Diabetes Home > Pregnant Women With Diabetes

There are different types of diabetes a pregnant woman may have (type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes). Uncontrolled blood sugar during pregnancy could lead to a miscarriage, preterm labor, or birth defects. During pregnancy, women who get and keep blood sugar under control are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Pregnant Women With Diabetes: An Overview

Diabetes is often detected in women during their childbearing years and can affect the health of both the mother and her unborn child. Poor control of diabetes in a pregnant woman increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the baby. It might also cause serious complications for the woman.
 
Proper healthcare before and during pregnancy will help prevent birth defects and other poor outcomes, such as miscarriage or stillbirth.
 

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot use the sugars and starches (carbohydrates) it takes in as food to make energy. The body either makes too little insulin in the pancreas or cannot use the insulin it makes to change those sugars and starches into energy. As a result, the body collects extra sugar in the blood and gets rid of some sugar in the urine. If the extra sugar in the blood is allowed to collect in the body too long, it can damage organs, such as the:
 
  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Kidneys.
     
The three most common types of diabetes are:
 
Women with diabetes during pregnancy may have any of these three types of diabetes.
 
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas makes so little insulin that the body can't use blood sugar for energy. Type 1 diabetes must be controlled with daily insulin shots.
 
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body either makes too little insulin or can't use the insulin it makes to use blood sugar for energy. Often, type 2 diabetes can be controlled through eating a proper diet and exercising regularly. Some people with type 2 diabetes have to take diabetes pills, insulin, or both.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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