Advanced Expertise in Diabetes and Pregnancy

Approximately 15 percent of all pregnancies are complicated by some form of diabetes. Diabetes during pregnancy can increase pregnancy complications. Specialists at University Hospitals provide comprehensive care, education and support for a successful pregnancy and childbirth, and healthy mom and newborn.

For women who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, managing the disease during pregnancy can be complicated. Pregnancy changes the way diabetes is controlled, and it can have a significant effect on the health of both mom and baby – in fact, women with diabetes are at the highest risk for preterm labor.

Understanding Gestational Diabetes

About 3 to 8 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. develop gestational diabetes midway through their pregnancy. This is a type of diabetes that develops in a woman who did not have the condition prior to pregnancy. It is often caused by the hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin.

Doctors usually test for gestational diabetes between week 24 and week 28 of pregnancy.

Although this form of diabetes usually disappears after the birth of the baby, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 40 to 60 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years.

Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors

There are specific risk factors that increase the chances you will get diabetes during pregnancy, including:

  • Delivered a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Family history of diabetes
  • High-risk ethnic groups, including African, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islanders
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) or hyperlipidemia (high fats or lipids in blood)
  • Obesity
  • Previous gestational diabetes

     

Because high glucose levels can disrupt a healthy pregnancy, it is important to get a simple glucose tolerance test early, preferably before conception.

Experts in Diabetes and Pregnancy Care

Board-certified physicians, certified diabetes nurse-educators and nutritionists at University Hospitals offer expertise in both diabetes and pregnancy care. Our comprehensive services include:

  • Preconception counseling: Studies show that when blood sugar levels are elevated before conception, women have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects. Our highly trained team assists women in managing their diabetes and maintaining good control of blood sugar levels before pregnancy to decrease the risk of complications and birth defects.
  • Individual education: Educational assistance is provided on diabetes management, potential complications, insulin therapy, nutrition during pregnancy, when to test blood sugar levels, how to administer insulin and more.

     

  • Blood sugar monitoring: We make it as convenient as possible to monitor your blood sugar levels. Each week, patients report their blood sugar numbers via phone or email. Our diabetes educator reviews each report with the physician, then calls the patient if diet or medication adjustments are needed.
  • Gestational Diabetes Boot Camp: Designed for women newly diagnosed with gestational diabetes, this one-time, three-hour session includes appointments with multiple specialists, diabetes education, nutrition counseling and a one-on-one consultation with a maternal fetal medicine specialist. Patients report blood sugar levels via phone or email each week for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Diabetes Can Lead to Complications for Mom and Baby

Uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy is serious and increases the chance of health problems for you and your baby.

For women, uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy can cause complications, such as labor starting too early (preterm labor), high blood pressure, gum disease, preeclampsia and eclampsia, increased likelihood of cesarean delivery or injury during vaginal birth due to baby’s larger size.

For your baby, diabetes can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm birth (born too early), larger than normal size (more than nine pounds), injury during birth, low blood sugar, yellow skin and eyes (jaundice), and obesity later in life.

Ongoing Support for Diabetes Control When Pregnant

If you are pregnant before your diabetes is controlled, our specialists can provide ongoing blood glucose monitoring, diabetes education and advanced medical care to help you control your blood sugar and optimize outcomes for you and your baby.