Care of your baby

This section is about care of your baby because of your diabetes. You may also find the NICE information for the public on postnatal care useful (see other NICE guidance).

Your baby will be given to you to hold immediately after the birth. You should be able to keep your baby with you unless she or he needs extra care.

Your baby may need extra care in a neonatal unit if she or he is unwell, needs close monitoring or treatment, has to be fed through a tube or a drip, or is premature.

Your baby's blood glucose levels

You should start feeding your baby as soon as possible after birth (within 30 minutes), and then every 2 to 3 hours, to help his or her blood glucose stay at a safe level.

Your baby's blood glucose should be tested (using a special hospital blood test) between 2 and 4 hours after birth, to make sure it is not too low. Other blood tests may also be carried out if your care team feels these are necessary.

If your baby's blood glucose is low in 2 tests in a row, or if there are problems with feeding, he or she may need to be fed through a tube or given a drip to help increase their blood glucose.

If the care team spots signs of neonatal hypoglycaemia, they should test your baby's blood glucose. If hypoglycaemia is found, she or he should be put on a drip as soon as possible.

You and your baby should stay in hospital for at least 24 hours after the birth, to check that the baby has stable blood glucose and is feeding well.

Checking your baby for heart problems

Babies of women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of heart problems. If your care team suspects a possible problem, a child specialist will check your baby carefully. This may include a special ultrasound of the baby's heart called an echocardiogram.

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