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Diabetes and Pregnancy

pregnant woman sitting at computer desk

Type 1 or type 2 diabetes can affect women in childbearing years. Also,women without a prior diagnosis of diabetes may develop diabetes during pregnancy.

There are three common types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body makes no insulin or so little insulin that the body cannot change blood sugar into energy.  Type 1 diabetes usually develops during childhood or adolescence, before a woman gets pregnant.
  • Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body makes too little insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes to change blood sugar into energy.  Type 2 diabetes often occurs after childbearing age, although it is becoming more common for childbearing-aged women to develop type 2 diabetes.

In a woman with preexisting diabetes (which includes type 1 and type 2), blood sugar that remains high can trigger or worsen certain health problems.  Click here for more information.

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first diagnosed in a pregnant woman. Out of every 100 pregnant women in the U.S. two to ten will have gestational diabetes.  Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, but if it does not go away, it is known as type 2 diabetes.  Many women who have gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes later.  Click here for more information about the risk factors for and complications of gestational diabetes.

Learn more about diabetes and pregnancy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Diabetes Association.

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. Through formative research, the CDC found that a lack of knowledge and awareness about the need to control diabetes before and during pregnancy existed among women and health care providers. As a result, the CDC created materials and resources on gestational diabetes and preexisting diabetes and pregnancy, in both English and Spanish. 

    Learn more about diabetes and pregnancy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Information and resources are available from the National Institutes of Health at Medline Plus.

Ask More

  1. Did you have gestational diabetes when you were pregnant?
    Diabetes in pregnancy affects both potential parents, and knowledge about risks and expectations will benefit all employees. Since many employees plan pregnancies and seek information on their employer’s parental leave policy, perhaps the best place to include helpful links to online health information on diabetes in pregnancy is within the employer’s written or online maternity/paternity leave policy.
    Consider sponsoring an educational health fair.  The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse has information about gestational diabetes that can be on display, along with other NDEP materials related to physical activity and healthy eating.
    Click here for: Did You have Gestational Diabetes When You Were Pregnant? What You Need to Know.
  2. What can be done to prevent health problems related to diabetes during pregnancy?
    Click here for advice for women with diabetes.
  3. How can family, friends and health care providers help women who have gestational diabetes or with preexisting diabetes who are pregnant?
    Click here to see how family, friends and health care providers can help.
  4. I have learned that women with diabetes can have a number of challenges during pregnancy. How can I learn more and provide information to the women with diabetes where I work?
    To learn more about diabetes and pregnancy visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Diabetes Association also has information on diabetes and pregnancy.