In the past, women with diabetes suffered many problems during pregnancy, including a high rate of miscarriages and birth defects. Today, however, with good prenatal care and careful self-management, there’s no reason women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can’t have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Risks involved While it’s common for diabetic women to have relatively trouble-free pregnancies, some risks still exist for both mother and child. In general, the more diabetic complications you’ve had before pregnancy, the more likely they’ll worsen significantly during pregnancy. Women with severe kidney and eye complications, for instance, can expect that these conditions will be aggravated by a pregnancy. The damage often reverses after delivery, but women with these conditions should discuss potential dangers with their doctors before conceiving. Consistently high blood glucose levels increase the chances of miscarrying or going into premature labor. They may also cause the baby’s organs to form abnormally. Historically, diabetes has been associated with a threefold increase in severe malformations. Some examples include neural tube defects (incomplete development of the brain or spinal cord), anencephaly (absence of the brain or spinal cord), and spina bifida (failure of the backbone to fuse over the spinal cord).
Women with diabetes are also more likely to have large babies, with birth weights of 9–12 pounds. This condition can cause a difficult delivery. Doctors will often induce labor a few weeks early or perform a cesarean section if the fetus seems to be too large.
Other problems can also result. The baby may have immature lungs (respiratory distress syndrome) or low blood levels of calcium and glucose at birth.
Getting proper care for your diabetes before you become pregnant is an important step toward having a healthy baby. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the rate of major congenital malformations in babies born to women who already had diabetes before conceiving is 5% or less when the mothers received preconception care. But for diabetic women who don’t receive preconception care, the rate jumps to 10%.
Many women with severe diabetes are opting for IVF with surrogacy.
Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc,
Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd