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Diabetes During Pregnancy

At Memorial Hermann, affiliated maternal-fetal medicine physicians offer specialized treatment for women with diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

There are different types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes (previously known as juvenile diabetes although it can occur at any age)
  2. Type 2 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 blood sugar in the preconceptional time period (prior to pregnancy) and in the first trimester of 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 affiliated with Memorial Hermann will follow each patient and her pregnancy carefully to monitor for complications. Additional testing may be needed during the course of pregnancy but will be individualized to meet each patient’s 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). Affiliated physicians will develop a program to help manage a patient’s diabetes, which may include consultation with an endocrinologist (specialists in diabetes management) or nutritional specialists for complete care of each patient.

Diabetic educators affiliated with Memorial Hermann may instruct patients on proper diet choices, an exercise plan, how to perform fingersticks to check blood glucose, and how to administer insulin. The goal of the team at The Fetal Center is complete care for each patient and her pregnancy to help ensure a healthy mom and newborn.