A young, other-wise healthy diabetic has an equal chance of becoming pregnant and carrying a healthy baby to full term as her non-diabetic peer, as long as certain precautions as taken. Diabetes does impact the whole body, and so does pregnancy, so a few safety measures for the diabetic will go a long way to ensure a healthy mother and newborn infant.
Visit Your Doctor
Visit your doctor (the one who helps you control your diabetes) 6 months before you plan to get pregnant. Tell your doctor of your pregnancy plan so she can evaluate your overall health as well as review recent blood sugar readings and hemoglobin A1C test results. The goal during pregnancy is the same as before (and after) – to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
Team of Physicians
A diabetic may require a team of physicians to ensure a healthy pregnancy: An your family physician, OB/GYN, an endocrinologist, a diabetes educator, eye specialist, pediatrician and nutritionist. While it may seem like a never-ending sequence of visits to various specialists, remember they’re all on your side and want to help you deliver a healthy baby while you remain healthy too.
Keeping your blood sugar level near or at normal will greatly reduce the risk of miscarriage, birth defects and having a baby that’s too large. Normal blood sugar levels will also help you feel your best during pregnancy and help avoid hospitalizations or bed confinement during the gestation period. This could require a medicine change and time for your body to adjust to new diabetes medications.
Talk with your doctor(s) about your current (or future) medications, as some oral diabetes drug may not be safe to take during pregnancy.
Nutrition and Vitamins
A visit to a nutritionist for a review of eating habits is advisable, since a pregnant diabetic eats for two. A nutritionist will advise you on the best way to eat for both you and your developing baby. Taking a daily dose of prenatal vitamins with folic acid is a must to prevent birth defects, your OB/GYN will prescribe the proper dose.
Any other diabetes-related problems, such as eyes, kidneys or feet, should be addressed prior to becoming pregnant as well, so the issues won’t be exacerbated by the fluctuating hormones brought on by pregnancy.