Birth defects occur in 1–2% of all babies born to women without diabetes. These problems include abnormalities of the central nervous system, heart, and kidneys.
Women with diabetes have a higher risk of birth defects in their babies, but they can lower the risk to the same level as mothers without diabetes by keeping blood glucose levels on target. This means keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible before and during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Keep in mind that pregnant women without diabetes have lower blood glucose levels than non-pregnant women.
Why is well-controlled blood glucose important before conception? Because you want your blood glucose levels to be as favorable to your developing baby as possible. All of the baby’s major organs are formed during the first 6–8 weeks of pregnancy, which may be before you know you’re pregnant.