May 13, 2004
Question from United Kingdom:
My sister has recently had a miscarriage in the very early stages of pregnancy. From very early on, she began to suffer from signs of diabetes. As a diabetic, I began monitoring her sugars, which were very high, ranging from 10 to 22 mmol/L [180 to 396 mg/dl]. She was tested at the doctors who confirmed this. Can high blood sugars effect a pregnancy to the point where the mom miscarries?
The high blood sugar itself probably does not lead to a miscarriage. I have taken care of patients with diabetes who start off in very poor control, but still manage to continue the pregnancy. However, the developing embryo is very sensitive to hyperglycemia which can sometimes result in developmental abnormalities. Spina bifida is a classic example. If the abnormalities are severe enough, then that may cause a pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, most of the time there is not a good explanation for a miscarriage.