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Diabetes During Pregnancy

The number of diabetic pregnant women is increasing every year. At Women's Memorial Hermann Hospital and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, women receive superior treatment for diabetes from high-risk pregnancy specialists with the Texas Fetal Center.

Types of Diabetes

There are different types of diabetes:

  1. Type I diabetes (previously known as juvenile diabetes although it can occur at any age)
  2. Type II diabetes (previously known as adult-onset diabetes but it may occur in earlier years)
  3. Drug-induced diabetes (as seen with chronic steroid use)
  4. Gestational diabetes (diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy)

Complications

For pregnant women with diabetes, complications of pregnancy may be decreased by careful control of your blood sugar in the preconceptional time period (prior to pregnancy) and in the first trimester of your pregnancy.

Diabetic pregnancies are at an increased risk for congenital abnormalities (congenital heart disease, spina bifida), large babies, stillbirth, birth injury, and cesarean delivery.

Women who have diabetes before pregnancy are at risk for eye changes (retinopathy), kidney damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia (pregnancy-associated high blood pressure).

Physicians at the Center will follow you and your pregnancy carefully to monitor for complications. Additional testing may be needed during the course of your pregnancy but will be individualized to meet your specific needs.

Treatment

It is important to control the blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Some women's blood sugar is well-controlled with a diabetic diet and exercise. Others will need medication to lower the blood sugar (oral medications or insulin injections).

Doctors at the Center will develop a program to help manage your diabetes, which may include consultation with an endocrinologist (specialists in diabetes management) or nutritional specialists for your complete care.

Diabetic educators at the Center will instruct you on proper diet choices, an exercise plan, how to perform fingersticks to check your blood glucose, and how to administer insulin. The goal of your team at the Center is complete care for you and your pregnancy to help ensure a healthy mom and newborn.