How To Reduce Preexisting Diabetes in Pregnancy Risks

Preexisting Diabetes in Pregnancy Risks

If you have preexisting diabetes in pregnancy, the key to lowering pregnancy risks is to keep your blood sugar levels in control. You can have the same chance for a healthy baby as a woman without diabetes with good planning, proper obstetrical care and tight control of blood sugar levels.

Many of you may think this is easier said than done, especially if you have struggled with your blood sugar levels.

However with the proper strategies, it can be easier than you think.

How to Reduce Preexisting Diabetes in Pregnancy Risks and Complications

  • Prior to pregnancy, let your doctor know of your pregnancy plans and get a complete physical including a kidney function test.
  • Get your blood sugar levels under control for 3 to 6 months before trying to conceive to help reduce the chances of developmental complications in the fetus. If you have an unplanned pregnancy, gaining control of blood sugar levels as soon as possible and maintaining control throughout the rest of the pregnancy will also reduce chances for risks and complications.
  • Review your medications with your doctor. Stop or replace any medications that are not safe for pregnancy. Your doctor may ask you to switch to insulin for controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Monitor your eyes. Get eye exams prior, during, and after pregnancy.
  • Check your blood sugar levels several times a day. Your healthcare team will give the best blood sugar targets for your individual situation. Common plasma blood glucose goals are:
    • 105 mg/dL or less upon waking (fasting blood sugar)
    • 110 mg/dL or less before meals
    • 155 mg/dL or less 1 hour after meals
    • 135 mg/dL or less 2 hours after meals
    • No less than 65 in the middle of the night (usually around 2:00 to 3:00 a.m.).
  • Monitor your A1c levels prior to, during, and after pregnancy. It is common to be given an A1c laboratory test goal of 6% or lower during pregnancy. The normal A1c level for women without diabetes is 5%. According to studies, women with A1c measurements over 9.3% before pregnancy had the highest risks of miscarriages and fetal developmental complications.
  • Check urine ketones if asked by your doctor. If you have blood sugar measurements around 180 mg/dL or higher, check for ketones to rule out ketoacidosis which raises the risk for miscarriage.
  • Follow the recommendations of your healthcare team for diet and exercise.
  • Keep all your doctor appointments. Go for all fetal monitoring that includes biophysical profiles and nonstress tests to assess the development of your baby. Perform kick counts as directed.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
  • Keep in touch with your healthcare team and alert them as soon as possible to any problems or difficulties you are having related to your pregnancy and diabetes.


Greene, M.F., J.W. Hare, J.P. Cloherty, B.R. Benacerraf, and J.S. Soeldner. "First Trimester Hemoglobin A1 and Risk for Major Malformation and Spontaneous Abortion in Diabetic Pregnancy." Teratology 39(1989): 225-31.

For Women with Diabetes: Your Guide to Pregnancy. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Accessed: October 12, 2010.

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