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October 11, 2003

Family Planning

Question from Waterville, Maine, USA:

I have type�1 diabetes, am four months pregnant, and I have had a few really low blood sugars in the past two months. I want to know if this is really harmful to the baby or if it could make the baby die because I know it causes the umbilical cord to tighten.


From: DTeam Staff

The actual effect of low blood sugar on the fetus is not well understood, but it is not associated with any fetal abnormalities such as is the case with hyperglycemia. Glucose easily crosses the placenta. So, if mom’s glucose is low, then the baby probably feels the effects quickly.However, the fetus does have some glucose reserve, but it is limited. This is why I prefer a mother with diabetes who has frequent hypoglycemia to loosen her glucose control a little bit. The risk of a large baby is easier to deal with than a mother who is in insulin shock. I am not aware that hypoglycemia causes the umbilical cord to tighten up.