Ready to start a family? Learn how diabetes can affect pregnancy and ways to get your body baby-ready.
If you’re thinking about starting a family, it’s natural to have concerns about your baby’s health and your own. In the past, women with diabetes were discouraged from having a baby. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Exceptions may apply, however, to women who have experienced eye complications, kidney damage, or who have heart disease.
Making the decision
If you’re thinking about starting a family, you and your partner should first consult with your Healthcare Provider. This is an important step to help you determine any potential risks and ways to reduce them. It’s ultimately your decision, but it’s best to be informed and ready for the journey ahead. It’s an exciting but anxious time, so move forward with all the facts on your side.
Getting your body baby-ready
If you’ve made the decision to try to conceive, there are things you can do to help prepare your body for pregnancy.
Controlling your blood glucose levels before and during pregnancy is key to preventing complications. The level of risk for complications is largely determined by the health of a woman just before conception and during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy.1 This is because a baby's development starts at conception – even before you may know you're pregnant.
Work closely with your healthcare team to carefully manage your blood glucose months before you start trying. You may need to adjust your medication regimen or you may need to improve your blood glucose control. If you’re at high risk for complications, careful blood glucose control becomes even more critical.
It’s also important to follow a healthy eating plan. The same basic rules about nutrition still apply – eat balanced, regular meals with whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, lots of vegetables and healthy fats. You may also want to consider prenatal vitamins containing folic acid to fill in any gaps.
Many women go through emotional ups and downs when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. If it takes time to conceive, you may worry and wonder if something’s wrong. You may also be scared that you won’t be able to do enough to protect your baby’s health and your own. It can be helpful to speak to other women with diabetes who have gone through a pregnancy to see how they managed their fears. Lean on your partner for support as you take this important step together.
Work closely with your healthcare team so that you know how to adjust your diabetes management plan to support a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
1Feig D, Berger H, Donovan L, Godbout A, et al. Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada: Diabetes and Pregnancy. Can J Diabetes 2018;42(Suppl 1):S255-S282.