Pregnant With Diabetes

Pregnant With Gestational Diabetes: Impact on the Baby

A woman who has gestational diabetes has less chance of having a baby with a birth defect than does a woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Because gestational diabetes develops later in pregnancy, the baby's organs are already formed.
However, if a women's blood sugar is not controlled, she still has a greater chance of having a stillborn baby than a woman who doesn't have diabetes.
If the woman's blood sugar remains out of control throughout the pregnancy, the baby likely will grow extra large. Out-of-control diabetes causes the baby's blood sugar to be high. Consequently, the baby makes more insulin and uses the extra calories or stores them as fat. The baby is "overfed" and thus grows extra large.
The extra-large baby can cause problems both during and after delivery. Nerve damage to the baby can result from pressure on the baby's shoulder during delivery. In addition, a newborn might have quickly changing blood sugars after delivery. A large baby born to a woman with diabetes might have a greater chance of being obese and/or developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
If a woman who is pregnant with gestational diabetes has problems that lead to a pre-term birth, the baby might have:
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • Bleeding into the brain
  • Intestinal problems
  • Vision problems.
A woman with diabetes might have a baby born on time with low birth weight. A baby with low birth weight might have problems with eating, gaining weight, fighting off infections, and staying warm.

Pregnant With Diabetes: Will My Baby Have Diabetes?

Babies born to mothers with diabetes do not come into the world with diabetes. However, if the mother's diabetes was not controlled during pregnancy, the baby can quickly develop low blood sugar after birth, and must be watched closely until his or her body adjusts the amount of insulin it makes.
Extra-large babies are more likely to become obese and to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. They especially need to develop healthy eating and regular exercise habits as they grow up to lessen the chance of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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