Pregnancy if you have diabetes - NIDDK (2023)

On this page:

  • How can diabetes affect my baby?
  • How can diabetes affect me during pregnancy?
  • What health problems can occur during pregnancy due to diabetes?
  • How can I prepare for pregnancy if I have diabetes?
  • What should I know about blood glucose testing before and during pregnancy?
  • What tests will check the health of the baby during pregnancy?
  • Clinical tests

If you have diabetes and are planning to have a baby, you should try to have your ownblood glucoselevels close to the target rangebeforestart baby

It's also important to stay within your target range during pregnancy, which may be different than when you're not pregnant. High blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can harm your baby in the first few weeks of pregnancy, even before you know you're pregnant. If you have diabetes and are already pregnant, contact your doctor as soon as possible to develop a diabetes management plan. Working with your health care team and following your diabetes management plan can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Pregnancy if you have diabetes - NIDDK (1)

If you develop diabetes for the first time in pregnancy, you havegestational diabetes.

How can diabetes affect my baby?

Your baby's organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys and lungs, begin to form during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful at this early stage and may increase your baby's risk of birth defects such as heart, brain or spine defects.

High blood glucose during pregnancy can also increase the risk of premature birth, being overweight, breathing problems, or low blood glucose soon after birth.

High blood glucose levels can also make you more likely to develop the diseasemalfunctionor stillborn.1Stillbirth means that the baby dies in the mother's womb in the second half of the pregnancy.

How can diabetes affect me during pregnancy?

hormonaland other changes in your body during pregnancy affect your blood glucose levels, so you may need to change how you manage your diabetes. Even if you've had diabetes for years, you may need to change your meal plan, exercise routine, and medications. If you have been taking oral diabetes medications, you may need to change theminsulin. As you approach your due date, your management plan may change again.

(Video) How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Mother and Baby?

What health problems can occur during pregnancy due to diabetes?

Pregnancy can make some long-term diabetes problems worse, such as:eye problemsIKidney diseaseespecially if your blood glucose is very high.

You're also more likely to develop preeclampsia, sometimes called toxemia, when you develop ithigh blood pressureand too muchproteinfor yoururinein the second half of pregnancy.Preeclampsiacan cause serious or life-threatening problems for you and your baby. The only treatment for preeclampsia is childbirth. If you have preeclampsia and are 37 weeks pregnant, your doctor may want to deliver your baby sooner. Before 37 weeks, you and your doctor may consider other options to help your baby develop as much as possible before birth.

How can I prepare for pregnancy if I have diabetes?

If you have diabetes, keeping your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible before and during pregnancy is important for staying healthy and giving birth to a healthy baby. Getting tested before and during pregnancy, following a diabetes eating plan, exercising as directed by your health care team, and taking diabetes medications as needed will helpmanage your diabetes. Quitting smoking and taking vitamins as prescribed by your doctor can also help you and your baby stay healthy.

Collaborate with your healthcare team

Regular visits by members of the health care team who are experts in diabetes and pregnancy will ensure you and your baby get the best care. The health care team may include;

  • a doctor who specializes in the treatment of diabetes, e.gendocrinologistthediabetologist
  • oneobstetricianexperience in treating women with diabetes
  • onediabetes educatorthat can help control diabetes
  • oneNursewhich providesprenatal careduring pregnancy
  • oneregistered dietitianfor help with meal planning
  • specialists who diagnose and treat diabetes-related problems, such as vision problems, kidney disease, and heart disease
  • a social worker or psychologist to help you deal with the stress, worries and extra demands of pregnancy

Dishis the most important member of the team. Your medical team can give you expert advice, but it's up to you to keep your diabetes under control on a daily basis.

Pregnancy if you have diabetes - NIDDK (2)

Make a review

Get a full scan before you become pregnant or as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Your doctor should check

  • high blood pressure
  • cause of
  • diseases of the heart and blood vessels
  • nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • thyroid disease

Pregnancy can do some gooddiabetes-related health problemsabove. To prevent this, your medical team may recommend adjusting your treatment before you become pregnant.

