Pregnancy and Diabetes

Janice L. Henderson, M.D., Wendy Bennett, M.D., M.P.H., Wanda Nicholson, M.D.


  • Diabetic pregnancy refers to pregnancies complicated by pregestational diabetes (diagnosed before pregnancy) and gestational diabetes (diagnosed after conception).
  • Type 1 diabetes is due to lack of insulin production by the pancreas, while type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is characterized by insulin resistance. Several hormones produced by the placenta lead to increasing insulin resistance as pregnancy progresses.
  • GDMA1 refers to gestational diabetes controlled by diet and exercise, GDMA2 refers to gestational diabetes requiring hypoglycemic agents.
  • Due to the increasing prevalence of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes in nonpregnant women of childbearing age, diagnosis of diabetes in early pregnancy is often referred to as "overt" or "diabetes mellitus in pregnancy" or "probable preexisting diabetes", while the term gestational diabetes is best used to describe diabetes diagnosed in the second half of pregnancy.

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Last updated: February 3, 2019