Diabetes type 1 may be found in certain families and passed to offspring. It is therefore important for affected individuals to assess their circumstances.
There are no fast hard rules that can be laid down but it is important to note that diabetic pregnant women undergo far greater stress than a non-diabetic pregnant women.
It is important to consider the possibility that the child of a type diabetic may also become diabetic.
For example, if both husband and wife have diabetes, or have families with a history of diabetes, the chances of having a diabetic offspring are higher than where none of the parents is diabetic.
If on the other hand if one partner has diabetes with no family history of diabetes, there is a slight possibility of having a diabetic offspring.
Let me hasten to add that diabetic woman married to a diabetic man may give birth to a child who may not be diabetic. What we have considered is the possibility that a child may be diabetic from two diabetic parents.
In addition, it is possible to have a diabetic person in a family without a history of diabetes because of environmental conditions.
Let’s now look at the situation of a diabetic pregnant woman. Pregnancy may be divided into three stages, called trimesters, of approximately 13 weeks.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the only difficulty likely to be met by the pregnant diabetic woman is morning vomiting. This rarely proves more than temporary inconvenience.
The main problems for the diabetic begin during the second trimester. During this stage, the amount of carbohydrates taken is increased because of the increased demand by the growing fetus. The increased intake also compensates for the losses of glucose through the urine. It is during this stage that the risk of death of the fetus is increased.
The patient should cooperate with the family doctor as much as possible in controlling the amount of sugar in the blood otherwise fetal death may occur. The patient will need to pay special attention to diet. Special diet and regular monitoring of blood sugar is mandatory.
The third trimester ends at birth. Diabetic mothers tend to have a higher proportion of babies with deformities before birth. These deformities are usually referred to as congenital deformities. If the baby is grossly deformed, it may die before birth.
Congenital malformations due to diabetes cannot be prevented by controlling the blood sugar once conception has occurred.
Maximum safety for the fetus can only be provided by careful treatment before the women is pregnant. Therefore, diabetics should discuss with their family physicians at the time pregnancy planned.
Routine treatment of diabetes is not an option and should not be ignored or taken lightly, especially for a woman intending to be a mother. Treatment schedules require much effort on the part of the diabetic. Each individual should be reliable and willing to accept responsibility for self-care, which is very important especially during pregnancy.
Families should consider their financial status when pregnancy is being planned because the monitoring of glucose levels can be expensive. Other tests may be required which might increase the bill.
Pregnant diabetic mothers tend to have big babies. If they attend the recommended clinic regularly and follow the instruction given by the medical personnel, all is likely to end well.