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Diabetes care in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire


The maternity unit at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) in Reading is one of the biggest maternity units in the area and offers a comprehensive maternity service. The maternity unit cares for women and special care babies across a large area in West Berkshire.

Information about diabetes and pregnancy is available here

Diabetic ladies can refer themselves to the specialist diabetic midwives at RBFT. At booking, the specialist midwives will tell you about the care you can expect and will give you all the information you need. This will include advising you on the correct diet during and after pregnancy.

During your pregnancy, you will be offered three extra eye screening appointments as well as one postnatally.

An HbA1c blood test is performed on all women as part of routine screening.  If this is raised, it could be due to gestational diabetes or it could be previously undiagnosed pre-existing diabetes.  The healthcare team won’t be certain until 6 weeks post delivery, when the blood is checked again. If the levels are still raised, then it will be likely that the diabetes was pre-existing, as gestational diabetes has usually resolved by then.

There is generally a higher rate of “high-tech” births to diabetic women. You will be offered an extra appointment at 34 weeks for extra information and to discuss the likely options for delivery.  One of the aims is to prevent the baby from becoming too big so often labour is induced at 39 weeks, as a precaution. Blood sugar levels are monitored through labour.

Should you need a caesarean delivery, one of the specialist midwives will attend caesarean procedures for insulin-dependant women whenever possible, to advise the anaesthetists regarding the mother’s and baby’s safety

Post delivery, information is given about breast feeding as the babies of diabetic mothers can experience uncontrolled blood sugars.  It is generally recommended that mothers express breast milk ante-natally and feed their baby early and regularly, as the baby’s blood sugar is likely to be low. The baby’s blood sugar levels will be monitored regularly until they become stable; the baby will need to stay in hospital until then.

GPs and practice nurses are encouraged to refer pregnant diabetic women straight to the specialist midwives on confirmation of pregnancy for timely rapid assessment, rather than referring to midwife first which may result in a few weeks wait.

Your GP or nurse can contact the specialist midwives at any time with any queries from as soon as pregnancy is confirmed

There is more information about pregnancy and maternity care on the Maternity pages of the RBFT’s website

There is also Information to help you manage your diabetes at whatever life stage you are at, including when you are planning a pregnancy on the DiabetesUK website. has information about Diabetes and pregnancy

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, (NICE) is an organisation that produces guidelines and other information for healthcare professionals. However, they have re-written some of this information specifically for patients, carers and those with little medical knowledge, to help you to understand the NICE guidance. You may find it interesting to read Diabetes in Pregnancy

Other sources of information include from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, where you can find two good leaflets:

“Exercise in pregnancy”; and

Why your weight matters during pregnancy and after birth”