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Can Babies Be Born With Diabetes


Testing Your Babys Glucose Levels

Babies Born to Obese Mothers with Diabetes Face Health Challenges

The healthcare team should test your babys glucose level 2 to 4 hours after birth. This is to make sure it isnt too low. They will do this by pricking the babys heel to get a drop of blood for testing.

Your baby may need to be fed through a tube or given a drip if:

  • their glucose level is low
  • they are having difficulty feeding.

How Gestational Diabetes Can Impact Your Baby

We don’t know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.

Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels, called hyperglycemia.


What It Means For Your Baby

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your baby may be at higher risk of:

  • having health problems shortly after birth, such as heart and breathing problems, and needing hospital care
  • developing obesity or diabetes later in life

There’s also a slightly higher chance of your baby being born with birth defects, particularly heart and nervous system abnormalities, or being stillborn or dying soon after birth.

But managing your diabetes well, before and during your pregnancy, will help to reduce these risks.

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Problems Of Diabetes In Pregnancy

Blood sugar that is not well controlled in a pregnant woman with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes could lead to problems for the woman and the baby:


Birth Defects

The organs of the baby form during the first two months of pregnancy, often before a woman knows that she is pregnant. Blood sugar that is not in control can affect those organs while they are being formed and cause serious birth defects in the developing baby, such as those of the brain, spine, and heart.

An Extra Large Baby

Diabetes that is not well controlled causes the babys blood sugar to be high. The baby is overfed and grows extra large. Besides causing discomfort to the woman during the last few months of pregnancy, an extra large baby can lead to problems during delivery for both the mother and the baby. The mother might need a C-Section to deliver the baby. The baby can be born with nerve damage due to pressure on the shoulder during delivery.

C- Section

A C-section is a surgery to deliver the baby through the mothers belly. A woman who has diabetes that is not well controlled has a higher chance of needing a C-section to deliver the baby. When the baby is delivered by a C-section, it takes longer for the woman to recover from childbirth.

High Blood Pressure
Early Birth
Low Blood Sugar
Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Excess Weight Diabetes Raise Risk Of Big Babies

Germanys largest ever baby born at more than 13 pounds

Even Overweight Women Without Gestational Diabetes at Risk of Delivering Large Babies, Researchers Found

Aug. 14, 2012 — Women who are overweight or obese at the start of pregnancy are much more likely than healthy-weight women to deliver large babies, according to new research.


That’s true, the researchers found, even if the women did not develop gestational diabetes, a known risk factor for delivering large babies.

In the past, researchers have focused on gestational diabetes — diabetes that develops during pregnancy — as a risk factor for having a large baby, says researcher Mary Helen Black, PhD, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.

Now it appears that overweight and obesity play at least as important a role as gestational diabetes in the risk of delivering a large baby. “And that is important because infants born too large for gestational age are at all sort of increased risk for other complications, including obesity later in life,” Black says.

The new research is published in Diabetes Care.

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What Is Gestational Diabetes

I’m not diabetic, but my doctor told me that I have gestational diabetes. What does that mean? And will it last beyond my pregnancy? Pat

Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy. When a woman has it, her blood sugar levels are high. That makes the unborn baby’s blood sugar levels higher too. Most pregnant women have a glucose screening for gestational diabetes at 24 to 28 weeks.

A big worry about gestational diabetes is what it can do to a baby. Babies born to mothers who have gestational diabetes are more likely to:

  • be born early
  • have jaundice
  • have low blood levels of calcium or glucose just after they’re born

These and other kinds of problems from gestational diabetes can make babies need to stay in the hospital longer for extra treatment.

If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor will probably start you on a treatment plan. Most women can get their blood sugar levels under control with a healthy food plan and daily exercise. Some women also need to take daily insulin shots and test their blood sugar until they give birth.


Gestational diabetes usually goes away after a baby is born. A mom may get it again during future pregnancies, though. Some women who have it will develop diabetes when they’re older.

Sometimes a woman may have had diabetes before the pregnancy but not know it. When that happens, the diabetes does not go away after the baby is born.

What Causes Diabetes In Pregnancy

The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water. It also produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones can block insulin. This usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.

Pregnancy also may change the insulin needs of a woman with preexisting diabetes. Insulin-dependent mothers may require more insulin as pregnancy progresses.


