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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.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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