Delivery and Your New Baby
If you have diabetes, it is strongly recommended that you give birth with the support of a consultant-led maternity team in a hospital.
If you have diabetes, it is strongly recommended that you give birth with the support of a consultant-led maternity team in a hospital. Babies born to mothers who have diabetes are often larger than normal. This is because blood glucose passes directly from you to your baby, so if you have high blood glucose levels your baby will produce extra insulin to compensate. This can lead to your baby storing more fat and tissue.
This in turn can lead to birth difficulties, which requires the expertise of a hospital team. The best way to help reduce the likelihood of this happening is to keep good control of your blood glucose levels during your pregnancy and if possible before you become pregnant.
If possible, it is generally recommended to breastfeed your baby within the first half hour after the birth to keep your baby’s own blood glucose levels up. Usually about two to four hours after your baby is born, a heel prick test (a blood glucose test taking blood from your baby’s heel) will be performed to see if your baby’s blood glucose levels are low.
If your baby’s blood glucose remains low, they may be put onto a glucose drip. After your baby has been born, you should find that you won't need as much insulin to control your blood glucose levels.
Your new baby
It is no longer routine for babies of women with diabetes to go into the Special Care Baby Unit once they are born. After delivery, however, your baby's blood glucose levels will be checked every so often, just to be sure that all is well. This is normal practice and is nothing to worry about.
If your baby's blood glucose is very low
- Babies only need special neonatal care if their blood glucose is less than 2.6mmol/L, which is a much lower level than you might expect
- Any blood glucose level over 2.6mmol/L is fine for a baby if not hypo
- Some babies produce a bit too much insulin at first, making their blood glucose very low. These babies need closer monitoring
- After a while - usually about 48 hours - the baby will adjust, will not make so much insulin, and his or her blood glucose will return to normal