More than 9% of women have diabetes before they become pregnant, and another 2-10% develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Diabetes can cause serious complications for the mother and baby, but the expert prenatal care from the doctors at Capital Women’s Care ensures you can have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you have questions about diabetes in pregnancy, call one of their offices in Rockville or Silver Spring, Maryland, or book an appointment online.
All types of diabetes can have an impact on the health of your pregnancy and your developing baby.
Women who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can have a healthy pregnancy by keeping their blood sugar tightly controlled before and during pregnancy. The glucose in your blood crosses through the placenta, so if blood sugar levels are high, your baby is affected.
Type 1 diabetes, which often appears during childhood, occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes develops later in life. While people with Type 2 produce insulin, they either can’t use it properly or they don’t produce enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy in women who were healthy prior to becoming pregnant. It occurs when the placenta produces high levels of hormones that impair the normal action of insulin. Symptoms seldom develop, which is why diabetes testing is routinely done during pregnancy.
If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need more frequent prenatal care to ensure your blood sugar stays within the normal range. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery, but it may increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes down the road.
Any type of uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy can cause health problems for both the mother and baby, including:
Gestational diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet that limits total carbohydrates and avoids foods that spike blood sugar. If conservative approaches don’t help, your doctor prescribes medications to control blood sugar.
If you already have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the hormones produced during pregnancy can affect your usual treatment. Even if you've kept your blood sugar well controlled for years, you may need to change your diet and/or medication. If you're on insulin you may need to change your dose, while if you're taking oral medications may need to switch to insulin.
Call or book an appointment online to get expert preconception counseling and prenatal care at Capital Women’s Care.