What Are The Effects Of High Blood Sugar On Fetus?

FetusElevated glucose level in blood of a pregnant women can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the future. The raised level of glucose also increases the risk for growing fetus.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas which function to maintain the proper blood glucose level. Insulin resistance can develop which would result into elevated glucose levels. Gestational diabetes mellitus is the intolerance of glucose which is first detected during pregnancy. When the gestational diabetes is left untreated, it might cause serious risks for the growing fetus.

Gestational Diabetes Effects On Fetus:

Some of the serious effects of the high glucose levels in an expected mother are as follows-

Congenital Malformations-

  • This includes respiratory system defects and heart defects.
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is caused as a result of respiratory defect.
  • This is more commonly found in the babies whose mothers were diabetic during pregnancy.

Intrauterine Death-

As compared to non- diabetic mother, the intrauterine deaths are more common in the expectant women with diabetes.

Fetal Macrosomia-

  • This occurs when the baby is considerably larger than the normal.
  • As a result of insulin resistance in a mother when the blood glucose level raises, the extra glucose of blood goes through the placenta into the fetus.
  • This raises the blood glucose of the fetus, which as a result, stimulates the pancreas of the baby to increase production of insulin.
  • This results in more energy to be released by the baby.
  • The released energy is stored as fat and thus increases the baby’s size with increased fat, muscle mass and increased organ size.


  • When the baby is born to a diabetic mother, there is an increased bilirubin production.
  • The increased bilirubin level causes the skin and the mucous membrane yellowing or jaundice.


  • After birth, the baby can develop hypoglycemia or the low levels of blood glucose.
  • This happens as the baby’s pancreas have been stimulated to produce more insulin and the over production of insulin can continue even for some more time after birth.
  • Blood sugar needs to be carefully monitored.

Type-2 Diabetes Risk-

There is an increased risk of child born to diabetic mothers to develop Type-2 diabetes later on in life.

Birth Injuries-

These are more common as the child grows big and there is difficulty in delivery of large sized baby.

Treatment of pregnancy diabetes depends on many factors. Some women can control their blood glucose by diet control and workouts. For other women, insulin injections become necessary until the baby is delivered.

1 response to What Are The Effects Of High Blood Sugar On Fetus?

  1. Any citations?! Thanks!