Do not smoke

Smoking can increase the chances of stillbirth or premature birth.2Smoking is especially harmful to people with diabetes. Smoking can worsen diabetes-related health problems such as eye, heart and kidney disease.

(Video) What is Gestational Diabetes?

If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stop. Ask for help so you don't have to do it alone. You can start by calling the National Quit Helpline at 1-800-QUITNOW or 1-800-784-8669. For tips on how to quit smoking, go tono

See a registered dietitian dietitian

If you haven't been to a dietician yet, you should see one before you become pregnant. Your dietitian can help you figure out what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat to get or stay in shapehealthy weightbefore you get pregnant. Together with a dietician, you will create a meal plan that suits your needs, schedule, food preferences, health conditions, medications and routine physical activity.

During pregnancy, some women need to make changes to their diet, such as adding extra calories, protein, and other nutrients. During pregnancy, you should see a dietitian every few months as your nutritional needs change.

Be physically active

Physical activity can help you reach your desired blood glucose levels. Physical activity can also help maintain blood pressure andcholesterolwithin a healthy range, relieves stress, strengthens the heart and bones, improves muscle strength and keeps joints flexible.

Before you get pregnant, make physical activity a regular part of your life. Aim for 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week.

Talk to your medical team about what activities are best for you during pregnancy.

Pregnancy if you have diabetes - NIDDK (3)

Read on for tips on how to eat better and be more active during and after pregnancy.

Avoid alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while trying to conceive and during pregnancy. When you drink, alcohol also affects your baby. Alcohol can lead to serious lifelong health problems for a child.

(Video) Pregnancy if You Have Diabetes | NIDDK

Adjust your medications

Some medications are not safe during pregnancy and should be stopped before pregnancy. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, such as medicines for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Your doctor can tell you which medications to stop and may prescribe another medication that is safe to use during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, doctors are more likely to prescribe insulin for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.3If you are already taking insulin, you may need to change the type, amount or how you take it and when you take it. You may need less insulin in the first trimester, but you'll likely need more during pregnancy. Your insulin needs may double or even triple as you get closer to your due date. Your medical team will work with you to create an insulin regimen that meets your changing needs.

Take vitamin and mineral supplements

Folic acidis an important vitamin that must be taken before and during pregnancy to protect the health of the baby. You must start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you become pregnant. You should take a multivitamin or dietary supplement that contains at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. When you get pregnant, you should be getting 600 mcg a day.4Ask your doctor if you should take other vitamins or minerals, such as iron or calcium supplements or multivitamins.

What should I know about blood glucose testing before and during pregnancy?

How often you check your blood glucose levels may change during pregnancy. You may need to check them more often than now. If you didn't have to measure your blood glucose before pregnancy, you probably need to start. Ask healthcare professionals how often and what time you should check your blood glucose. Your blood glucose targets will change during pregnancy. Your medical team may also want you to check yoursketonesblood glucose level is too high.

Pregnancy if you have diabetes - NIDDK (4)

Blood glucose targets before pregnancy

When you plan to get pregnant, your daily blood glucose goals may differ from your previous goals. Ask your healthcare team which goals are right for you.

You can monitor your blood glucose withMy daily blood glucose record (PDF, 44 KB) . You can also use the electronic glucose monitoring system on your computer or mobile device. Save your results every time you check your blood glucose. Your blood glucose data can help you and your healthcare team decide if your diabetes management plan is working. You can also take notes on insulin and ketones. Take your tracking device with you when you visit the health team.

Blood glucose targets during pregnancy

The recommended daily blood glucose targets for most pregnant women with diabetes are:

  • Before meals, before bed and at night: 90 or less
  • 1 hour after eating: 130 to 140 or less
  • 2 hours after eating: 120 or less3

Ask your doctor which goals are right for you. If you have type 1 diabetes, your goals may be higher so you won't develop low blood glucose, also known as low blood sugarhypoglycemia.

(Video) How can you manage diabetes before, during, and after pregnancy?

