Woman holding baby

Gestational Diabetes Care

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy. Whether you have a preexisting diabetes diagnosis or develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, our care team will work to reduce risks and keep you and your baby healthy. Services include:

  • Specialized medical care & monitoring
  • Meal planning and nutrition education support
  • Post-partum care

What is pregestational diabetes?

Pregestational or preexisting diabetes refers to type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus that is diagnosed before pregnancy. If you have diabetes and are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about:

  • Your diet, A1c goal and weight
  • Regular exercise and blood sugar checks
  • Taking medicine as prescribed
  • Whether your immunizations are up-to-date and whether you're getting enough folic acid
  • The safety of any prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements you take
  • Your cholesterol, thyroid, eyes, and blood pressure, to see if you need treatment changes
  • The possible risks to your baby

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones prevent your body from using insulin properly. It usually ends after pregnancy. The risk of getting gestational diabetes again the next time you are pregnant is high. Some women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy later develop regular diabetes when they are not pregnant.

Pregnancy risks with gestational or pregestational diabetes

Your diabetes will put your baby at risk for birth defects. This is especially true if you don't keep your blood sugar in your target range during early pregnancy. High blood sugar while you are pregnant can cause problems. For example:

  • The baby may be larger than expected. This may require a C-section delivery. There is also a risk of newborn nerve damage from pressure in the womb.
  • High blood pressure or preeclampsia can hurt the mother and unborn baby. The baby may be born too early. High blood pressure can also cause seizures or stroke.
  • The mother's blood sugar can become too low during pregnancy. This is a serious problem that can lead to death if not controlled during pregnancy.
  • The baby can have low blood sugar after birth
  • Miscarriage: there is an increased risk of losing the baby before birth.

Help with high-risk pregnancies

MaineHealth maternal-fetal medicine services provide expert care for high-risk pregnancies. Our goal is to keep you and your baby healthy and safe.

Talk to your doctor about keeping your diabetes under control during pregnancy. Here are some ways to control blood sugar and be healthy during pregnancy:

  • Eat healthy foods. Ask your provider about seeing a dietitian who can help you plan meals.

  • Exercise regularly. Check with your provider about the best exercise plan for you.

  • Check your blood sugar as instructed by your provider.

  • Take your medication/insulin as prescribed. Be sure to follow your provider’s directions for taking all of your medications.

  • For patients with gestational diabetes, get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after delivery.

High level of newborn care

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital has highly trained specialists and provides 24-hour care for newborns.