Tommy's PregnancyHub

Your baby after giving birth with type 1 or 2 diabetes

The levels of glucose in your blood can directly affect your baby’s glucose levels when he is born.

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.

If you were able to harvested colostrum in the third trimester this can be used to help your baby's sugar levels stabilise.

'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.

Ask questions

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.

Read more

  1. 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
  2. NHS Choices. Newborn jaundice 
Review dates

Last reviewed: 1 September, 2015
Next review: 1 September, 2017