If you develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy, your blood sugar can be hard to control, and this can lead to problems for you and your baby, including:
- A baby that’s too large – With higher than normal blood sugar levels, your baby gets overfed and grows larger than normal. Besides discomfort for you, a baby that’s too large can cause problems during delivery for both you and the baby. In some cases, you might need a C-Section to deliver. Even in cases where your baby can be delivered vaginally, it can be born with nerve damage from pressure placed on the shoulder during delivery.
- C-Section (Cesarean Section) – This procedure delivers the baby from the uterus and through your abdomen. If you have diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, you have a higher chance of needing a C-section during delivery. When the baby is delivered by a C-section, it can also take longer for you to recover from childbirth.
- High Blood Pressure (Preeclampsia) – This condition causes high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and often swelling in fingers and toes that doesn’t go away during pregnancy. A serious condition, it needs to be watched closely and managed by a doctor or healthcare professional. Untreated, high blood pressure can cause harm to you and your unborn baby, including an early birth and/or a seizure or a stroke (a blood clot or bleeding in the brain that can lead to brain damage) during labor and delivery. Many women with diabetes have high blood pressure more often than women without diabetes.
- Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia) – Women who have diabetes and take insulin or other diabetes medications can develop blood sugar that is too low – a condition that can be very serious, even fatal, if not treated quickly. This condition can be avoided if you watch your blood sugar closely and treat low blood sugar early. If your diabetes is not well controlled during pregnancy, your baby can quickly develop low blood sugar after birth and must be monitored after delivery.