A1C numbers

Another way to check if you are achieving your goals is to haveA1C blood test. The A1C test results reflect the average blood glucose level over the last 3 months. Most women with diabetes should aim to achieve an HbA1c as close to normal as possible before becoming pregnant - ideally below 6.5%.3After the first 3 months of pregnancy, your goal may be as low as 6 percent.3These goals may differ from HbA1C goals in the past. Your doctor can help you determine the best HbA1c goals for you.

Ketone levels

When your blood glucose is too high or you eat too little, your body can produce ketones. Ketones in the urine or blood mean that the body is using fat instead of glucose for energy. Burning large amounts of fat instead of glucose can be bad for you and your baby's health.

By checking your ketones, you can prevent serious health problems. Your doctor may want you to check your urine or blood daily for ketones or when your blood glucose exceeds a certain level, such as 200. If you are takingthis insulin pump, your doctor may recommend a ketone test when your blood glucose is higher than expected. Your medical team can teach you how and when to test your urine or blood for ketones.

Talk to your doctor about what to do if you have ketones. Your doctor may recommend changing the amount of insulin you take or the time you take it. Your doctor may also recommend changing your meals or snacks if you need to eat more carbohydrates.

What tests will check the health of the baby during pregnancy?

Throughout your pregnancy, you will have tests such as blood tests andultrasoundto check your child's health. Discuss this with your healthcare teamprenatal testingyou will have them when you can have them.


Clinical tests

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

What are clinical trials and are they right for you?

Clinical trials are part of clinical trials and are at the heart of all advances in medicine. Clinical trials explore new ways to prevent, detect or treat diseases. Researchers are also using clinical trials to explore other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic conditions.Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

Which clinical trials are open?

You can also view clinical trials that are currently open for

(Video) Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes


Can you have a successful pregnancy with diabetes? ›

Women who have type 1 diabetes can have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby, but it's important to monitor diabetes complications that could worsen throughout pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, vision loss, and kidney disease.

Is pregnancy hard on diabetics? ›

Diabetes can cause problems during pregnancy for women and their developing babies. Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the baby. It can also cause serious complications for the woman.

Does diabetes affect baby during pregnancy? ›

Diabetes during pregnancy—including type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes—can negatively affect the health of women and their babies. For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar around the time of conception increases babies' risk of birth defects, stillbirth, and preterm birth.

What are the limits for diabetes during pregnancy? ›

We suggest the following target for women testing blood glucose levels during pregnancy: Before a meal: 95 mg/dl or less. One hour after a meal: 140 mg/dl or less. Two hours after a meal: 120 mg/dl or less.

Can you get pregnant with a high A1c? ›

If your HbA1C is very high (above 86 mmol/mol or 10%) you are strongly recommended to continue using contraception and avoid getting pregnant until you can reduce the levels. This will reduce the risk of miscarriage, birth defects, and of your baby dying before, during or after they are born.

Can high A1c prevent pregnancy? ›

The American Diabetes Association reports that high glucose levels increase a woman's chance of early pregnancy miscarriage by 30-60%. This means that high glucose levels can prevent the embryo from implanting in the uterus before a woman realizes that she is even pregnant.

What is a good A1C level for pregnancy? ›

This test may be done once per trimester during pregnancy or more frequently as recommended by the health care provider. Ideally, the goal is for the A1C to be at or near normal (6 percent or an average blood glucose of 120 mg/dL [6.7 mmol/L]) (table 1).

Does diabetes cause birth defects? ›

Yes. If it's not managed well, diabetes can increase your risk for complications during pregnancy, including: Birth defects, like heart defects and birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (also called NTDs). Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth.

What happens to babies born to diabetic mothers? ›

Infants of diabetic mothers (IDM) are often larger than other babies, especially if diabetes is not well-controlled. This may make vaginal birth harder and may increase the risk for nerve injuries and other trauma during birth. Also, cesarean births are more likely.

What is the best treatment for diabetes in a pregnant woman? ›

Insulin is the traditional first-choice drug for blood sugar control during pregnancy because it is the most effective for fine-tuning blood sugar and it doesn't cross the placenta. Therefore, it is safe for the baby. Insulin can be injected with a syringe, an insulin pen, or through an insulin pump.

What if sugar level is 200 during pregnancy? ›

If your blood glucose level for this test is higher than 200 mg/dL, we consider you to have gestational diabetes and you won't be required to take the glucose tolerance test. But any score between 130 and 200 means that you'll have to take the three-hour glucose tolerance test for a definite diagnosis.

When should a pregnant woman with diabetes be delivered? ›

The ACOG advises that people with poorly controlled diabetes or vascular complications should deliver before 39 weeks .

At what sugar level is insulin required during pregnancy? ›

There is no absolute blood sugar level that necessitates beginning insulin injections. However, many physicians begin insulin if the fasting sugar exceeds 105 mg/dl or if the level 2 hours after a meal exceeds 120 mg/dl on two separate occasions.

What foods can lower blood sugar quickly? ›

5 Superfoods to Lower Your Blood Sugar
  • Berries. Don't make your trip to the store fruitless. ...
  • Go nuts. That's right—go ahead and snack on almonds, cashews or even pistachios. ...
  • Leafy greens. ...
  • Non-starchy vegetables. ...
  • Whole grains.
Jan 31, 2022

Can diabetics give birth naturally? ›

If you are healthy and your diabetes is well controlled when you become pregnant, you have a good chance of having a normal pregnancy and birth. Diabetes that is not well controlled during pregnancy can affect your health long-term and can also be risky for your baby.

Can you get pregnant with a A1C of 7? ›

The American Diabetes Association recommends achieving an A1c level below 7.0 percent before conceiving. This will improve your fertility, decrease your risk of miscarriage, and reduce the risk of birth defects developing in your baby.

Is 160 blood sugar high in pregnancy? ›

A blood sugar level of 190 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 10.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), indicates gestational diabetes. A blood sugar level below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is usually considered within the standard range on a glucose challenge test, although this may vary by clinic or lab.

Can high A1C cause miscarriage? ›

Researchers say they have found that insulin is toxic to early placenta cells and can result in miscarriage.

What keeps your A1C down? ›


Consistent exercise can lower blood glucose and improve your A1C. It also lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious diseases for which diabetics are susceptible. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week.

Is A1C 5.5 while pregnant? ›

An A1C (Hemoglobin A1C) is a blood test that can predict average blood glucose levels for about 8-12 weeks. Women with diabetes should strive for "near normal" A1Cs prior to, as well as during, pregnancy. In general the target A1C should be less than 7% before pregnancy and less than 6% while pregnant.

How much can A1C drop in 3 months? ›

If you have good control over diabetes then the good news is that HBA1C can drop by 10%. But if your levels are higher than 7.5 then the drop is slower.

What is normal A1C in third trimester? ›

HbA1c is expressed as percentage. Before pregnancy, recommended HbA1c is <6.5%. During pregnancy, HbA1c is considered as normal for values <5.4% in the first and second trimester and values <5.7% in the third trimester [10].

What are 4 risk factors of diabetes for pregnant moms? ›

Risk factors
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not being physically active.
  • Having prediabetes.
  • Having had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Having an immediate family member with diabetes.
  • Having previously delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms)
Apr 9, 2022

What is the chance of diabetic baby? ›

Your Child's Risk

If you are a man with type 1 diabetes, the odds of your child developing diabetes are 1 in 17. If you are a woman with type 1 diabetes and your child was born before you were 25, your child's risk is 1 in 25; if your child was born after you turned 25, your child's risk is 1 in 100.

Can diabetes pass through breastmilk? ›

No worries: If you want to breastfeed, having diabetes shouldn't prevent you from doing so, and both you and your baby will reap some pretty impressive benefits. That said, breastfeeding isn't always easy, and women with diabetes may face a few extra complications, so it pays to be prepared.

