Why is Blood Sugar Level (BSL) Different on a Pregnant Woman

Perhaps you're pregnant and preoccupied with your newly diagnosed diabetes – Gestational Diabetes. Or you are a healthy woman curious to understand why BSL differs during pregnancy. Whatever the case, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about BSL changes during pregnancy.

Why do Pregnant Women Experience Different BSL Levels?

During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes a series of physiological changes to support the growth and development of the fetus. These changes also affect blood sugar levels. Here's why:

Increased Insulin Resistance

As pregnancy progresses, the placenta produces hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and human placental lactogen. These hormones promote insulin resistance, making it harder for insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar) to work as effectively.

Increased Blood Volume

The body increases its blood volume by up to 50% to accommodate the needs of the growing fetus. This dilution effect can lead to lower BSL levels even if the amount of glucose in the blood remains the same.

Increased Demand for Glucose

The developing fetus relies on glucose for energy and growth. This increased demand for glucose can lead to higher BSL levels if the mother does not consume enough carbohydrates.

Gestational Diabetes

Some women experience a condition called gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is defined as elevated blood sugar levels that occur during pregnancy but usually disappear after childbirth. Nearly all cases of gestational diabetes are mild and can be managed by diet and exercise. However, if left untreated, it can increase the risk of complications for both mother and baby.

Risk Factors

Certain factors make a woman more likely to develop gestational diabetes:

  • Being overweight or obese before pregnancy
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Age over 35
  • History of certain medical conditions such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Previous history of gestational diabetes

Importance of Monitoring BSL Levels

Regular monitoring of BSL levels during pregnancy is crucial to ensure optimal health for both mother and baby. If BSL levels are too high, it can increase the risk of complications such as:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Large birth weight
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar in the newborn)
  • Gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Managing BSL Levels

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it's essential to maintain healthy BSL levels throughout your pregnancy. Here are some tips:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit your intake of high-sugar and high-carbohydrate foods
  • Get regular exercise
  • Monitor your BSL levels regularly as advised by your healthcare provider
  • Take prescribed medications if necessary


Understanding BSL changes during pregnancy is vital for ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should talk to their healthcare provider about monitoring BSL levels and steps to take to maintain healthy levels throughout their pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the normal range for BSL during pregnancy?

The target range for BSL during pregnancy varies throughout the day. In general, it is recommended to keep fasting BSL below 95 mg/dL and 2-hour post-meal BSL below 120 mg/dL.

2. How often should I monitor my BSL during pregnancy?

The frequency of BSL monitoring depends on your individual risk factors and glucose levels. Your healthcare provider will recommend a specific monitoring schedule.

3. What are the risks of high BSL during pregnancy?

High BSL during pregnancy can increase the risk of both short-term and long-term complications for both mother and baby, including gestational diabetes, premature birth, and type 2 diabetes.

4. How can I manage my BSL levels during pregnancy?

Managing BSL levels during pregnancy involves maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and monitoring your BSL levels as recommended by your healthcare provider. Medication may be necessary in some cases.

5. What should I do if I have gestational diabetes?

If you have gestational diabetes, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your BSL levels. This may involve following a specific diet, getting regular exercise, monitoring your BSL levels, and taking prescribed medications if necessary.



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