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Preconception Planning For Women With Diabetes

Preconception Planning For Women With Diabetes

For women with diabetes, pregnancy planning is extremely important. You need to be in good health before conception to minimize your risks during pregnancy. Before you become pregnant, discuss your options with your doctor, as he or she can provide you with valuable information about the risks and complications of pregnancy and diabetes.

Your health care provider will do a complete physical exam, and take note of any diabetes complications that may be affecting your health. Your physician will help you plan a detailed diet and advise you to pay strict attention to your glucose levels. Your blood sugar needs to be at a stable level three months prior to conception, and stay within the normal range for the first three months of pregnancy, when most of your baby's development occurs. You should be checking your blood glucose levels 6 to 8 times each day before conception.

A visit to an ophthalmologist is also recommended, as diabetes can cause serious eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy can become worse during pregnancy, so you should schedule an eye exam and plan on regular check ups after you are pregnant.

Hypertension is a common symptom of diabetes, but the prescription drugs normally used to treat this condition are not safe during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you with alternative ways to control hypertension that do not require medication.

Kidney disease is another condition that can worsen during pregnancy, so lab tests will be done to make sure that your kidneys are functioning normally. If they are not, you will need to treat any problems before you conceive.

Diabetes management will be essential when you do conceive. Without proper care, you could suffer from autonomic or peripheral neuropathy, which can present complications during pregnancy. Autonomic neuropathy damages your internal organs, and needs treatment before conception, while peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that gets worse in pregnancy.

Your heart health also plays a role in pregnancy, and some women with diabetes can't handle the increased cardiovascular stress that being pregnant puts on the body. If you have had surgery for heart problems because of your diabetes, your odds of having a healthy pregnancy are lower. Your health care provider will want to check your heart before you get pregnant, and treat any potential problems.

Having diabetes does not mean that you will have pregnancy complications, but it does mean that you need to carefully monitor your diet and glucose levels to increase your baby's chances of being born healthy.


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