Effects of Gestational Diabetes on Baby & Mother

A pregnant woman checking her blood sugar

Every pregnant woman wishes for a smooth sailing pregnancy but sometimes certain health complications may pose a threat to both the mother and her unborn child. Gestational diabetes is one such condition that may cause various complications for both your baby and you. Know more about gestational diabetes and know about various risks it may cause to your baby and you.

How does Gestational Diabetes Affect your Baby?

It is seen that some women develop diabetes in pregnancy, which is called gestational diabetes. Where some women are able to manage gestational diabetes by managing their diet and lifestyle, others may have to take medicines to get their condition under control. However, under no circumstances, you should take your gestational diabetes lightly as it may lead to some serious complications in your unborn baby. Here are some of the problems that may affect your baby or here are some diabetes in pregnancy risks to baby:

1. Large Baby Or More Birth Weight

The higher amounts of glucose levels enter your baby’s bloodstream also. The high blood glucose will cause more production of insulin in your baby’s body, which may result in more birth weight in babies. Such babies may have up to 9 pounds or higher birth weight.

2. Pre-Term Or Premature Baby

Gestational diabetes may cause preterm labour or lead to premature births. In some cases, the doctor may suggest a preterm delivery because the baby may be gaining too much weight.

3. Breathing Difficulties

Preterm babies may have breathing difficulties or respiratory distress syndrome. Such babies need extra care till the times their lungs become mature and stronger.

4. Hypoglycaemia Or Low Blood Sugar

Some babies may develop hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar levels soon after birth. This is because their insulin production is high, which may cause seizer in babies. The condition can get under control by offering them breast milk or intravenous glucose soon after birth to regulate their blood sugar levels.

5. Affects The Heart

Your gestational diabetes can affect your baby’s heart health too. It may cause thickening of your baby’s heart muscles or lead to a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes rapid breathing and lack of oxygen in your baby’s blood.

6. Threat Of Type 2 Diabetes

Babies who are born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

These are some of the complications that may arise in case you do not keep your blood sugar levels in check if you are suffering from gestational diabetes. In some cases, gestational diabetes may lead to certain brain deformities or it may even lead to stillbirths. If you are wondering, can gestational diabetes affect the baby, the answer is yes, and it can affect your baby? It is very important for you to understand high blood sugar during pregnancy effects on baby and take necessary actions to prevent it.

Will your Baby Need Special Care After Birth?

Your baby may need special care after birth. This is because your baby is at a risk of having low sugar levels soon after birth and thus your baby may have to undergo blood glucose testing. In case the results are abnormal, your doctor will be monitoring your baby closely.

Your doctor may recommend feeding your baby soon after birth to prevent low blood sugar levels. However, in extreme cases, your doctor may recommend intravenous glucose to get your baby’s blood sugar levels under control.

Depending on how the labour and delivery went, your doctor may keep your baby in a neonatal intensive care unit for some time. However, your doctor may take special care of your baby under following conditions:

  • Your baby is born prematurely
  • Your baby has breathing difficulty
  • Your baby has low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia
  • Your baby has other common birth-related complications such as jaundice.

Risk of Gestational Diabetes for the Mother

A doctor checking a pregnant woman's blood sugar

Here are some complications associated with gestational diabetes that may affect the mother’s health:

  • If you have gestational diabetes then you may develop type 2 diabetes later in life. However, dietary and lifestyle changes may reduce your chances of having type 2 diabetes in future.
  • Gestational diabetes puts you at the risk associated with high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
  • You are at a higher risk of having a caesarean delivery.
  • You are more likely to go into preterm labour.
  • You may even suffer from a miscarriage.

Though the risks associated with gestational diabetes may scare you, however, there is no need to worry. With lifestyle changes, dietary changes and medicines, you can effectively control gestational diabetes and deliver a healthy baby. If you notice any abnormal sign or complication in your pregnancy, it is suggested to seek immediate medical help. Keep in touch with your doctor and keep monitoring your sugar levels.