Published on: Aug 16, 2021

5 min Read

Effects of Diabetes on Pregnancy: Risks to the Mother & the Baby

Gestational Diabetes
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How does diabetes affect pregnancy?

All pregnancies come with a few challenges, but if you are diagnosed with diabetes during or before pregnancy, you have a higher risk of pregnancy complications. All thanks to the wealth of information available online, it is natural for you to get anxious thinking about the bad effects of diabetes on pregnancy.

If diabetes during pregnancy is not managed correctly, it can even cause the loss of your unborn baby. But, wait. Our intention is not to scare you, but with the help of this article, we want you to know the effects of diabetes on pregnancy and how to handle them smartly to keep you and your baby safe.

Is diabetes bad during pregnancy?

Getting diagnosed with diabetes during or before pregnancy does not mean that you will constantly fear how raised blood sugars will affect you and your baby. On the contrary, research has shown that women with gestational diabetes and even pre-existing diabetes (diabetes before pregnancy) have had healthy pregnancies and delivered healthy babies.

You can manage pregnancy diabetes and reduce your risk of complications under the supervision of your doctor and Pregnancy Nutritionists & Diabetes Educators.

Pregnancy and diabetes risks :  How it affects you and your baby

Pre-existing diabetes, which could be type 1 or type 2 diabetes, can cause serious health problems for your developing baby. In addition, high blood sugars during the first few weeks of pregnancy can cause the malformation of the baby’s vital organs like heart, brain, lungs, kidney etc.

Here are the risks of diabetes to your baby’s health:

  1. Birth defects

    Increased risk of neural tube defects (spine defects), brain and heart malformations.

  2. Macrosomia and fetal growth restriction

    Abnormally large baby (fetal macrosomia) with excessive birth weight increases chances of birth trauma or injuries. It can even lead to shoulder dystocia, wherein the baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during labour and birth at the time of delivery. Babies born with fetal growth restriction are tiny for their gestational age and are unable to gain the weight they should gain before birth.

  3. Preterm birth

    premature labour can cause early delivery of a preemie baby. These babies have health problems at birth or later in life.

  4. Breathing difficulties

    at the time of birth due to incomplete formation of the baby’s lungs.

  5. Extremely low blood sugar

    (hypoglycemia) shortly after the birth

  6. Increased chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes

    later in life

  7. Miscarriage and stillbirth

    loss of the baby in the womb.

Additionally, uncontrolled blood sugars during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications for you as well, including.

Here are the risks of diabetes on you during pregnancy:

  1. High blood pressure

    Raised blood pressure can over-exert your heart and blood vessels that can cause problems during pregnancy.

  2. Preeclampsia

    It is a severe medical condition wherein you will have raised blood pressure with changes in vision, protein in the urine, and headache. It affects your vital organs like kidneys and liver. So don’t ignore your symptoms and get your blood pressure, urine analysis, blood tests, baby’s ultrasound and nonstress test (that is performed to check your baby’s heart rate) routinely monitored as advised by your doctor.

  3. Increased chances of C-section

    The chances of C section increases due to larger size baby (fetal macrosomia).

  4. Risk for type 2 diabetes

    There is a risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

However, the good news is – treatment of diabetes before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby.

What causes diabetes during pregnancy?

Hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar) during pregnancy is a medical condition that can arise due to either of 2 situations –

  • Pre-existing diabetes or diabetes BEFORE pregnancy – It could be type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy wherein a woman develops insulin resistance DURING pregnancy.

As the name suggests, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a health condition wherein a pregnant woman develops diabetes. A woman with gestational diabetes during pregnancy cannot keep blood sugar levels healthy because a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using insulin effectively.

In all pregnant women, the placenta makes hormones that cause glucose to build up in your blood. In a healthy pregnant woman, the pancreas releases enough insulin to handle this extra glucose load.

But, if your body cannot meet the demand of this extra insulin or stops making insulin, ultimately your blood sugar levels rise, resulting in gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Diabefly GDM – A Premium Diabetes Care Program to manage diabetes during pregnancy

International guidelines and top doctors recommend that diabetes during pregnancy can be controlled with healthy lifestyle choices. Medical research has also shown that 90% of women with diabetes during pregnancy can be managed entirely with lifestyle therapy without any medications.

For better health outcomes for you and your baby, support your doctor’s prescription with a lifestyle management program like Diabefly GDM. Diabefly GDM is a safe and scientific Digital Diabetes Care Program for pregnant women with diabetes.

Diabefly GDM is exclusively designed for pregnant women to control their blood sugars during pregnancy without using medications with the help of personalised lifestyle coaching from a team of specialists, including a Diabefly Coach or a Nutritionist, a Physiotherapist and a Psychologist.

Here is how Diabefly GDM will help you have a worry-free pregnancy:

  1. Trimester-specific personalised nutrition plans to keep sugar levels in the proper range by a Certified Pregnancy Nutritionist & Diabetes Educator.
  2. Exercise prescription and one-on-one guided antenatal exercise sessions under the supervision of a Certified Physiotherapist.
  3. Direct consultations and stress management sessions with a Clinical Psychologist.
  4. Tips on adequate sleep and rest to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
  5. Continuous call and chat support with an expert Diabefly Coach to resolve all your doubts.

Don’t let the raised blood sugar take the joy out of your pregnancy. Instead, allow our team of experts from Diabefly GDM to guide you to keep you and your baby safe.

For more information on mitigating the ill effects of diabetes on pregnancy, visit our website at or call us at 022 4897 1077.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team