Diabetes during pregnancy

Insulin

Some women with type 2 diabetes may already be taking insulin before falling pregnant. Other women may need to start taking insulin during pregnancy to help manage their blood glucose levels. Most women with type 2 diabetes will need insulin at some stage during their pregnancy.

Your insulin requirements are likely to change constantly throughout your pregnancy as different hormones take effect and your baby grows.

If you are taking insulin, you need to be prepared to adjust your doses on a regular basis. It is not uncommon to need to make adjustments to your insulin dose at least once a week in the second half of pregnancy.

If you are not sure how to adjust your insulin doses, ask your diabetes in pregnancy team for advice. Adjusting insulin doses in pregnancy is more challenging than usual, so make sure you know how to get in touch with your diabetes team and be prepared to contact them more often.

As pregnancy progresses, it is common to need more insulin. This is because the hormones made by the placenta interfere with the way your insulin normally works – as the pregnancy hormones rise, so does your need for insulin.

Insulin requirements tend to continue to rise until about 34 to 36 weeks, when they may plateau or start to fall a little. If you notice your insulin requirements fall significantly and rapidly in late pregnancy, this can be a sign of problems with the pregnancy – contact your specialist for advice immediately.