Pregnancy

pregnancy

Deciding to have a baby is a big step for any woman but when you have diabetes there are extra things to consider. Many women with diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, but it requires a lot of work and dedication on your part.

Before You Get Pregnant

If you have diabetes either type 1 or type 2 and are thinking of getting pregnant, please discuss this with your GP or diabetes team. As you will need to be referred to a specialist pregnancy planning team at the hospital, that includes a diabetes specialist nurse, diabetes consultant, diabetes specialist midwife and an obstetrician. The team will talk to you about what tests and treatment to expect, so that you can get your pregnancy off to a healthy start. There are certain tests that should be carried out before you become pregnant.

Blood Glucose

You can increase your chances of delivering a healthy baby by keeping your blood glucose levels under control before conception and throughout your pregnancy. The first eight weeks are particularly important for the physical development of your baby. Poor control of blood glucose during conception and through the first eight weeks greatly increases the chances that your baby will develop problems, so it is vital that you keep a tight control on your blood glucose levels.

Eyes

Have your eyes checked, this is especially important if you already have problems (such as retinopathy)and make sure you have any necessary treatment before you conceive.

Medication

Please check with your diabetes team that the medication you are taking is suitable for you planning a pregnancy. Some medications are unsuitable to take when pregnant.

Folic Acid

It is recommended that all women planning to have a baby begin  taking folic acid, before conception and for the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy. For women with diabetes they are advised to take 5mg of folic acid, which is more than a women without diabetes, and is only available on prescription. Please make an appointment with your GP or diabetes consultant to discuss this.

Other General Suggestions

  • Cut out alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet

Once You Become Pregnant

Once you become pregnant you will be managed by a specialist team at the hospital, who have experience in managing diabetes and pregnancy. It it important to keep your blood glucose control within target.  Diabetes UK recommend that your blood glucose is less than 5.9mmol/l before meals and be no higher than 7.8mmol/l one hour after food. You are advised to keep this range however do not let the occasional high or low blood glucose cause too much concern, if you are finding it difficult to keep good control you should see a member of your health care team.  Be aware that during the first trimester your body's need for insulin will go up and down frequently and you could have a decrease in your hypo awareness.

Try to avoid hypo's and hyper's where possible and make sure you treat them as soon as possible and discuss any issues with your multidisciplinary team.

Some of this information has been reproduced from www.diabetes.org.uk with the kind permission of Diabetes UK. For information from their pregnancy pages please follow this link, click here.

What Care to Expect from Your Hospital?

Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, offer support and advice for women with pre-existing type 1 or type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. The services they offer are:

  • Pre-conception counselling
  • A multi-professional antenatal clinic throughout the pregnancy, with a consultant diabetologist, consultant obstetrician, specialist diabetes nurse and a specialist diabetes midwife (these clinics are held every two weeks on a Thursday morning)
  • Post natal review

If you would like to speak to someone about getting pregnant or would like to make an appointment at the hospital, please go and see your GP who will refer you.  If already seen at the hospital then contact them to arrange an appointment.

Further Information

For further information on contraception, conception, pregnancy and diabetes follow this link to our YouTube channel to watch a series of videos about the issue young women with diabetes face. These videos were kindly donated with permission of Queen's University, Belfast, who developed and produced the documentary.

Please also feel free to download the NHS Diabetes leaflet on planning a pregnancy, by clicking here.

Block A Level One, Queen Mary's Hospital, Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6LT Diabetes Queries: 020 8269 3419