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How To Manage Your Own Needs

Finding out your child has diabetes can be overwhelming. Your childs needs will vary from day to day, depending on what they eat, whether theyre sick, whether theyre growing and how much sleep theyve had. You will manage better on some days than others and should try to take one day at a time.

Remember that having diabetes can affect your childs behaviour. They may feel different from other children. Involve your child in their own care and teach them how to make good choices for their health. Its also a good idea to introduce them to other children who have diabetes.

You are not alone. You will have a team of professionals to help you, which may include your GP, endocrinologist, diabetes educator dietitian, podiatrist and eye specialist. A credentialed diabetes educator is a specially trained health professional who will show you how to manage your childs diabetes. To find a credentialed diabetes educator near you, visit the Australian Diabetes Educators Association website.

Make sure everyone who cares for your child knows they have diabetes and how to manage it. And make sure that glucose is always available in case of hypoglycaemia.


Weight Diabetes And Risks To Babies

Gestational Diabetes: After Your Baby is Born

For her study, Black looked at the medical records of nearly 10,000 women who got prenatal care and delivered their babies at a Kaiser Medical Center in Downey, Calif., from 2005 through 2010.

Nearly 60% of the women were overweight or obese, and more than 19% had gestational diabetes.

Of those who had gestational diabetes, more than 76% were either overweight or obese.

Black looked at how weight and diabetes affected the baby’s birth weight. A baby is determined to be large based not only on birth weight, but on gender and race, Black says.

Compared to women of healthy weight and those without gestational diabetes, Black found those overweight, obese, or with gestational diabetes all had increased risks of having large babies.


  • Overweight women without gestational diabetes had a 65% increased risk of having a large baby.
  • Overweight women with gestational diabetes had a 177% increased risk.
  • Obese women without gestational diabetes had a 163% increased risk.
  • Obese women with gestational diabetes had a 447% increased risk.

Obese women who didn’t have gestational diabetes but gained more than 20 pounds during pregnancy were also more likely to have large babies, Black found.

Continued

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Extra Fluff Before Pregnancy

For the moms who were seen as having extra fluff and a higher BMI before she got pregnant, she has already put herself at risk of her baby being born with an above average weight. If moms BMI was 30 and greater, that is when the real risk will kick in. Not to mention, mom will automatically run the risk of developing gestational diabetes which also can cause a baby to be born big.

There are some moms out there who delivered babies whose birth weight was in the double digits, even after the baby had taken their first potty break and had yet to be fed. Most of the women who gave birth to surprisingly large babies also happened to have diabetes before getting pregnant, or who had developed gestational diabetes along the way.

Diabetes During Pregnancy Can Be Deadly For Your Child

Babies born to diabetic mothers are more like to die within their first year, according to a new study.


WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 Diabetes can raise your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and more, but did you know it can also affect your children’s health? Babies are are more likely to die in the womb or shortly after birth when its mother has diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetologia, and experts say the findings show the importance of managing your blood sugar during pregnancy.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK looked at data on more than 1,500 women with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes who gave birth in 1996, and compared them to healthy women who gave birth during the same year. They found that babies were nearly 5 times more likely to die in the womb and nearly 2 times as likely to die within their first year of life when born to diabetic mothers compared to babies born to healthy mothers, even when researchers excluded the increased risk of death from birth defects.

Uncontrolled blood sugar during pregnancy can lead to a host of congenital issues and birth defects, according to the study, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, kidney defects and limb deficiencies, which greatly increase a babys risk of death. However, researchers excluded deaths from these defects, finding that simply having high blood sugar can be deadly for your child.

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Key Points About An Infant Of A Mother With Diabetes

Two types of diabetes can happen in pregnancy. One is gestational diabetes and the other is pre-gestational diabetes.


  • All women are screened for gestational diabetes. This is done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.

  • Having diabetes during pregnancy can harm your baby.

  • Your babys treatment depends on how well you control your blood sugar in the last part of pregnancy and during labor and delivery.

  • Controlling your blood sugar is the best way to reduce your babys risks.

How Is Blood Glucose Checked

What happens when babies are born at 36 weeks?

Blood glucose is checked with just a few drops of blood, usually taken from your babys heel.

