Talk with the mother
Check for signs of diabetes
Wa r nin g s ig n s
If a woman has some of the following warning signs, she may have diabetes.
Women with diabetes do not always have all of these signs. But the more signs a
woman has, the more likely it is that she has diabetes.
• She had diabetes in a past pregnancy.
• One of her past babies was born very big (more than 4 kilograms or
9 pounds), or was ill or died at birth and no one knows why.
• She is fat.
• She is thirsty all the time.
• She has frequent yeast infections.
• Her wounds heal slowly.
• She has to urinate more often than
other pregnant women.
• Her womb is bigger than normal for how
many months she has been pregnant.
When a woman has diabetes, her body cannot
use the sugar in her blood. There is a blood test for
diabetes. Ask your local health department if they can give the test. The best time
to do this test is at about 6 months (24 weeks) of pregnancy.
A simple test for diabetes
Ask a woman to urinate into a container like a pot or a
cup, and leave the container outside. If ants climb into the
container, there is probably sugar in the woman’s urine —
a sign of diabetes.
How to help a woman with diabetes
Diabetes can make a woman very sick and childbirth more dangerous. Her baby
may be very big, have birth defects, or it may become very ill and die after the birth.
Usually diabetes in pregnancy will improve if the woman eats a good diet and
exercises. Sometimes medicine is needed to prevent serious problems.
If you think that a woman has diabetes, she should get medical help. She should
probably plan to have her baby in a medical center. She must eat a variety of
healthy foods (see pages 33 to 42), avoid candy and sugar, and eat frequent small
For more information about diabetes, see the book Where There Is No Doctor
or another general health book.
A Book for Midwives (2010)