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How to Plan a Pregnancy When You Have Diabetes

Starting a family requires a bit more planning when you're a mother-to-be with diabetes. But you can take some simple steps to make sure your pregnancy and your baby are safe and healthy.

Go to the Doctor

One of your first tasks should be to set up an appointment about 3 to 6 months before you plan to conceive. At that visit, your doctor will:

  • Order an A1C test to find out if your diabetes is controlled well enough for you to stop using birth control.
  • Test your blood and urine for diabetes-related kidney complications.
  • Look for other problems linked with diabetes, like organ, nerve, or heart damage.

What Is Pre-Conception Counseling?

This is another important step for women with diabetes. This educational session will help you get physically and emotionally prepared -- and healthy -- for pregnancy. At this appointment, you and the doctor will discuss:

Your weight: Try to reach your ideal body weight before you get pregnant. If you have a few extra pounds, losing them will help prevent complications from diabetes. If you’re underweight, adding pounds can make you less likely to deliver a low-birth-weight baby.

Your lifestyle: If you smoke or drink alcohol, you'll need to stop. Smoking during pregnancy affects both you and the baby before, during, and after birth. When you smoke, the nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes), carbon monoxide, and other toxins travel through your bloodstream and go directly to your baby. These substances can:

  • Deprive you and the baby of oxygen.
  • Increase the odds of a premature, low-birth-weight baby.
  • Make the baby prone to future problems with the lungs or breathing.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to a pattern of birth defects that includes mental retardation and certain physical problems. No amount of alcohol is known to be safe while pregnant, and there’s no safe time during pregnancy to drink.

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