Diabetes during pregnancy

Ketoacidosis

High blood glucose levels can put you at risk of a serious condition called ketoacidosis.

If there is not enough insulin for your body cells to use glucose for energy, your blood glucose levels will rise and your body will break down fats instead (as another energy source). However, fat breakdown leads to your body forming ketones which you can detect in your blood or urine. High blood glucose levels and ketones can result in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), requiring hospitalisation.

Ketoacidosis may occur when you are unwell, forget to take your insulin or don’t take enough insulin. To check for ketones you can:

  • Test your blood (using a monitor which can test for both glucose and ketones in your blood) OR
  • Test your urine (using urine test strips available where you buy your blood testing strips)

The risk of ketoacidosis increases during pregnancy and is very dangerous, especially for the baby. It is important to go to hospital immediately if your blood glucose levels are high and there is any sign of ketoacidosis (blood ketones more than 0.6 or urine ketones more than 1+).