Are Women wth Diabetes at Higher Risk of a Miscarriage?

Marija Nestorovic

Chris Stocker

Chris Stocker

Owner and author of The Life of a Diabetic. He's been writing about Diabetes related topics for over 10 years, and has been featured in HealthLine, Diatribe, Diabetes Advocates and JDRF.. He's been writing about Diabetes related topics for over 10 years, and has been featured in HealthLine, Diatribe, Diabetes Advocates and JDRF.

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Last Updated on November 30, 2023

A person needs energy in their body, and it comes from glucose. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and it is critical for breaking down glucose into energy. If there is a malfunction in the process, it results in diabetes.

Diabetes can be type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. When your body does not create any insulin, you have type 1 diabetes, while if your body is resistant and you are producing it, you will have type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is different as it results from hormonal disruption during pregnancy. All types of diabetes can cause miscarriage or pregnancy complications. Let’s dive in and discover whether diabetic women are at a higher risk of a miscarriage.

Diabetes and miscarriage

A woman is highly likely to get pregnancy issues such as neonatal fatalities, stillbirth, and miscarriage if they have diabetes. Therefore, as they plan to get pregnant, they need to go through the women’s physical exam checklist with their physician in the presence of their partner or guardian to get ready for any complications. It is like a risk management strategy, as they can proactively anticipate and deal with issues rather than wait for them to happen.

The importance of the women’s physical exam checklist

It is important to stay ready emotionally and physically if you have diabetes during pre-delivery. A professional will ensure that they can do various checks, including blood tests and transitioning from birth control. For example, a blood test is important to check the progress of the pregnancy within the first 12 weeks by monitoring the A1c or HbA1c glycosylated hemoglobin levels. Other possible tests include;

  • Foot exam
  • Liver and kidney check
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Eye exam
  • Triglyceride blood and cholesterol tests
  • Urinary checks

Effects of diabetes on the baby

Your baby might get macrosomia if you had diabetes while pregnant, as they will be bigger than expected. It is because your sugar levels will be high, and they will be at a similar level in the placenta. A baby in the womb will automatically produce more insulin to burn the sugar and store more fats in their bodies. Therefore, they will emerge bigger than they should be.

It is a standard practice to monitor delivered babies from mothers with diabetes after birth for a couple of hours. It is because their sugar levels might fall dramatically within the first few hours after birth, especially if the diabetic mother had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It results from high insulin in their blood with low sugars to break down, requiring glucose to level the condition. There can also be concerns about their magnesium and calcium levels, which are easily fixable.

If the baby is too big, the delivery process might require a c-section. The doctor can predetermine the baby’s size and assess the situation and advise the diabetic mother on the best delivery method.

Treating diabetes while pregnant

The standard diabetes treatment is controlled through insulin, and when you are pregnant, you will need to consult your physician, and they will advise you on how to control the dose to fit the new demands. Insulin is the best treatment for pregnant women, and they will have to avoid drugs that come in pills, as they might not be effective for blood sugar control.

They will also advise you to alter your diet to ensure that you can take care of the baby effectively and control blood sugar levels. For example, they can tell you to add more calories to help the baby grow. The diet will also be essential to keep you healthy and control diabetes.

The diabetic condition in labor and delivery

Insulin is the appropriate medication for diabetes, and it should also be helpful during labor and delivery. When labor kicks in, it stresses the baby and the mother. After delivery, a pregnant mother will usually continue treatment either on a pump or IV. A pregnant mother’s insulin demand will drop significantly after delivery, and a physician should monitor the levels during the progress.

Complications before and after birth

Safe delivery is not the end of the road, and a pregnant mother is still at risk of other complications. The complications can be severe, especially if the mother’s diabetes is uncontrolled. They start with effects on the baby, as they get macrosomia, and they need monitoring to stabilize their condition after birth. It also affects the mother, as they will have difficulty delivering or they will have to undergo a c-section.

A diabetic mother may experience preterm delivery, as they give birth before the required time. It affects their breathing and eating habits. They may also experience stillbirth, or the child will have neural tube and heart defects. It is possible to evade the problems through;

  • Careful monitoring
  • Nutrition
  • Medication

What you need to check

A diabetic pregnant mother is responsible for their health, as much as they see their doctor. There are various blood sugar level symptoms they need to watch out for, such as tingling lips, confusion, disorientation, racing heart, dizziness, sweating, or shaking. If you are a pregnant diabetic woman, you should see your doctor immediately. Other accompanying symptoms include fruity breath, dry mouth, or feeling extremely thirsty, which are easy to ignore.

High blood pressure is another predisposing factor to birth complications. It can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm delivery, and intrauterine growth restriction. Pregnant women and their physician must constantly monitor their blood pressure to worsen diabetes.

If they are not aware that they have diabetes, having high amounts of amniotic fluid is a symptom. It has similar effects to blood pressure and includes premature labor, placental abruption, and prolapsed umbilical cord, which has adverse results on the mother and the baby. They are also predisposing factors to post-birth complications.

Final thoughts

If you are a diabetic pregnant woman, there is no cause for panic, as you can make it through. It is all about self-care and following the doctor’s instructions, and you will stand an excellent chance to avoid any pregnancy and post-delivery complications. As a pregnant woman with diabetes, you should realize that your health concerns are unique, and you should not take them lightly.

You should continue adhering to medications and adjusting them accordingly as advised by your doctor to ensure that you have balanced blood sugar levels and deliver a healthy baby.

Marija Nestorovic has been a health and diet enthusiast for as long as she remembers. She's passionate about questioning every new dietary trend that comes up and determining whether it's scientifically proven or just another fad diet. She enjoys spreading her knowledge on the subject and helping people kick-start their weight loss healthily and sustainably.

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