3 Minute Read:
It is well known that Type-2 diabetes can affect fetal development in a number of ways, although it wasn't until recently that evidence of a correlation between diabetes and miscarriage started to appear. The first studies of this problem showed that recurrent miscarriages could be a red flag for the development of Type-2 diabetes later in life, but when other factors came into play, such as pre-pregnancy obesity, among others, the results started to suggest that the opposite was also true.
Statistics have shown that approximately one out of every nine women in the United States are diabetic. Unfortunately, many women do not know it, which is why it is very important for all women to be tested prior to becoming pregnant.
For those who already know they are diabetic, the best moment to get their blood sugar levels under control is before becoming pregnant (naturally or through in vitro fertilization). This is because high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can also worsen diabetes-related conditions over the long term, including diminished sight, heart disease, and renal disease.
How Can Type-2 Diabetes Affect You And Your Baby
Studies have shown that high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can cause a number of problems for your baby, including premature birth, excess weight, and respiratory issues, or presenting with a severe drop in blood sugar immediately after birth. It also can cause your child to have a variety of birth defects.
Additionally, the risk of miscarriage is increased prior to the 20th week of gestation. The reason for this is that a high level of glucose in the mother's blood passes directly to the baby. This means that if your blood sugar is high, so is your child's, which in turn will affect organ development, leading to a higher incidence of miscarriage or birth defects.
A baby’s organs are developed by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. If its mother has high blood sugar levels during this period, it can be severely damaging to the child. Even so, many women do not realize they are pregnant until five or six weeks after conception, which can present a serious issue if their diabetes is not controlled beforehand.
Nevertheless, studies have shown that when diabetic women gain control of their glucose levels before becoming pregnant and throughout the pregnancy, the risk for miscarriage and birth defects is the same as that for babies born to women who are not diabetic.
What Can You Do If You Are Diabetic And Already Pregnant?
If you are already pregnant, consult with your physician as soon as possible in order to create a plan to care for yourself and your baby. Even if you don't find out about your pregnancy until you are further along, doing so can help your and your child's health in a number of ways.