Preparation for Pregnancy
What is prepregnancy counseling?
Prepregnancy counseling takes place before you become pregnant. It includes:
- Seeing and working with a team of diabetes specialists
- Having a complete physical exam
- Talking with your doctor about health risks for you and your baby
- Learning what to expect when you have diabetes and are pregnant
- Planning the best time to have a baby
- Choosing a method of family planning to use until your blood sugar is well under control
- Looking at ways to pay for your health-care costs
- Sharing what you have learned and your plans with family and special friends
Why is counseling so important?
Counseling is important because it is the best way to help you control your blood sugar before pregnancy. Your health and the health of your baby depend on it.
How does high blood sugar at the time of conception affect you and your baby?
When your blood sugar is high during the first 6 weeks of your pregnancy your baby is at risk of:
- Birth defects, especially of the heart and spine
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Failure to thrive
- Problems breathing after birth
High blood sugar also can affect your health. High blood sugar can affect your:
- Blood pressure
How can you prepare for pregnancy?
Do not get pregnant before your blood pressure is in good control.
- Stay in good blood sugar control for 2-3 months before you become pregnant.
- Plan office visits with diabetes specialists.
- Ask to have eye and kidney exams.
- Write down and ask your questions.
- Test your blood sugar often every day or as directed by your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about switching to insulin if you take pills to control your blood sugar before becoming pregnant.
Good control of your diabetes can fit in with your work, family, and other activities. Be prepared to make some changes. You may need to change your:
- Daily routine
- Type of exercise
- Meal planning
Pregnancy and parenthood
Having a baby and becoming a parent is a big decision. Get the facts first. The more facts you have, the better your decision will be. Once you choose to have a baby, your team will be ready to help you. The team is made up of trained doctors, dietitians, nurses, educators, social workers, and exercise specialists. Most of all, you are a part of the team too. Do your best to be a team player!
Who can you talk to?
You may not be planning a pregnancy now. Even so, you need to do the following things to protect your health:
- Discuss effective methods of family planning with your doctor. Choose one that will work for you.
- Have a complete physical each year.
- Maintain good blood sugar control.
- Begin to look for doctors who care for women with diabetes during pregnancy.
- Discuss your health-care costs and coverage with your health-care plan.