Q&A: I Have Diabetes. What Should I Know Before Getting Pregnant?

I have diabetes. What should I know before getting pregnant?
ByColleen Canney
Feb 2017
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Just as it should be before and after having a baby, your number-one priority during pregnancy if you’re diabetic should be regulating your blood glucose levels. You’ve probably already gotten this talk from your doctor about how eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and consistently monitoring your blood-glucose levels will help keep you healthy, but once you’re pregnant, you’ll really need to be on top of it. So here’s the rundown on some things to keep in mind:

Before you become pregnant, a preconception checkup is a must. Here, your doc can diagnose and treat any illnesses related to your diabetes. She may also give you meal and exercise plans, as well as info on upping your folic acid intake (which will help prevent neural tube defects).

Once you become pregnant, you’ll likely need to increase your insulin dose. Your doc will also need to keep a closer eye on you and may run some extra tests on top of the ones normally performed during routine prenatal visits. Be aware that your baby also has an increased risk for the following conditions:

Miscarriage and stillbirth

Hydramnios (can lead to preterm labor and delivery)

Preeclampsia (can lead to seizures and kidney/liver problems in mother; may require early delivery)

Respiratory distress syndrome (can make it harder for baby to breathe after birth)

Skeletal, heart, and brain birth defects (linked to high blood-glucose levels when baby is developing)

Macrosomia (high glucose levels throughout pregnancy can make baby grow too large, which may make vaginal delivery difficult)

Now that we’ve covered the scary bits — don’t stress — you can absolutely have a healthy baby as long as your doctor creates a prenatal care plan that works for you — and you stick to it!

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