Just a few decades ago, women with diabetes were advised against having children of their own. The risks associated with pregnancy in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes were considered substantial. While the risks still exist, advances in medical technology and increased understanding of diabetes makes it more possible to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery for both mom and baby.
Before Getting Pregnant with Diabetes
Start early- for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a healthy pregnancy begins long before you actually become pregnant. Work with your OBGYN and endocrinologist to ensure your body is prepared to start your pregnancy. Many birth defects occur early in pregnancy, even before you realize you are pregnant, so everything you do prior to conception will help you and your baby remain healthy.
- A1C Test: Your endocrinologist will likely perform an A1C test to ensure you are below 7%.
- Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is dangerous during pregnancy, so having your blood pressure under control before will start you off on the right foot.
- Health Evaluation: Since you run a greater risk of further damaging your organs during pregnancy, your doctor will perform an overall health exam to determine if additional measures are required to prevent further damage.
- Vitamins: Your OBGYN will place you on a pre-natal vitamin that is high in folic acid to encourage healthy development of your baby from the time you become pregnant.
Diabetes During Pregnancy
Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy requires continued monitoring. Some things you can do to keep you and your baby healthy include:
- Monitoring your blood sugar levels: High blood sugar is extremely dangerous for your baby. As such, it is recommended you have your blood glucose in range for three to six months prior to pregnancy. During pregnancy, your healthy range will change, so work with your OBGYN and endocrinologist to make necessary medication changes. In addition, you are more likely to experience low blood sugar during pregnancy, so check your levels regularly and treat low blood sugar early.
- Maintaining a Close Relationship with Your Doctor: Pregnancy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes requires more frequent monitoring to catch potential problems early. Keeping regular appointments with your OBGYN and endocrinologist will help ensure you and your baby are on track.
- Healthful Eating and Exercising: While eating well and exercising is important in all pregnancies, it’s especially important for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A well-balanced diet and regular exercise helps you maintain good blood glucose levels and makes sure your baby is getting the nutrition it needs. You may work with a dietician to develop a good diabetic diet during pregnancy. Speak to your OBGYN about your exercise regimen.
Dr. Nathan T. Thomas will work with you to ensure your pregnancy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is healthy for mom and baby.