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Understanding Blood Sugar During Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. You are at risk of developing, or perhaps have already developed, gestational diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar can help prevent problems for you and your baby.

Your body turns food into blood sugar

As food is digested, it turns into sugar (glucose), a fuel that feeds your body. This sugar goes into your bloodstream. Your body then releases a substance called insulin to help your body use blood sugar properly.

Cross section side view of uterus with baby inside. Placenta is attached to inside wall of uterus. Umbilical cord goes from placenta to baby.

Blood sugar goes to your baby

The placenta connects your baby’s tissue to yours. Your blood sugar goes to your baby from the placenta through the umbilical cord. Your baby uses this sugar to grow.

Too much blood sugar affects you and your baby

During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can disrupt the way your body uses insulin. If your body can’t use insulin properly, your blood sugar level gets too high. Then too much blood sugar goes to your baby. This can cause problems for both you and your baby.

Controlling your blood sugar helps prevent problems

You can lower your blood sugar by eating right, exercising, and taking medicines that your healthcare provider prescribes to control your blood sugar. If you keep your blood sugar in control, the risks to you and your baby are the same as those for a normal pregnancy.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.