Diabetes And Pregnancy: What Are The Risks?
A diabetes diagnosis can be scary when a woman wants to get pregnant. But the two do not have to be a dangerous combination. There are ways that women can manage health before getting pregnant to reduce the risks of any pregnancy complications. Whether the diagnosis is type 1 or type 2 diabetes, here’s what to do to manage the condition.
Master your blood sugar management
The key to managing diabetes well is consistently monitoring blood glucose levels. Before getting pregnant, healthcare providers typically recommend having a hemoglobin A1C level of 6.5%. Because many women aren’t aware of pregnancy right away, managing blood sugar before getting pregnant is crucial. The baby’s brain, heart, and spinal cord all start forming right away after conception. If blood glucose is not well managed early, the risk of miscarriage or birth defects significantly increases.
Review your medications
Before getting pregnant, sit down with a healthcare provider for a medication review. If a woman is taking diabetes medication, there may be a need to switch to a safer option before pregnancy. A woman may also need treatment for other conditions, such as high blood pressure, before getting pregnant.
Finetune your diet
Managing diabetes also involves eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. If a woman already has a healthy diet, these habits may not need to change before pregnancy. But if a woman is struggling with managing blood sugar or wants to lose weight, this is an area to consider before getting pregnant. Women may consider working with a registered dietitian who can help provide personalized, specific advice about meal planning.
Perfect your exercise routine
Regular movement is another factor of proper diabetes management. When the doctor gives the green light for exercise, work on finding enjoyable, moderate-intensity activities, such as swimming, biking, walking, or yoga. Women with diabetes need to be mindful of how physical activity affects blood sugar. To prevent low blood sugar, women may need a snack before exercising. Always check blood sugar levels before and after exercise.
Talk to your doctor
While pregnancy with diabetes can come with some potential risks, having a healthy baby is possible. Women should work with a healthcare provider to find an individual treatment plan to get pregnant safely and have a healthy pregnancy. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider or fertility specialist.