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Diabetes and Pregnancy

Regular prenatal care is important for a health pregnancy. Women with diabetes are at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy. They need help and support to check and control their blood sugar. High blood sugar can hurt the baby, even in the early weeks of pregnancy. Having a pre-pregnancy medical exam will check to make sure your blood sugar is normal. Talk to your medical provider about setting goals that include:

  • Diabetes diet that is balanced and healthy
  • Regular exercise
  • Regular checks of your blood sugar
  • Taking medicine as prescribed.

Risk of gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is first diagnosed during pregnancy.  Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones prevent a woman’s body from using her insulin well. Gestational diabetes usually occurs in the middle of a woman’s pregnancy and ends at the end of pregnancy; however women are at risk for recurrent gestational diabetes with subsequent pregnancies as well as development of diabetes outside the setting of pregnancy.

Already have diabetes?

If you already have diabetes, get help from your family doctor, ob-gyn or healthcare provider to control your blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can hurt your health and the health of your baby. Work to bring your diabetes under control before you get pregnant. It can lower the chances of birth defects.

Risk of birth defects

In the first two months of pregnancy, high blood sugar can harm the baby’s developing organs. Babies may be born with birth defects.

  • Extra-large baby: If the mother’s blood sugar is high, the baby also will have high blood sugar. The baby may become extra-large. The mother may need a C-section to deliver her baby. The newborn is at risk of nerve damage from pressure in the womb.   
  • High blood pressure: Women with diabetes may have high blood pressure. They also have a greater risk of a pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. There is a risk of your baby being born too early. The mother also is at greater risk of having a seizure or stroke during labor and delivery.
  • Low blood sugar: Blood sugar can become too low for women taking insulin and other diabetes medicine during pregnancy. Low blood sugar is a serious problem that can lead to death. Women with diabetes during pregnancy need to watch their blood sugar. They need to get medical help quickly if they have low blood sugar. The baby also can have low blood sugar after birth, if diabetes is not controlled during pregnancy.
  • Miscarriage: A woman with diabetes has a greater chance of losing her child before birth.

 

Help with high-risk pregnancies

The Maine Medical Partners Maternal-Fetal medicine clinic provides expert care for high-risk pregnancies. The focus is on keeping Mom and baby healthy and safe.

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