Diabetes – What Are It Risks To An Unborn Child?

Diabetes – What Are It Risks To An Unborn Child?


By Dr. Neeta Shah, Diabetology

Diabetes might cause several health-related problems during your pregnancy which include severe alterations in blood sugar levels and significant side effects resulting from the diabetes medications. It is advisable to consult a doctor to check whether or not the blood sugar levels have been regulated adequately.

If there is a sudden and abnormal increase in the blood sugar levels during the early stages of pregnancy (up until the 13th week), it might result in certain birth defects and an increased possibility of miscarriage. By means of glycosylated hemoglobin test, cholesterol tests, and triglyceride tests, the doctor will steer away the possibilities of any further complication that might occur during pregnancy due to diabetes.

What to do?

  1. To combat high blood sugar level, the dietician might advise you to incorporate more calories into your regular diet which will provide the necessary nutrients for the fetus.
  2. Pregnancy can significantly affect your intake of diabetes-related medications. It is advisable to use insulin instead of pills. You might need to alter some of the prescribed drugs as they might have a reverse effect on your pregnant body.

What can be the possible complications?

If you are suffering from diabetes while you are pregnant, there is a chance that the baby, when born, might be of a large size; a condition referred to as “macrosomia”. If it so happens, the baby will suffer from severely reduced blood sugar levels, calcium and magnesium levels after birth. However, these deficiencies can be fixed with suitable medications.

The primary problem that any pregnant woman diagnosed with diabetes usually experiences during labor is an increased yearning for insulin if one has been using it frequently during the early stages of pregnancy. However, this urge drops significantly after delivery. Also, diabetes in pregnant women can often result in premature delivery.

What are the risks of diabetes to my unborn child?

There are a few potentially negative health risks to the baby when the mother has diabetes:

  1. Macrosomia is a condition in which your baby grows too large due to excess insulin crossing the placenta. A large baby can make vaginal delivery difficult and increase the risk of injury to the baby during the birth process.
  2. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can develop shortly after birth due to high insulin levels. Controlling your own blood sugar can help to lower the risks of hypoglycemia for your baby.
  3. Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes and can sometimes be attributed to diabetes while pregnant. Your pediatric care provider will assist you with a plan to alleviate this condition for your newborn.

Taking Care of Yourself-

Remember, to be a good mom, you have to take good care of yourself. In addition to taking care of your diabetes and eating right, you can take care of yourself by taking the time for physical activity. Active moms provide a good example for their children to follow. Check with your Doctor about how soon after delivery you can safely begin physical activity.