Diabetes complications during pregnancy


While all pregnancies come with risks, women with diabetes need to be more vigilant in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. If you plan to conceive, you should visit your doctor for a safe and healthy pregnancy. Here is a rundown of the complications that may arise.

Birth defects

According to modern science, women with diabetes are at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects. Uncontrolled blood sugar can affect formations of the heart, spine, and brain. These defects are mostly associated with women with pre-gestational diabetes, as most organs of the fetus form during the first months of pregnancy.


Stillbirth refers to fetal death after 20-28 weeks of pregnancy. It’s more common in women with diabetes. The fetus usually grows slowly due to poor circulation and high blood pressure. If the fetus is successfully delivered before 37 weeks, it is at risk of developing long-term medical conditions. All women with diabetes should be aware of the complications and steps to take to reduce the risk.

Excess birth weight (Macrosomia)

A baby born by a diabetic mother is considerably larger than a normal baby. A newborn is said to have Macrosomia when he or she weighs above 9 pounds. The baby may be quite large especially in the shoulder region which can cause the mother deliver through the C-section. Ideally, the baby becomes larger when the maternal blood has too much glucose. And when the pancreas of the fetus senses too much glucose, it produces too much insulin. The high insulin levels in the blood and high glucose level from the mother makes the fetus excessively large.

Breathing complications

Women with type-1 diabetes are at a higher risk of giving birth to newborns with less mature lungs. These can make the infants experience temporary breathing problems. Scientifically, too much glucose or insulin is linked to respiratory difficulties in babies. The condition is common in infants born before 35 weeks of pregnancy.

Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia)

Body changes in pregnant women can make blood sugar levels fall to dangerous levels. This condition is common in women with diabetes. It’s associated with symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, anxiety, and pale skin. There are more symptoms not listed in this article. It is estimated that 23% of women experience at least one hypoglycemic attack. To ensure your blood sugar level is not too low, it should be monitored regularly. In addition to that, you should consume healthy foods because the baby will continue receiving glucose from your body.


This is a medical condition associated with too much amniotic fluid in the uterus. It occurs in 1% of pregnancies and is more common in diabetic women. Polyhydramnios may cause preterm labor and shortness of breath in mothers. While mild Polyhydramnios is easy to manage, severe cases may require closer monitoring.


Diabetes can present many problems to the fetus, so you need to be prepared beforehand. First, you should keep your blood sugar in check to increase your chances of delivering a healthy baby. Secondly, you need the help of a dietician to create a healthy meal plan. Of course, you have to keep your weight at reasonable levels. Always consult a clinician before making any changes.

*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.