What is pregestational diabetes?

Pregestational diabetes is defined as having the diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes before becoming pregnant. Diabetes occurs when the body does not adequately make or respond to insulin leading to increased glucose in the blood.

How does pregestational diabetes affect pregnancy?

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to several complications during pregnancy including:

  • Birth defects affecting the heart, spine, brain, and skeleton
  • High blood pressure and increased risk for preeclampsia in mothers
  • Hydramnios, an increased amount of amniotic fluid, which can lead to preterm labor and delivery
  • Macrosomia, a large baby, that can make delivery more difficult and has an increased risk of cesarean birth
  • After birth, babies can have difficulties with breathing, low glucose levels, or jaundice. Some babies may require time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

What should I do if I have diabetes and want to get pregnant?

  • Speak with your provider about ways to get your blood glucose level under control, which may include changing your medications, diet, and/or exercise.
    • If you currently require insulin, your dose may need to be increased while you are pregnant.
    • If you do not currently require insulin, there is a chance your provider may suggest starting insulin during your pregnancy.
    • Insulin is safe during pregnancy and does not cause birth defects.
  • During pregnancy, it is important to track your blood glucose levels several times a day to ensure it is in the appropriate range.
    • Fasting level – below 95
    • 1 hour after eating – below 140
    • 2 hours after eating – below 120
    • Note: It is always important to be aware of hypoglycemia, or when your blood sugar gets too low. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, feeling shaky, sweating, or weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, check your blood sugar. If it is below 60, eat a small snack.

All information is provided by:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists