Babies have lower blood sugar levels compared to older children and adults, and this is normal.
Your baby should be able to stay with you unless there is a medical problem or any signs that he needs intensive or special care. If your baby needs care in the neonatal unit, it may be possible for you to keep him on your ward and take him to the neonatal unit when staff need to monitor or treat him.
But if your baby has been producing a lot of insulin to respond to the high-glucose blood, this can increase the risk of their blood glucose level being too low. However your team will be aware of these risks and will monitor your baby closely.
"My baby was slightly hypo for the first 24 hours because my blood-sugar had been a little high during labour. Thankfully I'd been able to express colostrum in the weeks leading up to the birth so didn't need to give him much formula to get his levels back up again." Maria, mum of one
Your baby will need feeding as soon as possible after he is born. The healthcare team should test his blood glucose level 2-4 hours after birth. They will do this by pricking his heel to get a drop of blood for testing. Your baby will only feel discomfort for a moment.
If your baby shows any signs of congenital heart disease or a heart condition, such as heart murmur, your team may also arrange a scan to look at his heart.
If your baby’s blood glucose level remains low, he might need some extra help to increase his blood glucose levels – for example, by putting him on a glucose drip or feeding him through a tube.
He may also have jaundice (which is usually harmless if treated) or breathing difficulties. He may need to spend some time being monitored in the neonatal unit – especially if he is born prematurely. Many of these things can also occur in babies where diabetes isn’t a factor.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure what’s happening. Talk to a staff member who you feel comfortable with, or phone one of these helplines.
- NICE (2015) Diabetes in pregnancy: management of diabetes and its complications from preconception to the postnatal period, NICE guideline, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
- NHS Choices. Newborn jaundice http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/jaundice-newborn/pages/introduction.aspx
You will be asked to feed your baby as soon as possible after the birth – ideally within half an hour – and then every 2-3 hours until your baby’s pre-feed glucose levels reach a level that your care team are happy with.
Most women find that their insulin needs reduce dramatically as soon as they have had their baby.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy you will get extra care.
You will need to manage your type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy by checking your blood glucose levels and adjusting your treatment according to the results.
Women with type 1 or 2 diabetes are at higher risk of some complications but the majority have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. There is much you can do to reduce the risks, for you and baby.
Many women with type 1 or 2 diabetes go on to have a healthy birth. But you are at higher risk of complications so your healthcare team will have recommendations for the birth of your baby.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you should to talk to your healthcare team if you are thinking about having a baby. There are some things you can do now to make your upcoming pregnancy safer.
The fact that you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy does not mean that your baby will get it as a child. But they will have an increased risk of getting it later due to genetics.
Information and support for type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy