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Take Charge of Your Diabetes

Becoming Pregnant When You Have Diabetes

Image of a woman holding a baby.

Women with diabetes can have healthy babies, but it takes planning ahead and effort. Pregnancy can make both high and low blood glucose levels happen more often. It can make diabetic eye disease and diabetic kidney disease worse. High glucose levels during pregnancy are dangerous for the baby, too.

If you don’t want to become pregnant, talk with your health care provider about birth control.

You can protect your baby and yourself by controlling your blood glucose before and during pregnancy.

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Protecting Your Baby and Yourself

Keeping your glucose levels near normal before and during pregnancy can help protect you and your baby. That’s why it’s so important to plan your pregnancies ahead of time.

Image of a woman and a health care professional discussing records and/or test results.
Your blood glucose and A1C records will help you
and your health care team know when your
glucose range is safe for pregnancy.

If you want to have a baby, discuss it with your health care provider. Work with your diabetes care team to get and keep your blood glucose in the normal or near-normal range before you become pregnant. Your glucose records and your A1C test results will show when you have maintained a safe range for a period of time.

You may need to change your meal plan and your usual physical activity, and you may need to take more frequent insulin shots. Testing your glucose several times a day will help you see how well you're balancing things. shots. Record the test results in your logbook or on a log sheet.

Get a complete check of your eyes and kidneys before you try to become pregnant. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs—doing these things can harm you and your baby.

All women who could become pregnant should get folic acid (400 micrograms) every day. An easy way to be sure you’re getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin with folic acid in it.

Think about breast feeding your baby. Breast feeding has many benefits for you and your baby.

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Having Diabetes During Pregnancy

Some women have diabetes only when they’re pregnant. This condition, which is called gestational diabetes, can be controlled just like other kinds of diabetes. Glucose control is the key. Your health care team can help you take charge of gestational diabetes. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Check again for diabetes at least 6 weeks after your baby is born and at regular times for the rest of your life.

Image of a pregnant woman speaking with a health care professional.
If you learn you have diabetes when you’re pregnant, work closely with your health care team to stay healthy.

Controlling Diabetes for Women's Health

Some women with diabetes may have special problems, such as bladder infections. See Protecting Your Kidneys to find out about the signs of bladder and kidney infections. If you have an infection, it needs to be treated right away. Call your doctor.

Image of a woman.
Getting Pap smears and mammograms is important to every woman’s health.

Some women get yeast infections in their vagina, especially when their blood glucose is high. A sign of a yeast infection may be itching in the vagina. If you notice vaginal itching, tell your health care provider, who can tell you about medicines you can buy at the drugstore and about how to prevent yeast infections.

Some women with diabetes may have trouble with sexual function. Discomfort caused by vaginal itching or dryness can be treated.

Ask your doctor how often you should get a Pap smear and a mammogram (breast X-ray). Regular Pap smears and mammograms help detect cervical and breast cancer early. All women—whether or not they have diabetes—need to have these tests regularly.

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