Diabetes in pregnancy can be dangerous for mom and baby. If not well-controlled, complications from type 1 and type 2 diabetes can arise. To reduce your risks, you and your OBGYN will determine a plan for careful monitoring and control before, during and after pregnancy.
Complications from Pregnancy with Diabetes
Some possible complications from poorly controlled type 1 or type 2 diabetes in pregnancy include:
- Birth Defects can be caused during early pregnancy. Organs begin forming and developing during the first two months of pregnancy, and uncontrolled blood sugar may result in birth defects, especially to the brain, spine and heart.
- Preeclampsia is high blood pressure during pregnancy, along with protein in your urine and swelling of your fingers and toes. Since women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are known to have a higher risk of high blood pressure, your OBGYN will monitor you closely for preeclampsia. Preeclampsia comes with significant risks and requires careful monitoring by your OBGYN to prevent your baby being born prematurely and maternal seizure or stroke during labor and delivery.
- Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can easily occur with insulin and other medications for diabetes and is a serious, potentially fatal, condition. Following birth, your baby may experience low blood sugar. Your OBGYN will monitor the baby’s blood sugar levels for several hours after birth.
- Delivery Complications are not uncommon in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The baby can experience high blood sugar throughout pregnancy, causing him or her to grow larger. Your OBGYN may recommend delivering a larger than average baby through a Cesarean Section, or C-section, which lengthens your recovery time post-birth.
- Pre-Term Birth can mean your baby is delivered before he or she has fully developed and is more likely in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This can lead to problems with the heart, brain and intestines, as well as problems with breathing or vision. Also, with pre-term birth your baby will be required to remain in the hospital for several weeks or months following delivery.
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth is the death of the baby in the womb before 20 weeks or after 20 weeks, respectively. Both miscarriage and stillbirth occur in greater numbers in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes does not mean you cannot carry and deliver a healthy baby. It does, however, require a carefully monitored and well-controlled plan that you create with your OBGYN. Call our office if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are planning to get pregnant.