Home > Health Library > Pregnancy and Diabetes: Planning for Pregnancy
Talk to your doctor if you have
type 1 or
type 2 diabetes and are planning to get pregnant. To make sure
that both you and your baby stay healthy, you
may need to fine-tune your diabetes care before you get pregnant.
Planning for pregnancy when you have diabetes means finding ways to
improve your health before you get pregnant. This will help both you and your
baby stay healthy during and after your pregnancy. The most important thing you
can do is to control your blood sugar and keep it in your target
Getting regular exercise and eating
healthy foods, as well as losing weight if you need to, can help get your blood
sugar where it needs to be.
If you have diabetes, getting your blood sugar under
control is the most important thing you can do to prepare for
If you have diabetes and want to get pregnant,
the most important thing you can do is to get your blood sugar under control.
This can help prevent miscarriages and birth defects in your baby and keep you
Continue to Why?
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the baby's organs are already
forming. If your blood sugar is high during that time, it can affect how your
baby's organs develop and can cause birth defects. But if your blood sugar is
under control when you get pregnant, you lower the risk that your baby will
have problems. Most women don't know that they are pregnant until after those
first weeks. Also, women whose blood sugar is not controlled before they get
pregnant tend to have more miscarriages. So be sure to plan ahead to get
your blood sugar under control before you start trying to get pregnant.
High blood sugar during pregnancy can also lead to other problems,
Diabetes that is not under control can lead to birth
A baby's organs form within the first few weeks
of pregnancy. Most women don't know that they are pregnant until after those
first weeks, so it's important to plan ahead to get your blood sugar under
control before you start trying to get pregnant. This may lower your baby's
risk of birth defects and other problems. It may also lower your risk of a
Continue to How?
You play a major role in managing your diabetes. Work with your
doctor to keep your blood sugar as close to your target
range as possible before you get pregnant. To do this:
If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before getting pregnant, if possible. Blood pressure goals may be lower during pregnancy. And many medicines for high blood pressure are unsafe for a developing fetus.
It is also important to take folic acid supplements before
and during your pregnancy. This may help prevent neural tube defects in the
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about getting help to
quit. Smoking can harm your baby and increases the chances that you will have
problems from diabetes.
Before you start trying to get pregnant,
have your doctor check for problems from diabetes, such as eye or kidney
disease. These problems can get worse during pregnancy.
Getting regular exercise is a good way to control your
Getting regular exercise is a good way to
control your blood sugar. Exercise helps control your blood sugar by making
your body use glucose for energy during and after activity. It also helps you
stay at a healthy weight; lower high cholesterol; raise HDL, or good,
cholesterol; and lower high blood pressure. Walking, running, biking, and
swimming are good activities for people with diabetes.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to get your blood sugar under control and plan a
If you have questions, take this information with you when you visit your doctor.
If you are
planning to get pregnant and haven't talked with your doctor about getting your
blood sugar under control, now is a good time to make an appointment.
If you would like more information on planning a healthy
pregnancy when you have diabetes, the following resources are available:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sets standards for all types of prescribed diets. The
organization produces a variety of consumer information, including videos. This group will help you find a registered dietitian in your area who
provides nutrition counseling.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a national organization
for health professionals and consumers. Almost every state has a local office.
ADA sets the standards for the care of people with diabetes. Its focus is on
research for the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. ADA
provides patient and professional education mainly through its publications,
which include the monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast,
books, brochures, cookbooks and meal planning guides, and pamphlets. ADA also
provides information for parents about caring for a child with diabetes.
Return to topic:
January 17, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
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