Gestational Diabetes – Risks for Baby

When you first discover that you have gestational diabetes most likely you are going to
be upset and worried about your baby. There are risks to the baby when a mother has
gestational diabetes but with careful monitoring and strict control of diet and blood
glucose levels these risks can be minimized.

The most frequent complication associated with babies whose mothers have had
gestational diabetes is how big they become. The extra glucose in the mother’s system is
also shared by the baby and the baby creates extra insulin which in turn produces
unneeded fat stores – this is not healthy for the baby and the baby’s size can become
dangerous. A large baby (known as macrosomia) can make labor and delivery more
difficult. The baby can get injured during delivery (shoulder injuries are common) and a
higher percentage of moms with gestational diabetes having a caesarian section.

If your diabetes is poorly controlled while you are pregnant your baby will be born
producing more insulin than it should. Once the baby is born and is no longer exposed to
your high glucose levels, he or she will still be producing insulin at the same rate they
were in the womb. This can cause your baby’s own blood sugar level to drop
dangerously low, this condition is called hypoglycemia.

When a baby is born with high insulin levels the affects are long-lasting. The baby will
grow up and be at a higher than normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes for the rest of
its life. These same babies may also suffer from childhood obesity because of the
additional fat stores that were creating during pregnancy. These risks give moms the
incentive and drive to stick with the diabetic diet and exercise regime – it is the way to
give your baby the best start.