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Pregnancy and Diabetes: Planning for Pregnancy

Overview

If you have diabetes and are planning to become pregnant, meet with your doctor. Things to discuss include:

  • Your A1c goal, your medicine for diabetes, and your weight.
  • Whether your immunizations are up-to-date and whether you're getting enough folic acid.
  • The safety of any prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements you take.
  • Your cholesterol, thyroid, eyes, and blood pressure, to see if you need treatment changes.
  • Possible blood sugar problems during pregnancy. For example, many women have low blood sugar in early pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, they develop more insulin resistance.
  • The risks to your baby. Your diabetes will put your baby at risk for birth defects. This is especially true if you don't keep your blood sugar in your target range during early pregnancy. High blood sugar while you are pregnant can cause problems. For example, it can cause your baby to be very large.

How can you prepare for a healthy pregnancy?

It's important to talk to your doctor if you have diabetes and are planning to get pregnant. You may need to fine-tune your diabetes care before you get pregnant to make sure that both you and your baby stay healthy.

  • Work with your doctor to get your blood sugar in your target range.

    Getting your blood sugar in your target range is the most important thing you can do if you want to get pregnant. This can help prevent miscarriages and birth defects in your baby and can help keep you healthy.

  • Check your blood sugar often.

    This will help you figure out how medicine, exercise, and food affect your blood sugar.

  • Get regular exercise.

    Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most or all days of the week. Exercise helps control your blood sugar. It also helps you stay at a healthy weight.

  • Eat a balanced diet.
    • A balanced diet can keep you at a healthy weight or help you lose weight, if you need to. A diabetes educator or a dietitian can help you make an eating plan that works for you.
    • If you're overweight, try to cut calories to lose some weight before you get pregnant. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can improve your blood sugar levels.
  • Take folic acid supplements before you get pregnant.

    It may help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.

  • Discuss possible problems and changes to help prevent them.
    • If you take any medicine, including over-the-counter medicine, talk to your doctor to see if you need to stop or change it before you get pregnant. For example, many blood pressure medicines aren't safe for a developing fetus.
    • Talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure goals may be lower during pregnancy.
    • Have your doctor check for problems from diabetes, such as eye or kidney disease. These problems can get worse during pregnancy.
    • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about getting help to quit. Smoking can harm your baby. And it increases the chances that you will have problems from diabetes.

Credits

Current as of: April 13, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology