How Can Partners Support Each Other Throughout a Pregnancy?
You and your partner are excited to have a baby and there are many things to think about. While you are pregnant, a huge part of your worry and attention is around managing your type 1 diabetes (T1D) to have a health pregnancy. Having the support and help of your partner can help (and relieve some stress). Often partners want to support you but don’t know how to or what to do unless you actually discuss it with them. Here are some ways you and your partner can take on pregnancy and type 1 diabetes together:
- Practice open communication: It’s natural for your partner to be concerned about the challenges type 1 diabetes brings to a pregnancy. Try to be open to discussing your concerns and listening to your partner’s worries. Open communication, where you actively listen to one another (by reflecting back what the other person said) is an important part of any relationship to make sure you are on the same page (especially when you raise a child together).
- Get support: Make sure your partner understands what support you need. You have to ask your partner for what you need or what would be helpful to you. Often loved ones try to help but unintentionally aggravate us or do something unhelpful. So, asking for what you need is important. Partners want to help but they just need to know how! It may be helpful for them to attend some of your diabetes appointments to understand how your diabetes management is changing and how they can be helpful. You don’t need to do this alone! Growing a human inside you and managing your ever-changing diabetes needs is a full-time job…so get support!
- Prepare your partner for emergencies: Low blood sugars can happen more frequently during pregnancy due to the lower target blood sugar goals recommended during pregnancy and the ever-changing insulin requirements. Your partner should know what to do in an emergency – how to and when to administer glucagon as well as how to treat mild lows. It would be good for them to have low treatment at hand (glucose tabs, candy without fat such as skittles or gummy candy, or juice) in case you need it when having a low blood sugar.
- Paternity and maternity leave: Some employers offer paternity leave for fathers, and maternity leave for mothers in same-sex relationships. Talk to your respective employers to find out what options are available (paid and unpaid) to you and your family. Some families take their time off together, while others stagger their days. Explore all leave options and find the most effective way to collectively use your time off.
- Have fun: Don’t let your worries about type 1 diabetes overpower the excitement and fun of having a baby. Stay positive and remember to enjoy this experience with one another!
If you and your partner can find ways to support one another through pregnancy, it can be so much more enjoyable for both of you. This advice can be a great foundation for you and your partner to build on as you figure out the best ways to communicate and care for each other throughout pregnancy with T1D and parenthood. You can join TypeOneNation to connect with other couples who have going through pregnancies with type 1 diabetes.