23 Responses

  1. Kathy
    Kathy January 5, 2012 at 7:18 am | | Reply

    What I would really love is a study of t1 women and ALL ob/gyne complications. Not everyone w/t1D forgoes children due to diabetes. I just had a D&C for non-pregnancy related symptoms and learned of two studies showing that t1D women not only have a 3x higher risk of endometrial cancer, they also experience menopause 7-10 years earlier than women without diabetes. No one told me these were known complications in the last 29 years I’ve lived with the D.

  2. Sysy
    Sysy January 5, 2012 at 7:59 am | | Reply

    This is a great post.

    I was told that probably due to my diabetes, my pelvic floor muscles, the muscles that need to dilate and allow for delivery were extremely tight. I received intense therapy for this during my twin pregnancy and once I developed preeclampsia I was admitted to the hospital and put on pitosin to start the process. I tried from Monday afternoon to Tuesday night to have a natural child birth. Finally, when my blood pressure was too dangerous to continue, and I hadn’t dilated past 1 cm, they did an emergency c-section. My kids came out fine and I healed well, but I didn’t take pain medicine (my kids were preemies and really sleepy and it scared me to pass along drowsiness inducing medicine to them through the breast milk) so I was in so much pain for weeks and it would have been nice to have a natural delivery. Not to mention my scar is hideous.

    Anyway, I began to wonder if that pelvic floor tightness was related to the same issue other diabetic women have that is mentioned in this article-the uterus not contracting properly. Interesting stuff.

    One doctor mentioned to me that women with type 1 diabetes who have natural child birth tend to have diabetes for less years than those who need c-sections which makes sense-less time for diabetes to do it’s damage?

  3. Meagan
    Meagan January 5, 2012 at 9:10 am | | Reply

    That was very interesting! I don’t think I knew that C-sections being more common for women with Diabetes. I’m glad that they are increasingly having more and more healthy babies though! I’m also happy that you had 3 healthy boys! :)

  4. Ariana
    Ariana January 5, 2012 at 9:17 am | | Reply

    What an informative post! I had never hear of actual delivery complications for women with diabetes– just all of the worries about when to deliver, fetal size, etc. I also had a c-section, after laboring naturally for 40 hours. I don’t think I had trouble contracting– they actually put some electrodes on my uterus to check before my OB insisted on the surgery. I wish that I had known a little more about these statistics then. Somehow, it may have helped with the intense disappointment I felt about not delivering naturally.

  5. Anne
    Anne January 5, 2012 at 9:48 am | | Reply

    I hope to have kids someday and I really really don’t want to have C section. Sort of disappointing news but at least women with t1 D are increasingly having healthy babies. I wonder how well these studies distinguish women with t1 and t2 or if they just lumped them together. Other “risk” factors for C section would be helpful. I would hate for med professionals to push everyone in that direction just because they have diabetes.

  6. Johanna B
    Johanna B January 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm | | Reply

    I must say that I love Mercer’s book. I borrowed a copy from our library and had to go out and buy it so I could mark it up. Reading “The Smart Women’s Guide to Diabetes” has turned my d-life around. Thanks so much Amy. My doc thanks you, too.

  7. C-sections, why do women with diabetes have so many? | Amy Stockwell Mercer

    [...] C-Sections vs. Natural Birth in Diabetic Moms [...]

  8. Sarah Howard
    Sarah Howard January 6, 2012 at 4:35 am | | Reply

    Women with diabetes have children who are at higher risk of diabetes— and birth by C-section also increases the child’s risk of diabetes. Not a huge amount, but enough that if a c-section can at all be avoided, try to avoid it. Not always possible of course, but sometime possible.

    I have type 1 and 2 kids, both born vaginally, but just barely. The first was with a vacuum extractor, and I can’t really recommend that experience. After 26 hours of labor, and 5 hours of pushing. ugh. The 2nd just popped out. My 2nd has diabetes.

    My cousin has a blog on natural childbirth and type 1: see

  9. kim
    kim January 6, 2012 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    i have been diabetic for 37 years. diagnosed at 12. had my first child at 20 years old delivered by C-section. he showed slightly low blood sugars at birth, but now 28 and no signs of diabetes.
    my second child was born when i was 22, also a C-section. no complications for her after birth. she is now 26 and no signs of diabetes. my third child was born when i was 27. my OB asked me if i was considering natural delivery, and i opted for a C-section. all children delivered at 37wks and all healthy babies. the third is now 22 and no signs of diabetes. i didn’t do anything special during my pregnancies. i just did what i did everyday. i was not the “perfect” diabetic and i guess, knowing what i now know, i might have taken a little more care.

  10. Kerri.
    Kerri. January 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for the shout-out, Amy(s). My c-section was also a retinopathy-based decision, but I know a lot of diabetic moms who have had success vaginal delivery. Sharing these stories is important – thanks for sharing yours, Amy!

  11. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth January 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm | | Reply

    Amy, thanks so much for your informative post.

    I know that women with diabetes were more at risk for a C-Section but I wasn’t fully aware that contractions in women with diabetes are smaller and shorter lasting.

    You are so right about preparation though, regardless of having diabetes or not, women need to be their own advocates, understand the latest information, and be engaged in the decision-making and communicating with your doctor. I’m definitely a big advocate for that.

    Elizabeth :-)

  12. tmana
    tmana January 19, 2012 at 2:41 am | | Reply

    Diabetes notwithstanding, the c-section rate has been climbing for years. Part of this is the trend towards OB/GYNs wanting mothers to deliver larger babies (when I was born, 5-6 lb was the norm and it was desirable to have full-term children under 7 lb; today, I keep hearing that doctors are wanting babies closer to 8 lb, which can be too large for a mother’s pelvic opening). Another part of this is the desire to schedule births, so that they are most convenient for the parents and the delivery team. In the general population, maternal and fetal health issues would seem to come a distant third in reasons for the high c-section rate.