What are the side effects of taking insulin while pregnant? ›

Too much insulin or too much glucose in a baby's system may keep the lungs from growing fully. This can cause breathing problems in babies. This is more likely in babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia.

Can diabetics take prenatal vitamins? ›

Extra folic acid is recommended for all women. Prenatal vitamins contain 1 mg of folic acid. For women with diabetes, 1.0 – 4.0 mg folic acid is recommended after stopping birth control. When pregnant, continue to take folic acid until 12-14 weeks after your last menstrual period.

Why did I get diabetes while pregnant? ›

During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your body's cells to use insulin less effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your body's need for insulin.

What fruits are good for lowering blood sugar? ›

In addition to raspberries, studies have shown that strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries may benefit blood sugar management by enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose clearance from the blood ( 43 , 44 , 45 ).

What are the symptoms of high sugar during pregnancy? ›

Some women may develop symptoms if their blood sugar levels gets too high (hyperglycaemia), such as:
  • increased thirst.
  • needing to pee more often than usual.
  • a dry mouth.
  • tiredness.
  • blurred eyesight.
  • genital itching or thrush.

What not to eat the night before a glucose test? ›

Avoid sugars and refined carbs
  • Orange juice and other fruit juices.
  • Sugary granola.
  • Refined cereal.
  • Sweetened toppings like jam or syrup.
  • Pancakes, waffles and French toast.
  • Donuts.
  • White bread.
  • Many other breakfast treats made with refined white flour, like banana bread, croissants, muffins and pastries.
Oct 27, 2022

Should I go to the ER if my blood sugar is 200? ›

If symptoms of high blood glucose become more noticeable or if your blood glucose level continues to rise, call your doctor. If you start to feel drowsy or disoriented or if your blood glucose continues to rise (for example, above 20.0 mmol/L), call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

Is 135 blood sugar high in the morning? ›

What should your blood sugar be when you wake up? Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times.

What is a normal A1C for gestational diabetes? ›

According to the committee, an A1C measure of more than or equal to 6.5 percent is indicative of diabetes, while a range between 6 percent and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, meaning a person is at high risk of developing diabetes.

How does pregnancy affect blood sugar in diabetics? ›

Usually, various hormones work to keep blood sugar levels in check. But during pregnancy, hormone levels change, making it harder for the body to process blood sugar efficiently. This makes blood sugar rise.

How is diabetes treated during pregnancy? ›

Insulin is the traditional first-choice drug for blood sugar control during pregnancy because it is the most effective for fine-tuning blood sugar and it doesn't cross the placenta. Therefore, it is safe for the baby. Insulin can be injected with a syringe, an insulin pen, or through an insulin pump.

What fruits should diabetics avoid? ›

Apart from the fruits that are good for diabetic people, there are some fruits that a diabetic should avoid as they can raise blood sugar levels. These fruits are cherries, ripped bananas, mangoes, figs, lychees, pineapple, grapes, tangerines, raisins, sweetened cranberries, etc.

Is 170 blood sugar high for pregnancy? ›

A blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L ) to less than 190 mg/dL (10.6 mmol/L ) indicates the need for a three-hour glucose tolerance test to diagnose gestational diabetes. A blood sugar level of 190 (10.6 mmol/L ) or higher indicates gestational diabetes. Further testing might not be needed.

What happens if sugar level is high in pregnancy? ›

A baby's organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs, start forming during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful during this early stage and can increase the chance that your baby will have birth defects, such as heart defects or defects of the brain or spine.

What triggers diabetes during pregnancy? ›

During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your body's cells to use insulin less effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your body's need for insulin.


1. Healthy Moments: Promoting Health after Gestational Diabetes
(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK))
2. The Lasting Impact of Gestational Diabetes
(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK))
3. Healthy Eating with Diabetes
(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK))
4. Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Sorcy's Story
(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK))
5. Every Women Must Know This Before Pregnancy | 3 Deals About Gestational Diabetes | Dr.Rahul Agrawal
(Free Diabetes)
6. Does menopause increase risk for type 2 diabetes?
(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK))


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