What should you do before you get pregnant when you have diabetes?
You can have a healthy pregnancy if your blood sugar is
in a normal or near-normal range before you get pregnant and you don't have
high blood pressure or problems from diabetes, such as kidney disease. Keeping
your blood sugar at a normal level lowers your risk of birth defects,
miscarriage, and other problems. Experts recommend keeping blood sugar levels
as close to normal as possible-called tight control-for 3 to 6 months before
you get pregnant. To do this, get plenty of exercise, eat healthy foods, lose
weight if you need to, and take medicine if your doctor prescribes it.
For more information, see:
- Planning for pregnancy when you have diabetes
What should you talk to your doctor about?
It's important to let your doctor know
if you are thinking about getting pregnant. If you take pills to treat your
diabetes, your doctor may want to switch you to insulin or to a new pill before
you get pregnant. And if you take insulin, your doctor may need to change the
dose or how you take it, such as through an insulin pump or as shots. You also
need to let your doctor know about any medicine you take to treat other health
problems. He or she may have you stop or change your medicine before you get
pregnant if you are taking any medicines that could harm your baby.
When you have diabetes, you
need to see your doctor regularly to check for problems from the disease. It's
especially important to do this before you get pregnant. Screening tests
- An eye exam to look for signs of
- Blood and urine tests to look
for kidney damage.
- Blood pressure checks. High blood pressure can
cause problems with the mother and the baby. When blood pressure is very high,
placenta may not work well and the doctor may need to
deliver the baby early.
- Blood sugar level tests. Your doctor will talk to you about
keeping your blood sugar in a normal or near-normal range at all times before
and during your pregnancy.
What are the risks from getting pregnant when your diabetes is not controlled?
Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of
problems for both the baby and the mother.
Risks for the baby
- Birth defects.
- Early (premature)
- Low blood sugar.
- Larger-than-normal size at birth, which can cause shoulder and
other problems in the infant.
- Smaller-than-normal size at birth
caused by high blood pressure, kidney disease, or problems with the
- Death, although this is not common now that more women
use insulin to control their blood sugar.
Risks for the mother include:
- Kidney damage if
creatinine levels are above 2.0
- High blood pressure during pregnancy.
problems during pregnancy that may get better after the baby is born.
For more information, see the topics:
- Type 2 Diabetes: Living With the Disease
- Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease