Planning ahead and being in good blood glucose control prior to conception, if you are a woman with diabetes, can reduce the risks of complications to both mother and child.
Here are some things I observed during my experience and other recommendations for preparing for pregnancy.
It can be done! When I was diagnosed , my doctors were not sure that I would be able to have a healthy baby due to type one diabetes. I am happy to say that I have a healthy daughter.
I am also happy to say that many women with diabetes have healthy babies regularly! I got the support I needed and prepared.
Plan to have a baby if you are a diabetic. Discuss your goals with your OBGYN, Endocrinologist and get a high-risk team involved.
Know the target for your A1Cs, weight and dietary goals. My endocrinologist recommended that I have a year’s worth of optimal A1Cs before conceiving. I would reset the clock if I had a result above my acceptable range.
It took me two years of concentrated planning to make sure I was in as good a shape as I could be to bring a baby into this world!
Talk to your endocrinologist about the possible use of an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor to help tighten blood sugar control. Expect that you will need to increase your testing times throughout the day.
I recorded blood sugars at least 8 times a day. I actually checked more, but I recorded fasting, pre-meal, I hour postprandial, 2 hour postprandial for every meal, bedtime and during the night when needed.
According to Gary Scheiner for Diabetes Sisters, a growing placenta can cause insulin resistance, increasing your daily insulin requirements. I actually tripled my insulin intake.
Find support for before and after delivery. Accept offers of help with planning meals, scheduling carpools for siblings, house cleaning and errand running. Find someone to help support you emotionally.
Any pregnancy can be overwhelming if you are trying to do it all by yourself. Finding support from a person with diabetes that has been down the road you are going, can help the isolation and stress of having to follow such a rigorous schedule.