    After many years of “once a c-section, always a c-section” practice, about 30 years ago, there was some interest in VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section). It wasn’t appropriate for every second-or-later-birth mother (it required, among other things, that the original c-section was done with a transverse rather than a vertical incision), and many doctors were against even a trial of labor. I’ve not kept up on the literature, so I’m not sure if VBAC is still an option for mothers (diabetic or not) — and if not, whether the option was pulled for real medical risk or doctors’ fear of malpractice if something went wrong in the vaginal delivery attempt.

    Many years before VBAC, some doctors were telling mothers who had cesaerean deliveries that they must not become pregnant again. (It is why one of my grade school classmates was an only child.) I’m not sure if there were medical reasons for this (beyond the stress of a c-section) or not…

  13. Mama m
    Mama m April 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed in 2002 with T1. Our first child was born at 37w,4d; induced because of preeclampsia. I had not been seeing an endocrinologist for the first 3-4 months of the pregnancy (very bad idea!). He was 11 lbs 1 oz and a vaginal delivery. Our second was induced at 37 weeks due to some wacky blood sugar numbers at the end of the pregnancy and weighed 9 lbs 14oz. (VD). Our third was delivered via c-section at 39 weeks, 1 day and weighed 10lbs, 14 oz. We choose to have a c-section in the off chance that there would be complications from a vaginal delivery (mostly dystocia). All I know is that I definately prefer VD, but if you think that a C-section is a romote possibility, prepare yourself by talking with someone who has been through it. Even though we thought and prayed about it for the two weeks prior, I still wrestled with the thoughts of somehow failing. Not true because we have a healthy beautiful baby! Try and find people who have been through pregnancy with diabetes or are going through it now to help support you and to encourage you in this important time of your life! I surely could have benefited from spending time researching more information. It seems hard to do, so many things to juggle, but it is so worth the effort!

  14. Brandon
    Brandon April 21, 2012 at 8:59 am | | Reply

    Maybe I’m just reading the article wrong but did the author not consider the high rate of inductions and c-sections for diabetics to be a result of Drs pushing c-sections down women’s throats already? Diabetes is just the medical excuse they were looking for. Inductions increase the risk of having to have a cesarian so it’s only natural the that rate is so high.

    They love inducing diabetics – its the first thing my wife’s Dr said at our first prenatal appointment – “plan on being induced at 39 weeks” Say what?! No concern at all about how her pregnancy will progress. Its become an automatic response. How bout referencing the studies that show the rate of complications from inductions based on the cervixs condition at the time of induction?

  15. ree
    ree October 5, 2012 at 2:34 am | | Reply

    im 27, ive had diabetes since the age of 16
    im actually scared about giving birth.
    im not pregnant, never gave birth before, so totally scared.
    i really want a baby.

    1. Mama M
      Mama M October 5, 2012 at 4:01 am | | Reply

      It is natural, both childbirth and fear of the unknown. It is not bad and it is possible to have a healthy and wonderful pregnancy as a diabetic. Read up on the best ways to control your blood sugar because that is the best thing you can do as you prepare to have a baby. Start by talking with your Endo doc to see what you can do if you a1C is too high. Exercise so you are at a healthy weight and eat healthy. Don’t believe that giving birth to a child is impossible, just because you have diabetes. It is possible!

  16. Anne Findlay Dowling
    Anne Findlay Dowling October 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm | | Reply

    I thought I would chime in again. I delivered a 7lb baby vaginally at 39 weeks a couple weeks ago. I was induced although I considered allowing baby to come on her own. I think the reason my induction was successful, and did not lead to c/s, was that my doctors were very patient with the process, and there were no emergent factors that came up such as pre-e etc. It took about 48 hours from the time the induction was started. After my water spontaneously broke, the contractions picked up and the baby was born 4-5 hours labor. I don’t think uterine contractility had any factor since the pushing phase was relatively short and once my body took over the contractions (vs the meds), everything went quickly.

  17. Maddy
    Maddy December 2, 2012 at 5:05 am | | Reply

    I am 29 weeks pregnant and a type 2 since 3yrs. My diabetes is being controlled through high dosages of insuling (i wasnt insulin dependent prior to conceiving). My doc has suggested induction of labour at 37weeks however I did some research and it seems induction leads to doubling the chances of having a C-Section!! I have been debating going for elective C-Section instead of having to go through emergency C-section after a failed induction. My doc says there is no additional risk with elected C-Section. Still cant make up my mind!! Help!

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  19. Judge Rules Mentally Ill Pregnant Woman Can Have Emergency C-Section

    [...] is at increased risk of complications aside from those that might arise from her diabetes. Although there is a higher chance of ultimately ending up with a Caesarean if you have diabetes, babies are often born vaginally to diabetic mothers with no [...]

  20. doris
    doris January 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm | | Reply

    1 am debeti t2 i had 3c i want to be prenant again i main at risk?

  21. ayesha
    ayesha February 23, 2014 at 9:30 am | | Reply

    Thank you so much..

  22. Laura
    Laura June 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm | | Reply

    I think the correlation would be between induction Medications and contractillity. Once the woman is on medication, the ability to contract can not be measured without the induction medication being considered and it’s not sound to blame the diabetic condition. There should be studies to measure contractillity of all women on induction medication versus those who are not to see the difference.

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