So much is known about diabetes and blood sugar management that most women with diabetes today are able to have safe pregnancies and healthy babies. You can too by involving your healthcare team early on in your pregnancy planning.

 

Women with diabetes are at higher risk for some pregnancy-related complications. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), they are more likely to experience toxemia or preeclampsia. They also tend to have larger babies because the extra blood sugar they pass on to the fetus gets stored as fat. And it is why they have a cesarean section delivery rate of three to four times higher than the general population.

 

As you begin planning your pregnancy, here are some things to keep in mind:

 

Time your pregnancy carefully.

 

The first few weeks are critical to the baby’s development, so you will want to be sure your baby is not getting too much blood sugar early on. Your doctor can help you determine the right time—when you have had good blood sugar control for three to six months, any eye problems have stabilized, and you have had time to take prenatal vitamins.

 

Choose a healthcare team that understands diabetes.

 

An obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and who has experience with women who have diabetes, can guide you through conception, pregnancy, labor and delivery. Your pediatrician should also have experience treating children of mothers with diabetes.

 

Talk to your doctor about medications.

If you take oral medications to treat your diabetes, your doctor may switch you to insulin before you become pregnant.

 

Adjust your diet, activity level and insulin dose.

During your pregnancy, adjustments may be needed to adapt to your changing body. For example, your calorie intake may need to increase during the second trimester to help your baby grow. Talk with your obstetrician, primary doctor, and dietitian, and they will help keep you on track.

 

Even if you are planning for a baby in the future, a healthy pregnancy begins today. Make sure you that are taking the best possible care of yourself by properly managing your blood sugar levels.