Pregnancy is a time of wonder and amazement – and for women with pre-existing diabetes, it is also a time for very extremely careful (and sometimes baffling) disease management. How do you plan for this? What risks are involved? What can you expect? The August issue of Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association, features articles about pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes to help you. With good care and planning, says Diabetes Forecast, women with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have safe pregnancies – and healthy babies.
Planning starts now. If you have diabetes and want to become pregnant, the first step should be visiting your doctor – or several doctors. Depending on your diabetes management, you may want to see an endocrinologist in addition to your ob-gyn for a pre-conception visit. When choosing your doctors, keep in mind that you may have appointments as often as twice a week, so try to find a physician that you are comfortable with and whose office you are comfortable getting to.
While pre-existing diabetes automatically puts your pregnancy in the high-risk category, healthy habits can lower the chance of problems for both mother and child. First and foremost, keep your blood glucose in check – in general, your A1C should be below 7 percent before you conceive. Your health care team may also want to discuss your weight, use of prenatal vitamins and other supplements, the status of any diabetes-related complications, and your current medications (such as ACE inhibitors or statins, which are not considered safe for use in pregnancy). Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with type 2 diabetes, so for some women with diabetes, asking about fertility treatments may also be in order.
Once you become pregnant, your body’s changes can make blood glucose levels go from one extreme to the other. “I spent the entire first trimester with my face buried in the fridge,” says Kerri Sparling, 31, who has type 1 diabetes and whose daughter was born in April. “I was low all the time. It wasn’t until probably the second trimester that the insulin resistance kicked in. Everything I ate, the insulin didn’t cover it.” As your body changes through your pregnancy, so will its reactions to the elements you normally use to manage your blood glucose, so be prepared to communicate with your health care team often and make any necessary adjustments.
From pre-conception planning to integrating diabetes management into your birth plan and facing post-partum depression, having a baby can seem like an overwhelming task for women with diabetes, and yet, many women with diabetes find they have the best glucose control of their life during pregnancy. “This was so, so important to me that I was willing to do whatever to make sure she came out right,” says Sparling. “It’s so worth it.” Find more advice, explanations and insight about what to expect in the August issue of Diabetes Forecast.
This issue of Diabetes Forecast also features:
- A Birthday Challenge: Marking 40 years with 40 races for ADA’s Team Diabetes
- Drinking Calories: How you hydrate yourself makes a difference
- A Serious Subject: Dealing with erectile dysfunction
Diabetes Forecast has been America’s leading diabetes magazine for more than 60 years, offering the latest news on diabetes research and treatment to provide information, inspiration and support to people with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
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