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Morning Sickness

Your doctor may prescribe a drug to reduce nausea (morning sickness). Sometimes, simply eating a dry cracker will help. By experimenting with various foods, you may find some foods that help.

Hypoglycemia, Infections, and Ketones

Pregnancy may increase the frequency of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and the presence of ketones in the urine. Keep your doctor closely informed. Also, some pregnant women with diabetes have slightly higher rates of skin, vaginal, and urinary tract infections. With care, these should not be major problems.

Some Risks and Effects of Diabetes on Pregnancy


Women with poor blood sugar control or many severe complications are at some risk for miscarriage. In otherwise healthy women, the risk of miscarriage is no greater than that of the general population?approximately one out of every nine or ten early-stage pregnancies.

Large Babies

Women with diabetes may have large babies as a result of high maternal blood sugar levels. This effect can be reduced by keeping blood sugar levels close to normal. Obviously, a big baby makes delivery more difficult and for this reason, Caesarean sections are frequently performed.


This condition?excessive amounts of amniotic fluid throughout pregnancy?is somewhat less common. Aside from the discomfort of an overly distended belly, polyhydramnios rarely has harmful consequences.


Toxemia is characterized by an increase in blood pressure, by the presence of protein in the urine, and by the swelling of hands and feet. Though toxemia was once a common complication of diabetic pregnancy, with good blood sugar control this problem is no more common than in a non-diabetic pregnancy.


Swelling or edema is a common occurrence. Limiting your salt intake may be all that is necessary to reduce this excessive accumulation of fluid. Advise your doctor if swelling occurs.

Monitoring the Baby's Development

There are many tests that give information about the development of the baby and the degree of intrauterine risk.

Sonogram or Ultrasound

This is a high frequency sound wave used to map out the size of the baby. Repetition of this test during pregnancy makes it easy to calculate the baby's rate of growth. A simple, painless, harmless test, a sonogram is carried out in the doctor's office or in a hospital on an outpatient basis.


This technique evaluates the maturity of the baby's respiratory tract and its ability to breathe on its own. In this test, a fine needle is inserted into the uterus, and a small quantity of the fluid around the baby is extracted. If the level of a material called surfactant is high enough, the doctor knows that the baby's lungs have matured, and the baby will be able to breathe on its own. Amniocentesis helps doctors decide on the best delivery time for the baby.

Non-Stress Test

This test checks on your baby's general well-being by recording your baby's heartbeat as he or she moves. A faster heartbeat would be a normal reaction. Non-stress tests are usually conducted one to three times each week in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Contraction Stimulation Test (Stress Test)

Depending on the results of your non-stress test, you may need another test to determine if the baby can handle the stress of labor. During the contraction stimulation test, also called an oxytocin challenge test, you will be given a small dose of the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the uterus to contract mildly. The purpose is to approximate the reduction in oxygen flow that happens during labor and to see if the baby's heartbeat is sound throughout.

Fetal Movement Records

Your doctor may ask you to keep track of your baby's movements and will instruct you on how and when to note these movements.


Because of added risk to the unborn baby, many doctors caring for pregnant women with diabetes deliver their patients before the due date, either by inducing labor or by performing a Caesarean section.

Women with diabetes can have a normal vaginal delivery if the pregnancy is uncomplicated and all factors are normal. However, since babies born to women with diabetes can be large, a Caesarean section may be required. If a Caesarean section is performed, remember that this is one of the most common major operations and has become a relatively simple and safe procedure.

After the Baby Is Born

Genetic Consideration: Will Your Baby Have Diabetes?

Research has determined that there is a genetic component to both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, but this fact does not necessarily mean your baby will have diabetes or get diabetes. Nonetheless, you will want to keep a close watch for symptoms.

Common Problems to Watch For:

A drop in the baby's blood sugar: If the baby has been subjected to high blood glucose levels for many months, it may suffer a drop in its blood sugar soon after birth. When this happens, the baby is given early supplements with sugar, either intravenously or by mouth. The baby will be watched closely until its blood sugar has returned to normal.
Premature baby: A premature baby will require fairly extensive, highly specialized pediatric care.

Insulin Requirements After Delivery

Soon after delivery?often within a few hours?your insulin needs will drop, and you may need less insulin than you did before becoming pregnant. This state usually lasts for a period of several weeks. The extra activity involved in caring for a newborn also tends to reduce your insulin needs for a while. You may want to keep emergency snacks in every room while taking care of a new baby, in case you feel the beginning of an insulin reaction.

Breastfeeding:There is no reason an otherwise healthy woman with diabetes should not breastfeed her baby.

Baby in intensive care unit: Even if the baby is in intensive care, you can breastfeed after he or she is released. When your milk comes in, you can pump it manually, which will maintain milk production until you can actually nurse the baby.

A snack before nursing: Because breastfeeding can often cause a sudden drop in your glucose level, have a glass of milk before you nurse the baby in order to maintain your blood sugar.

Maintain fluid and caloric intake: When you nurse, you may have to increase your fluid and calorie intake to make up for the calories used by milk production.

Minor infections: Any sign of pain or redness around the nipples or the breasts themselves must be promptly reported to the doctor. A minor infection can be quickly treated with antibiotics, and you usually don't have to stop nursing because of it.
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