You can have a healthy pregnancy if your blood sugar is in a target range before you get pregnant and you don't have high blood pressure or problems from diabetes, such as kidney disease. Keeping your blood sugar at a target level lowers your risk of birth defects, miscarriage, and other problems.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests the following ranges for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant:1
Experts recommend keeping blood sugar levels in the target range for 3 to 6 months before you get pregnant. To do this, get plenty of exercise, eat healthy foods, lose weight if you need to, and take medicine if your doctor prescribes it.
It's important to let your doctor know if you are thinking about getting pregnant. If you take pills to treat your diabetes, your doctor may want you to switch to insulin or to a new pill before you get pregnant. And if you take insulin, your doctor may need to change the dose or how you take it, such as through an insulin pump or as shots.
You also need to let your doctor know about any medicine you take to treat other health problems. He or she may have you stop or change your medicine before you get pregnant if you are taking any medicines that could harm your baby.
When you have diabetes, you need to see your doctor regularly to check for problems from the disease. It's especially important to do this before you get pregnant. Screening tests help your doctor look for these problems before any symptoms appear. This can increase your chance of finding the problem at a more treatable stage. These tests include:
Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of problems for both the baby and the mother.
Risks for the baby include:
Risks for the mother include:
Your doctor may advise you NOT to get pregnant now if:
|Choose to get pregnant now||Choose not to get pregnant now|
|What is usually involved?|
|What are the benefits?|
|What are the risks and side effects?|
Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
"I have had diabetes for a long time. So when my husband and I started talking about having a baby, I mentioned it to my doctor during my regular checkup. I do a good job of keeping my blood sugar under control. So after doing some tests and adjusting my medicine, my doctor said it was safe to start trying. I got pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy."
— Mandy, age 32
"My life has been pretty stressful, and it has been hard to keep my blood sugar in a normal range. I want to get pregnant before I'm too old, but I worry about the risk of birth defects if I get pregnant now. Having a baby is a priority for me, so I talked to my doctor about some specific changes I can make to lower my stress level and focus on my health. I am going to wait for now to see if I can get my blood sugar under control."
— Rachael, age 38
"I have two children, and we want to try for a third. I had diabetes with both my pregnancies. My doctor worked with me to set target blood sugar levels before each pregnancy, and everything went smoothly. I am now 5 months pregnant and feeling good."
— Janelle, age 34
"Recently I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am newly married, and my husband and I want to have a family in the next few years. I am taking medicine and trying to eat right and get exercise so that I will be healthy when we decide that the time is right to start trying to have a baby."
— Christine, age 26
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to try to get pregnant now
Reasons not to try to get pregnant now
I am not worried that my diabetes will cause health problems for my baby.
I am worried that my diabetes may cause health problems for my baby.
I want to try to get pregnant now. I don't want to wait.
I want to wait until my doctor says it is safe before I try to get pregnant.
My blood sugar levels are under control, and I'm confident that I can keep them controlled.
I want to get my blood sugar levels under control before I try to get pregnant.
I'm not worried that getting pregnant now could harm my health.
I am worried that getting pregnant now could harm my health.
My other important reasons:
My other important reasons:
Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.
Trying to get pregnant now
NOT trying to get pregnant now
1. As long as my doctor says my medicine is controlling my diabetes, it is safe for me to try to get pregnant.
2. My blood sugar levels should be in a target range for at least 3 months before I get pregnant.
3. Before I get pregnant, I need to see my doctor regularly to check for diabetes complications, such as eye or kidney disease.
1. Do you understand the options available to you?
2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?
3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?
1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?
2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.
3. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology|