Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

by Cheryl Alkon.

Copyright © 2010 by Demos Medical Publishing.

Provided with permission by Demos Medical Publishing. All rights reserved.

For more information or to order this book, visit

What Blood Sugars Typically Do Each Trimester

Like everything else with diabetes, your experience may differ, but typically blood sugar control varies trimester by trimester, week by week, and even day by day. According to the book Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, insulin requirements start dropping around week 6, dip to their lowest around weeks 9 through 11, and gradually zip up from week 12 back toward where they were before conceiving by week 16. It's unclear what causes this pattern, though it may be related, in part, to morning sickness, according to Dr. Florence Brown. After week 16, the body starts producing a cocktail of pregnancy hormones that cause insulin resistance; from then, insulin needs steadily increase up to week 36, after which they level off or even slightly decrease until delivery.

"At 36 weeks, the placenta stops growing and the hormones it makes stabilize. Sometimes the insulin requirements decrease in the last three to four weeks of pregnancy, as the fetus siphons off increasing amounts of glucose," said Dr. Brown.

This means you'll need to take more insulin—sometimes double or triple (or even more) the amount you took before your pregnancy—until you give birth. After your baby and placenta are out, your insulin needs plummet. Sometimes, a day or two after delivering you might not need as much insulin as you required before your pregnancy—or any at all.

Last Modified Date: July 17, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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