Manifest diabetes mellitus during pregnancy – symptoms and treatment

During pregnancy, women often experience exacerbation of chronic ailments and new serious diseases that require careful monitoring and treatment.

Many expectant mothers, after taking blood tests for glucose levels, find out that they have developed so-called overt diabetes.

A pregnant woman faced with such a diagnosis must figure out what this ailment is, how dangerous it is for a developing fetus, and what measures must be taken to completely eliminate or minimize the consequences that arise from this disease.

Quick reference

Diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disease, accompanied by a violation of carbohydrate metabolism, in which a large amount of sugar accumulates in a person’s blood. Increased glucose levels gradually begin to have a toxic effect on the body.

With a progressive disease, the patient develops vision problems, malfunctions of the kidneys, liver, heart, lesions of the lower extremities occur, etc. Different types of diabetes can be diagnosed in pregnant women.

Most often, expectant mothers suffer from types of diabetes, such as:

  • pregestational (a disease diagnosed in a woman even before conception); 
  • gestational (an ailment that occurs during pregnancy and usually passes after childbirth); 
  • manifest (a disease first diagnosed during pregnancy, but does not disappear after childbirth). 

Women with diagnosed overt diabetes should understand that this pathology will not leave them after the birth of a child, but, most likely, will progress further.

Young mothers at risk will have to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels, monitor their well-being and take medications prescribed by a doctor.

The blood sugar level in overt diabetes is usually much higher than the sugar level in gestational diabetes; it is the test results that help the doctor diagnose the disease and determine what type of ailment a pregnant woman is suffering from.

Causes of occurrence

Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism and, as a consequence, the development of overt diabetes most often occur under the influence of the following factors:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • overweight, obesity;
  • improper nutrition;
  • insufficient physical activity;
  • taking potent medications;
  • age over 40;
  • malfunctions of internal organs (pancreas, kidneys, etc.);
  • nervous exhaustion, etc.

Determining the exact cause of diabetes in pregnant women is often very difficult. However, this disease requires close monitoring and properly selected treatment. 


Manifest diabetes mellitus in pregnant women is manifested as follows:

  • frequent urge to urinate;
  • increased swelling;
  • constant feeling of thirst;
  • dry mouth;
  • increased appetite;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • rapid weight gain;
  • dry skin;
  • the development of infectious diseases of the urinary tract (cystitis, urethritis, etc.);
  • problems with blood vessels, etc.

A pregnant woman must inform her doctor about the occurrence of any of the listed symptoms in combination or separately, based on complaints, the doctor will prescribe the patient the necessary tests that will help confirm or deny the diagnosis of “overt diabetes”.

Possible consequences

Any type of diabetes mellitus is dangerous not only for the pregnant woman herself, but also for the fetus she is carrying.

Manifest diabetes during pregnancy can lead to consequences such as:

  • excessive weight gain of the fetus (such a consequence can affect the very course of labor and provoke ruptures of the mother’s perineum);
  • severe malformations of the internal organs of the fetus;
  • fetal hypoxia;
  • premature birth and spontaneous abortion;
  • the development of diabetes mellitus in a newborn.

A woman who was diagnosed with overt diabetes during pregnancy should especially carefully monitor her health in the postpartum period.

A young mother needs to understand that the identified disease will not go away over time, but will only progress, negatively affecting the overall well-being of the body. That is why experts advise newly-born women to undergo a preventive medical examination and, if necessary, make an appointment with an endocrinologist.


Expectant mothers who have been diagnosed with diabetes should control their blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy.

For this, women can use blood glucose meters with special test strips.

In addition, pregnant women need to regularly donate blood at the clinic, undergo a glucose tolerance test, and also carry out an analysis for glycated hemoglobin.

All these measures will help the patient track any changes in the amount of sugar in the blood and, in case of any deterioration, take measures aimed at preventing complications and negative consequences for the growing fetus.

To get rid of diabetes mellitus and its symptoms, a pregnant woman will have to adhere to a special low-carb diet and do light physical activity (usually doctors advise their patients to walk more, go to the pool, do yoga, etc.).

If, after two weeks of adherence to such a regimen, the glucose level does not drop, the expectant mother will have to regularly inject insulin. In a severe form of overt diabetes, a woman may require hospitalization.

“12817”] During pregnancy, expectant mothers are prohibited from taking sugar-lowering pills due to the high risk of hypoglycemia in the developing fetus.

Life after childbirth

The main feature of overt diabetes mellitus is that with such a disease, unlike gestational diabetes, the level of glucose in a woman’s blood after childbirth does not decrease.

The young mother will have to constantly monitor her sugar, be monitored by an endocrinologist and continue to adhere to the prescribed diet.

Women who are overweight should definitely try to lose weight.

A young mother should also inform the pediatrician about overt diabetes mellitus. The children’s doctor will take this factor into account and will especially carefully monitor the carbohydrate metabolism of the newborn. If after a while a woman decides to give birth to another child, she will have to undergo a full examination of the body at the planning stage and consult a gynecologist and endocrinologist.


To reduce the risks or completely prevent the development of overt diabetes, a woman should lead a healthy lifestyle even before pregnancy and adhere to the following recommendations:

  • observe the diet, do not overeat;
  • eat healthy foods (vegetables, lean meat, dairy products, etc.);
  • minimize the amount of simple carbohydrates in the diet (sweets, carbonated drinks, baked goods, etc.)
  • give up bad habits, quit smoking, do not drink alcohol;
  • do not overwork;
  • avoid stress, nervous strain;
  • play sports, exercise regularly;
  • periodically undergo medical examinations and take a blood sugar test.

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