes: In this condition, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin in the body. The only way to keep Type 1 Diabetes in control is by taking daily insulin. 
    • Type 2 Diabetes: In this condition, the body produces little insulin or is unable to use the generated insulin to use blood sugar to produce body energy. Health experts believe proper diet and daily workout with medications can keep type 2 diabetes in control. 
    • Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes is seen in pregnant women with no signs of diabetes in the past. Diabetes can be controlled but sometimes women are recommended to take insulin. 

    Gestational Diabetes

    For each type of diabetes, there are numerous medications available recommended by health experts. But what should you do if you have diabetes and planning to get pregnant? 

    Planning A Baby While Having Diabetes

    One of the most important things to remember about diabetes and pregnancy is that if you want to conceive, it is essential that you should get your blood sugar levels in control for four to seven months before trying. It is because there are higher risks that you and your baby may face due to high blood sugar levels. 

    For mothers, it may risk the chances to worsen kidney conditions, like a urinary tract infection. Also, it can cause a serious medical condition like preeclampsia (sometimes called toxemia) that causes swelling, protein in the urine, and increases blood pressure. Preeclampsia is serious and can be life-threatening for you and your baby.

    Diabetes and Pregnancy: Effects on Babies

    During the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s organs such as their brain, lungs, and limbs develop. High blood sugar levels can have adverse effects on babies in the early stage and can increase the risk of birth defects. 

    Also, high blood sugar levels can increase the risks that your baby might become overweight, experience breathing problems, or born prematurely.

    High blood sugar levels can also increase the risk of miscarriage or fetal death or stillbirth during the second or third trimester.


    Diabetes and Pregnancy: Preparations To Make During Pregnancy

    Below are the pointers to keep in mind for those who have diabetes during pregnancy or before planning for a baby. 

    • Consult your health expert and take proper guidance.
    • Consume the prescribed medicines daily and in a correct or designated manner.
    • Remember that overdosing on medicines will not help to control blood sugar levels.
    • Do not use any medicines without your doctor’s consultation or recommendation.
    • Keep your blood sugar levels in control before or while pregnant.
    • Maintain a diabetes meal plan to eat healthily.
    • Exercise regularly or perform yoga daily.
    • Take vitamins daily.
    • Manage your stress and anxiety.
    • Avoid alcohol and smoking.

    These are some preparations to keep in mind before you are planning to have a baby while having diabetes.

    Key Takeaway

    If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and thinking to conceive, always consult your health expert or health specialist. Having diabetes while planning a baby can increase the risk for a number of complications to both mother and infant. So, it is best to take advice from your doctor. 

    The healthiest and safest way to bring a child into this world is by improving your lifestyle and keeping health issues like diabetes under control. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jul 29, 2022

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