Every pregnancy has risks, and diabetes does increase possible issues for both mother and baby. But by planning carefully, making good lifestyle choices and working closely with their medical teams, most women with diabetes are able to have successful pregnancies and healthy babies.
What Are the Risks?
Pregnancy asks a lot of your body, no matter who you are. If you have diabetes, pregnancy affects your blood sugar and the medicine you take to control it. It also increases the likelihood you may face other problems.
Risks for moms with diabetes include:
Miscarriage or stillbirth
Preeclampsia (high blood pressure and problems with organs)
A large baby
Worsening kidney and eye problems
High blood sugar, especially in the first trimester, can cause problems for babies, including:
Your To-Do List
If you have diabetes, a healthy pregnancy will take a little extra work. But you’ll be glad you took the time to get it right by following these five tips.
- My most important advice is to start planning for pregnancy three to six months before you try to conceive. Meet with your doctor, who will do several tests and review your medications. Get your blood sugar under control.
- Create a healthy lifestyle: Watch your diet, lose excess weight and include physical activity daily.
- Assemble a medical team, including an obstetrician, pediatrician and dietitian who have experience with women with diabetes.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Pregnancy may increase your need for insulin or mean you need to take a different type of medication. I work with my patients to help them meet blood sugar targets with diet, exercise and medication.
- You’ll need more calories, but you’ll also need to watch your weight. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about how to accomplish this.
Pregnancy can be a time of great joy, and having diabetes doesn’t necessarily rob you of that experience. Make a plan, stick to it, then relax and let Mother Nature take her course.
Are you – or have you been – pregnant and diabetic? Do you have any advice for other women?
Dr. Asmi Ali is a board-certified Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist. Her clinic interests include well-woman care and minimally invasive surgery. She cares for her patients at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – The Vintage.