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Guide to Diabetes

Diabetes and Pregnancy: Pre-Pregnancy advice

pre- pregnancy advice

If you are planning a pregnancy getting pregnant, you extra care when you have diabetes, and with this care most women will deliver a healthy baby. 

Occasionally diabetes is discovered for the first time during pregnancy. This is called Gestational Diabetes. A specialist obstetrics and diabetes team will help you manage your care during your pregnancy.


Diabetes and Pregnancy: some questions answered

  • Diabetes will not affect your ability to become pregnant provided that your blood glucose levels are well controlled.
  • No one can tell whether a child will develop diabetes; however if either parent has diabetes or if there is a strong family history of diabetes, there is an increased risk.
  • The overall risk to a child of a mother with Type 1 Diabetes is thought to be around 2-3%. However, this figure does vary depending on the age of the mother when she was diagnosed with diabetes and the age she is at the time of childbirth.
  • For women with Type 2 Diabetes the risk of a child developing diabetes is 40% over their lifetime, but often diabetes will not develop until adulthood.

Planning a pregnancy if you have diabetes

If you have diabetes and are thinking of becoming pregnant talk to your GP and Diabetes Team 6-9 months before you try to become pregnant so your diabetes can be monitored and you can be supported to achieve very good blood glucose control between 4-7mmol/l. Effective contraception is very important at this stage.

Pre-Pregancy Planning advice for women with diabetes 


Download our UHL Diabetes Pre-pregnancy Planning booklet

It is always important to plan for a pregnancy whether you have diabetes or not. However when you have diabetes there are some extra things to consider before you become pregnant:

  1. Transition period It is very important to discuss pregnancy with your diabetes team around three months before you consider becoming pregnant. This gives your diabetes team time to review and change any medications that should not be taken during pregnancy AND get you sorted out with safe medications that you can take throughout your pregnancy. When you change medications there is always a transition to go through in order to get doses correct for you to ensure you start your pregnancy with well managed blood glucose and blood pressure. 

  2. Folic Acid supplements- Around three months before you hope to conceive you should start taking 5mgs of Folic Acid daily from the time they decide to try for a baby until the 12th week of pregnancy. 

  3. Eyes and Kidney function test- Have your kidney function and eyes tested. 

  4. Stop Smoking - we have specialist advisors who totally understand and will help you through the process. contact: 0116 295 41 41 City - 0845 04528 28 - county

  5. Cut out alcohol and eat healthy

This gives you and your baby the best possible start and will reduce the possibility of problems arising later.

If you become unexpectedly pregnanct it is essential you contact your GP or diabetes team immediately.


Risks of uncontrolled diabetes during pregnacy

If your diabetes is not controlled properly during pregnancy there are a number of problems that can affect your baby. These include:

  • Congenital Abnormalities: In the first 12 weeks (3 months) of pregnancy when the baby’s major organs are developing, poorly controlled diabetes (i.e. continuously high blood sugars) may cause damage to the foetus.
  • Accelerated Growth or Large for Date Babies: Poorly controlled diabetes may lead to large for dates babies, which can cause problems at delivery for both mother and baby. This can be avoided by good glucosecontrol during pregnancy.
  • Lung and Breathing Problems (Respiratory Distress Syndrome): Poorly controlled diabetes may causes reduced production of lung ‘Surfactant’, a protein needed for the lungs to function normally in the newborn baby. This immaturity in the lungs leads to a condition called Respiratory Distress Syndrome, i.e. breathing difficulties in the newborn baby.
  • Still Birth: Poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth.

Healthcare and Support

You will be closely supervised with frequent pregnancy clinic visits beginning as soon as possible after conception. You will also have regular ultrasound scans to assess the size of the baby and to check for any of the abnormalities mentioned above.  


Useful links


Pre-pregnancy planning for for women with diabetes

Leicestershire diabetes guide for patients and healthcare professionals Download Document