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.
- If you have diabetes and want to get pregnant, the most important thing you can do is to get your blood sugar in your target range. This can help prevent miscarriages and birth defects in your baby and can help keep you healthy.
- Check your blood sugar often, so you will know if your blood sugar is under control.
- Get regular exercise, and eat healthy foods. This can keep you at a healthy weight or help you lose weight, if you need to, before you get pregnant.
- Take folic acid supplements before you get pregnant. This may help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- If you take medicine, including over-the-counter medicine, talk to your doctor to see if you need to stop or change it before you get pregnant.
- 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.
- Have your doctor check for problems from diabetes, such as eye or kidney disease. These problems can get worse during pregnancy.
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:
- Eat a balanced diet. And if you are overweight, try to cut calories in your diet to lose some weight before you get pregnant. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can improve your blood sugar levels. There are many ways to manage how much and when you eat. Your doctor, a diabetes educator, or a dietitian can help you find a plan that works for you.
- Exercise regularly. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week. 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. Talk to your doctor about starting a safe exercise program.
- Take your medicine or insulin if prescribed, but let your doctor know that you are planning to get pregnant. Also let your doctor know about any other medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicine, to see if you need to make any changes before you get pregnant.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, as advised by your doctor. This will help you figure out how medicine, exercise, and food affect your blood sugar.
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 baby.
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.
Last Revised: January 17, 2013
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