If a pregnant mother has diabetes, she may often wonder if she can pass diabetes on to her baby. To be blunt, no. If a mother has diabetes, it does not cause her baby to have diabetes. Your child’s risk of developing diabetes is related to family history, body weight and lifestyle.
Diabetes is a disease in which there is a high level of sugar found in a person’s blood. Diabetes is a lifelong illness, and once diagnosed, there is no cure. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to control your blood sugar.
If your body does not make enough insulin or if your body resists it, this can cause diabetes. There are three major types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children, teens and young adults, but it can occur at any time in a person’s life. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough, or any, insulin. The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, and a person with Type 1 will need to inject insulin into their body every day.
Can I Give My Baby Diabetes? Answer: No.
Type 2 diabetes usually happens during adulthood, but it is not uncommon to be found in teens and young adults due to high levels of childhood obesity. This type of diabetes is due primarily to lifestyle factors and genetics. Contrary to popular belief, eating a lot of sugar does not cause diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. This happens when a woman has high blood sugar levels while pregnant, but does not normally have diabetes. Gestational diabetes is low and often found in only 2-5% of all pregnancies. After delivery, gestational diabetes will usually go away on its own. It is fully treatable while pregnant, and simply requires supervision by your doctor.
If gestational diabetes remains untreated, it can pose health risks to the baby and the mother. These risks to the baby include high birth weight, abnormalities to the heart and central nervous system, and may even cause muscle malformations in the bones.
Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar levels is not good for your body. Symptoms of high blood sugar include fatigue, frequent urination, blurry vision, becoming overly thirsty and losing weight. These symptoms tend to become more prevalent over time. Since they take so long to develop, some people tend to be chronically sick when diagnosed.
Some pregnant women think that eating sugary snacks will give their baby diabetes. This is not true. While sugar is not healthy for anyone, pregnant or not, an occasional snack is not going to give your baby diabetes. As mentioned before, diabetes is typically related to your family’s history of the disease, your body weight and your lifestyle.
Diabetes Diagnosed in Children
Diabetes is a very common disease found in children. While genetics does play a role in a person’s chances of getting diabetes, most people who get Type 1 do not have any family history of diabetes. A person’s genetics are much more prevalent in Type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight, your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes are higher.
If your baby has developed diabetes, it is probably Type 1. This means your baby’s pancreas does not produce insulin. Because of this, you will need to give them an injection of insulin every day. Even though Type 1 accounts for 5 to 10% of all cases of diabetes, 75% of newly diagnosed cases are in children under the age of 18. This is why Type 1 is sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms
If your baby has increased thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite, sudden weight loss or fruity/sweet breath, consult his or her doctor right away. If your baby is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you will need to make sure their glucose levels stay within a safe range by monitoring it during the day. You will also need to watch their diet, give him or her insulin shots and regularly visit the doctor.
Remember, as a mother with diabetes, you cannot pass the disease on to your child. You must take extra good care of yourself while pregnant to ensure your child does remain healthy. Diabetes is a disease that needs to be cared for. If you child is diagnosed with diabetes, there are plenty of things you will need to do to keep it under control. There are also numerous websites, groups and reading material to help you learn more about diabetes and how to help care for a diabetic baby.
If you are worried your child may have diabetes, consult their physician. Your child’s doctor will be able to perform the necessary tests to determine if your child does have the disease as well as discuss your concerns more thoroughly.