Diabetes and pregnancy
This information is relevant if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. It is intended to:
- answer your main questions about your healthcare before, during and after pregnancy
- give you guidance on how you and your baby can stay healthy
You can also encourage your family and friends to read the information. This can help them to understand how diabetes may affect your pregnancy and how they can support you.
To give yourself and your baby the best start possible, you need a review of your diabetes and general health. The diabetes team and, if necessary, the obstetric (pregnancy) team can arrange this.
It is highly recommended that you plan your pregnancy if you have diabetes to get the best outcome. We have a pre-conception (before pregnancy) service. A nurse specialist who is experienced in caring for people with diabetes during pregnancy leads this service.
Before you try for a baby, you can ask your GP, practice nurse or local diabetes team to refer you to our pre-conception service.
Apart from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there is a 3rd type of diabetes called gestational diabetes. This happens during pregnancy and usually goes away after your baby is born.
If you have gestational diabetes, there is a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes in future. There are things that you can do to reduce this risk, such as:
- keeping to a healthy weight
- eating a balanced diet
- exercising regularly
We have information about being tested for gestational diabetes, how the condition can affect your pregnancy and possible long-term effects. Please speak to your GP or practice nurse if you have more questions about gestational diabetes.
Having a healthy baby
Most people with diabetes have healthy babies.
Diabetes can be linked with pregnancy complications. However, individuals with diabetes have an equal chance of giving birth to a healthy baby. This is provided that you become pregnant when your diabetes is tightly controlled and you are in good general heath.
It is important that you plan your pregnancy to get the best possible outcome. If you are already pregnant, your diabetes and pregnancy team work with you towards the best outcome for you and your baby.
Unplanned pregnancies are common. This is a difficult time for many people as they think about their options. If you see your GP for your usual diabetes care, you will need an immediate referral to the hospital diabetes team.
The first 8 weeks are when a baby’s main organs develop. For this reason, it is important to get tight control of your blood sugar (glucose) levels as soon as possible.
Useful information and support
The NHS has:
- general information on diabetes and pregnancy
- specific information on pregnancy and giving birth if you have type 1 diabetes
Diabetes UK has information on:
Resource number: 1702/VER4
Last reviewed: September 2022
Next review due: September 2025
A list of sources is available on request.