Diabetes During Pregnancy and Baby Risks

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “34 million American’s have diabetes.” Diabetes is a condition that impacts blood sugar levels for a prolonged period of time. There is various type of diabetes including type 1 and type 2. More importantly, diabetes can impact both children and adults. When your blood sugar goes up to high, it can result in various symptoms. Also known as a metabolic disorder, it can at times, be fatal. Unfortunately, pregnancy can result in temporary diabetes in women and pose a risk to an unborn child.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is commonly referred to as “pregnancy diabetes.” It occurs in pregnant women and causes an increase in blood sugar levels throughout the pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. Pregnant women with diabetes can experience the following symptoms:

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  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Excessive weight gain

Oftentimes, pregnant women won’t experience have any symptoms, but if they do and it goes untreated, it can have health consequences for the unborn child. Gestational diabetes impacts the way food is broken down for energy.

The body is not able to make all the insulin it needs for pregnancy and starts to affect the fetus. The body’s glucose can’t go through the process of making energy as it should. Since the glucose is building up in the blood, it can lead to hyperglycemia which can also complicate the women for pregnant women.


Gestational diabetes is often found in women that have never been diagnosed with diabetes before their pregnancy. The doctor will begin to test pregnant women for diabetes within 22-28 weeks because pregnancy diabetes usually occurs during the middle of a pregnancy. Your cells are having a hard time processing sugar around the middle of your pregnancy which is also a very critical stage in your pregnancy.

Each year, “2-10% of all pregnant women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes,” according to a study by the CDC. Gestational diabetes can also go on to develop into type 2 diabetes for many women.

How Can Gestational Diabetes Pose A Risk For Your Baby

If an expecting mother is having problems with her blood sugar. it can result in decreased heart functions for the unborn baby which will result in breathing difficulties. The baby can experience rapid breathing due to an enlarged heart muscle as a result of diabetes. Because the baby is still forming, gestational diabetes can have an impact on the baby during the pregnancy and after they’re born.

With gestational diabetes, the unborn baby is not getting enough oxygen from their mother’s blood and this can result in birth defects also. Another sign that a mother had gestational diabetes that had an impact on their child is abnormally large birth weight. Your doctor can confirm if this is a result of having diabetes while you’re pregnant. Other symptoms gestational diabetes can have on an unborn baby include:

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  • Hypoglycemia
  • High red blood count (thickening the blood)
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Jaundice immediately following birth

It’s important to consider your treatment options for gestational diabetes and your doctor can recommend the best treatment option. Medication can be high risk to an unborn fetus and your doctor might recommend a management treatment option for diabetes during your pregnancy.

Managing your diabetes according to your doctor’s instructions is important to protect your baby from health complications during and after your pregnancy. There are also store-bought testing devices that can successfully test your blood sugar levels and help you before your glucose levels reach levels that are considered to be dangerous for expecting mothers.

Take a look at the short video clip below to discover how gestation diabetes impacts both the mother and unborn child:

How To Prevent Diabetes Pregnancy

The best way for pregnant women to prevent gestational diabetes is to eat a balanced diet during their pregnancy. Not only is this a holistic way to prevent diabetes, but it naturally ensures your baby is not impacted in any way. A balanced diet would consist of a special meal plan recommended by your doctor. Your doctor may recommend foods that include eggs, asparagus, whole wheat, avocados, nuts, and leafy vegetables. Fruit smoothies are also a great way to avoid gestational diabetes and can be consumed at any time of the day. Exercise is also a great way to manage gestational diabetes.


Ask your physician for exercise options for pregnant women to treat diabetes. A doctor might recommend a short walk around the neighborhood three times a week or at-home exercises you can do at any time.

Finally, medication can be used to manage gestational diabetes only if it’s safe for your unborn baby. Your doctor may recommend Metformin for diabetes or an injection to administer insulin. If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of diabetes, you should consult your doctor right away.

Pregnant women can also consult with an online pharmacist to get tips and ideas on vitamins and supplements that will help them prevent the onset of gestational diabetes. Vitamins and supplements are a safe alternative to prescription medication and are oftentimes, safe to consume while you’re pregnant. Ask your physician for more details on your vitamin options for gestational diabetes for you and your unborn baby.

Diabetes can be difficult for expectant mothers, but it is treatable. Your doctor can manage your diabetes to protect you and your baby. It’s also important for you to get the proper diet and exercise to manage diabetes successfully. The proper testing for gestational diabetes is also important. A doctor will manage your diabetes to keep you and your baby healthy. Your duty of care is making sure you’re getting the right health checkups to ensure you’re not impacting by any illness that can impact you or your baby. Learn more about how gestational diabetes can pose a risk to your unborn baby by talking to your doctor today.

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