Diabetes and Pregnancy Complications

checking the blood sugar
Creative Commons License photo credit: kirinqueen

While you’ve probably heard that women with diabetes have certain pregnancy risks, you may not know to what extent those risks go. In fact, researchers are just now making the kinds of discoveries that show what diabetes can do to a pregnant woman and her baby. According to new research results, women who have type 2 diabetes and also suffer from obesity are at a greater risk of having both pregnancy complications and complications for their newborn child.

The study, led by a high-risk pregnancy expert from the University of Rochester Medical Center, looked at records and birth certificates for more than 400 women who had babies in that location between the years of 2000 and 2008. The women were grouped into pairs – women who had type two diabetes were paired with women who did not have type two diabetes. Each woman in the pair would have roughly the same BMI prior to pregnancy.

What the study found was truly interesting. They used scientific and mathematical modeling to mitigate outside factors including things like tobacco use or the age of the mother. What the study discovered was that the women who suffered from type 2 diabetes had more troubles during pregnancy, during delivery, and during the newborn phase than women who did not.

In particular, there were certain ailments, illnesses and problems that arose more frequently for the women with type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Necessity of a c-section
  • Preterm labor and preterm delivery
  • A baby born large for gestational age
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Admission of the baby to the neonatal intensive care unit

It’s clear that type 2 diabetes poses some specific increased risks for the pregnant women. When you combine it with other potential risk factors, it can be very problematic.

The key for a woman who has diabetes and is pregnant is to properly manage your diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how to make sure your diabetes is under control. Make sure you attend all of your prenatal visits, and that you follow her care advice.

So, what about you? If you’re diabetic, what was your pregnancy experience like?

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