Five Steps to Prepare for Pregnancy When You Have Diabetes
Preparing to have a baby is nerve-wracking in itself. Throw diabetes into the mix, and it’s enough stress to give any mommy-to-be some serious pause. But you can put your mind at ease. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is perfectly normal for women with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes to have a fairly normal pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Here are five steps you should consider, if you’re thinking of starting a family. #1 Monitor your blood sugar and A1C According to the American Diabetes Association, your blood sugar levels should fall within a target range, if you’re planning on getting pregnant. The ADA’s recommendations are: -Premeal: 60-119 mg/dl -One hour after meals: 100-149 mg/dl However, every woman is different. It’s important that you talk to your doctor about your unique needs before trying to get pregnant. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, exercising, and keeping your A1C under 7 percent can help you avoid pregnancy complications. #2 Schedule a pre-pregnancy exam There’s many more factors than diabetes alone that can affect a pregnancy. An exam with your doctor will check for these. Typically, a pre-pregnancy exam includes a look at your blood sugar levels, A1C, blood pressure, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. For those with type 1 diabetes, a thyroid exam is also common. #3 Switch up your medications At the exam, your doctor will likely want to check with you about the medications you’re taking. Some of them may not be safe to continue during pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, many women need more insulin during pregnancy, especially during the last three months. If you’re taking oral medications, you may consider making the switch to insulin, since some oral drugs can affect the developing baby. In addition, your doctor may stop you from taking blood pressure medicines. #4 Evaluate your lifestyle While it’s normal for women with diabetes to give birth to healthy babies, there are still many factors that can influence the health of your child. First, WebMD recommends stopping smoking and alcohol during pregnancy–both of these substances have been known to cause birth defects. In addition, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping stress levels as low as possible can help contribute to a safe and successful delivery. #5 Talk to a counselor Your body may be getting the care it needs, but you cannot neglect your mind. Having a baby is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, and it’s normal to feel stressed, nervous, or even all-out scared. A counselor can help you sort through your feelings and work on putting your mind at ease. Photo courtesy of mahalie stackpole on Flickr.