Labour and birth

Women with type 2 diabetes

Managing diabetes during labour

Your own blood glucose levels in the time leading up to the birth have an important effect on your baby’s blood glucose levels. The higher your blood glucose is, the higher the glucose supply will be to your baby before birth. The extra glucose stimulates the baby’s pancreas to make more insulin.

At birth, your glucose supply to your baby suddenly stops, but your baby may continue to produce excess insulin for several hours and even up to one or two days after birth. This can cause hypoglycaemia in the baby. If you have blood glucose levels close to the recommended range during labour, this lowers the risk of your baby having low blood glucose levels at birth.

When an induction or caesarean section is planned, your diabetes in pregnancy team will discuss with you a plan for managing your diabetes.

If you are taking metformin and having a planned delivery (either induction of labour or caesarean section) your metformin will be stopped the day before delivery.

When you are in labour, your blood glucose levels will be monitored frequently (usually every one or two hours). Some women with type 2 diabetes may not need insulin during labour, your doctor will decide whether you will need insulin during labour.

If you need insulin during labour, the dose will be adjusted to keep your blood glucose levels in the normal range. You may be given the insulin as injections or via an intravenous (IV) insulin infusion along with IV glucose (sugar).