Starting a family is an exciting time! Whether you’ve just started planning, or are looking ahead, gathering information is the first step to a safe and healthy pregnancy with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Many women choose to work with a team that includes an endocrinologist, primary care doctor, and an OB-GYN, preferably one who has experience with T1D pregnancies.
Creating a pregnancy plan is the next step. Most experts recommend maintaining an HbA1c at or below 6 percent before you conceive, and maintaining that range throughout your pregnancy. It’s also important early in the planning stages to consider wearing a CGM if you don’t already. A CGM will provide additional insight into blood-glucose patterns, helping you maintain healthy blood-glucose levels.
Pregnancy can feel overwhelming! You will most likely be offered good (and not so good) advice from well meaning friends, family members, coworkers, websites and blogs–even strangers. Take a deep breath. JDRF offers a downloadable toolkit to help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Myths & Facts
Women with T1D have been having healthy pregnancies for decades, but a handful of discouraging myths and misconceptions remain. Below, several of the most common myths and facts about pregnancy and T1D are explained.
Myth: Women with T1D have big babies
Fact: When mothers keep blood-glucose levels in range during pregnancy, the baby’s size will not be affected
Myth: Women with T1D have a harder time getting pregnant
Fact: A woman’s fertility is complex and related to many factors, T1D alone is not one of them
Myth: You’ll have to deliver early and you will most likely have a C-section
Fact: While it is common for women with T1D to be induced at 38 weeks, with good blood glucose management, you can have a full term, natural delivery
Myth: Your children will automatically have diabetes
Fact: Children of mothers with T1D only have a slightly elevated risk of developing T1D
Myth: It is not important for men with T1D to have their blood-sugar levels well controlled while trying to conceive.
Fact: Poorly controlled T1D can affect sperm count, sperm health and erectile function. It is important to be as well controlled as possible while trying to conceive.
Myth: Having a blood-sugar level in the 200‒300 mg/dL range during the first few weeks of pregnancy (before the pregnancy is confirmed) will cause the baby to have birth defects.
Fact: It is true that the first six weeks of pregnancy are critical because your baby’s organs are forming during this time. Fortunately, birth defects are quite rare for women with T1D. However, they occur more frequently than the general public, and high blood-sugar is the main reason for the increased risk. Good control before a pregnancy and during the first trimester will reduce this risk significantly.
JDRF has created a series of videos with expert Michele Laine, ARNP, CDE, to give an overview of the three trimesters of pregnancy for women with T1D. Watch below or view the entire Pregnancy With T1D playlist on JDRF’s YouTube channel.