Getting pregnant when you have diabetes: Dos & Don’ts
Getting pregnant is a complicated enough process as it is, but add diabetes in the mix, and you’ve got a whole bag of other problems to contend with. How difficult is it to get pregnant when you have diabetes, and what are certain things you need to take note of when you’re trying to get pregnant whilst you have diabetes? Read on to find out!
Getting a medical checkup
If you have diabetes, and you’re trying to get pregnant, the first step is to visit your doctor for a checkup. Your doctor will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels; you’ll also have to take blood tests and urine tests to check for thyroid, kidney problems, and other diabetes-related issues.
If you are currently taking oral medications to help you control your glucose levels, do ask your doctor whether you should be continuing consumption whilst trying to get pregnant. If you’re taking Metformin, you should be in the clear; if you’re taking another medication which might hinder your attempts at getting pregnant, your doctor may switch you to a combination of Metformin and insulin.
Understanding the risks
Whilst it’s possible for women with diabetes to get pregnant, fertility experts explain that diabetic women are more likely to experience miscarriages. This is corroborated by statistics from the American Diabetes Association, which show that women with high glucose levels are 30% to 60% more likely to have their pregnancies end in miscarriage.
How exactly do diabetes and high glucose levels impact your pregnancy? Firstly, high glucose levels may damage embryonic cells, resulting in a higher risk of organ damage as well as birth defects. Other than having a miscarriage, pregnant women are also at a higher chance of delivering prematurely, or having stillbirths.
Precautions to take whilst pregnant
Similar to pregnant women without diabetes, pregnant women who are diabetic should be using a combination of diet and exercise to stay healthy throughout their pregnancies.
Where diet is concerned, the key is to eat a wide range of foods in moderation, and to avoid excessive calorie intake which can result in glucose levels spiking. Pregnant women should also be exercising three times a week; steer clear of vigorous exercise and go for low-impact activities such as swimming and brisk walking.
Whilst ensuring that they eat healthily and exercise routinely, pregnant women with diabetes also need to keep up with their routine blood tests to ensure that their glucose levels are under control. Some doctors recommend a “glucose challenge test” to be done during the second trimester; in this test, the patient will be given a certain amount of glucose to consume, and readings will be taken post-consumption to determine whether the patient is able to control her sugar levels. Depending on the results, your doctor will be able to predict whether your diabetes is likely to have any implications on your foetus.
Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka
If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!