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Women with diabetes have successful pregnancies and healthy babies every day, with support from Westmead Hospital specialised diabetes and pregnancy team.

Diabetes and pregnancy – preparing for your healthy baby

  • When someone has diabetes, their body can’t control the levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems.
  • There are two kinds of diabetes:
  • In people with type 1 (or insulin dependent) diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar. They need to inject insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control.
  • In people with type 2 diabetes, the problem is a little different. They have enough insulin, but the body doesn’t use it properly so blood sugar levels can become too high. Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled by diet and exercise, and sometimes medication.
  • It is important to see your doctor or diabetes specialist even before you get pregnant, and then early in pregnancy so that you can get good control of sugar levels.
  • With good care and treatment for the condition, most women with diabetes will have successful pregnancies. They will need to take extra care with diet, and self–test their blood glucose levels more often.
  • Pregnant women with diabetes will need to see their doctor/specialist frequently for care and for adjustments to their medication.
  • For more information on how to have a healthy baby when you have diabetes see Can I have a healthy baby booklet (Diabetes Australia) and Diabetes NSW & ACT

Gestational diabetes

  • Women with gestational diabetes have abnormally raised blood sugar levels. At Westmead Hospital you will have your blood glucose level checked when you have your first blood tests for pregnancy. You will be offered another glucose test at least once during pregnancy, as gestational diabetes can occur in the second half of a pregnancy.
  • All women diagnosed with gestational diabetes need to follow a diet and exercise program. In some cases, women may require medication including insulin injection.
  • About 30 out of 100 women with gestational diabetes will have larger than average babies. They are more likely to have some form of intervention in labour such as a caesarean section operation.
  • Studies have suggested that women who develop gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • For more information on how to have a healthy baby when you have gestational diabetes see Gestational diabetes fact sheet or Gestational Diabetes booklet by Diabetes Australia


Breastfeeding and diabetes

Current research states women with gestational diabetes are up to seven times more likely to develop type two diabetes
In mothers with gestational diabetes, longer duration of breastfeeding showed a correlation with reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Breastfeeding education for women with gestational diabetes should be a part of early diabetes prevention efforts. Mothers may notice a reduction in their milk supply with GDM, especially if there BGLs were unstable prior to the delivery.

For more information see The Raising Children website and The Australian Breastfeeding Association.


More information

Contact your midwife, obstetrician, diabetes specialist or diabetes educator if you have any more questions. To read more stories of women’s experiences of pregnancy with diabetes, from planning to parenting visit Diabetes Victoria website and The Reality Check website.


Fact sheets