It’s normal for anyone to be concerned about having a healthy pregnancy, but this is especially true if you are a diabetic. Uncontrolled diabetes puts you and your unborn child at risk. So what can you do?
The key word is planning. It is best to schedule preconception appointments with an obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, a diabetes educator, a dietitian or other specialists. This is after you’ve gone to your own health care provider and notified him of your desire to get pregnant, of course. First, a physical exam will be done; then all necessary referrals to any specialists will be made much like the ones mentioned earlier.
For instance, if you take oral diabetes meds, don’t be surprised if you are changed to insulin. Or if you have other complications like high blood pressure, heart or nerve disease due to diabetes, there may be additional treatments needed.
But the main thing is to focus on controlling your sugar levels. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting several months before you conceive. Poor blood sugar can increase the risk of miscarriages and birth defects. Your doctor will work with you to determine your target blood sugar range.
Will you have to change your diet?
Keeping your blood sugar level on point will require that you include plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains – probably what you already eat now. If you need to lose weight before conceiving, then a good dietitian can help. Also, it is always wise to take a prenatal vitamin to ensure all nutritional needs are being met.
Additionally, it is advisable to incorporate exercise into your daily routine if possible. Before starting any exercise regimen, however, always check with your physician. Do what you like to do – swimming, walking or biking. Thirty minutes at a time is a safe length of time. Check your blood sugar before and after you exercise since exercise affects your levels. Carry a snack and your meds just in case.
The Big No-No List
Lastly, the Mayo Clinic gives a clear indication of what not to do when planning your pregnancy:
• Skip doses of insulin
• Drink alcohol