If your baby is at-risk but doing well, blood glucose will be checked around 2 hours of age and then again before your baby feeds. In total, it will be checked about 3 to 5 times during the first and second days of life.

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How Are Pregnant Women With Diabetes And Their Infants Treated

During pregnancy, your healthcare provider will watch you and your baby closely. You may be treated by a specialist who cares for pregnant women with diabetes.

Controlling your blood sugar levels is a must. This is the best way to reduce your babys risks. Youll likely need to do the following to care for your diabetes:


  • Watch your blood sugar levels closely. Your healthcare provider may ask you to test your blood sugar at home.

  • Take insulin as prescribed. Your dose of insulin may change throughout pregnancy.

  • Watch your weight. Your doctor may tell you to gain less weight if youre overweight or obese.

Your babys treatment depends on how well you controlled your blood sugar in the last part of pregnancy and during labor and delivery. Treatment will also depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

What Does Current Guidance Say On This Issue

NICE 2008 guidance recommends that clinicians do not offer continuous glucose monitoring routinely to pregnant women with diabetes. It advises to consider it for some pregnant women taking insulin. This includes pregnant women on insulin therapy who have unstable blood glucose levels or have problems with severe low blood glucose episodes.

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More Information On Genetics

If you would like to learn more about the genetics of all forms of diabetes, the National Institutes of Health has published The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes. This free online book provides an overview of the current knowledge about the genetics of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well other less common forms of diabetes. The book is written for health care professionals and for people with diabetes interested in learning more about the disease.

How Gdm Affects Parents

If I have gestational diabetes, how might it affect my baby, and will he be bigger than average?

There are several potential complications of gestational diabetes for the pregnant person.


  • Greater chance of delivering a preemie
  • Greater risk of getting gestational diabetes again with another pregnancy
  • Higher risk of developing other health issues such as high blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • Increased chance of type 2 diabetes following the pregnancy
  • More likely to have a C-section due to premature birth, complications, or a big baby

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Bad News For Babies Born To Diabetic Moms

June 19, 2000 — For babies whose mothers were diabetic during pregnancy, the health problems can be lifelong. These children are at serious risk of obesity, glucose-tolerance problems, and, eventually, type 2 diabetes, say experts who spoke here at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. But this risk can be substantially reduced by screening all pregnant women, they say.

Women who already know they are diabetic should plan their pregnancies very carefully, under a doctor’s care, say the experts. But even nondiabetic women should be screened in case they develop a fairly common problem known as “gestational diabetes” — elevated blood sugar brought about by the pregnancy itself.

The mother often recovers from this condition after she gives birth, but her baby will already have been affected. Further, when a woman has pregnancy-related diabetes, it is a strong clue that she might one day develop type 2 diabetes herself.

Type 2 diabetes — once called “adult-onset” or “non-insulin dependent” diabetes — is the most common type of diabetes and is strongly linked to obesity. Today, most health care professionals use the term “type 2” because some of these patients are dependent on insulin and because the disease is not just for adults anymore. With ever-increasing rates of obesity and couch-potato behavior among children, more kids are developing type 2.

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How Diabetes May Affect Your Baby

Babies born to women with diabetes are often much bigger, a condition called “macrosomia.”

Because their mothers have high blood sugar levels, they get too much sugar through the placenta. The baby’s pancreas senses it and makes more insulin to use it up. That extra sugar gets converted to fat, making a large baby.

Many hospitals keep an eye on babies of mothers with diabetes for several hours after birth. If you regularly have high blood sugar levels while you’re pregnant , your baby may get dangerously low blood sugar right after they’re born. Their insulin is based on your high sugar, and when it’s suddenly taken away, their blood sugar level drops quickly and they’ll need glucose to balance it out.

Their calcium and magnesium levels may be off, too. Those can be fixed with medication.

Some babies are too big to be delivered vaginally, and you’ll need a cesarean delivery or c-section. Your doctor will keep an eye on your baby’s size so you can plan for the safest way to give birth.

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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose In My Baby

The most natural way to feed your baby and to keep a normal blood glucose level is early and frequent breastfeeding. Talk to your health care provider before you start using breast milk substitutes .

Its also important to know if your baby is at risk for low blood glucose .

Do not smoke during pregnancy. Babies who are exposed to tobacco dont grow well.

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