Try to be kind to yourself and recognise that you have a lot on your plate. Accept offers of help from your partner, friends or family and be honest if you could do with a break. Going for a walk on your own or having a phone conversation with a friend can make things feel much better.
If you are feeling really bleak about things, or extremely anxious, do share your feelings with someone who you feel you can talk to in your healthcare team – perhaps your GP or a diabetes midwife. At least one in ten women experience anxiety and depression in pregnancy, so it is not uncommon.
Depending on your symptoms, what services are available locally and what you feel might work for you, treatment can vary including self-help, talking therapies, or medication. It takes courage to admit that you need help – it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of – and the sooner you seek support, the sooner things can be put in place to help you have a happier, healthier pregnancy.
"In my second pregnancy, I went to a special diabetes antenatal group run by my hospital so that was really good because you could talk to other people who were in a similar boat. It was nice to be with other people in the same situation." Sara, mum of two
Getting help from family and friends
If you have a partner or close friends and family around you during your pregnancy, try to involve them in understanding how diabetes affects your pregnancy (and vice versa).
Make them aware of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia
People who are close to you particularly need to know the information that relates to your safety – for example, they may need to help you if you have a hypo or a hyper, and to learn to notice when you are having a hypo, as you may have hypo unawareness when you are pregnant.
Tell them about your insulin regime
They need to know about your insulin regime, and any changes to it over time.
Give them contact numbers
They should have all the contact numbers for the specialist pregnancy teams in case you become unwell.
Ask someone to come to appointments with you
Another important role they can play is in coming to appointments with you. It can be hard to take in everything so bring someone along who can listen and take notes for you. Afterwards, you may find it easier to piece together what was said and they may be able to advocate on your behalf if you are having difficulty getting your point across. Healthcare teams welcome partners or family members attending consultations.
Share your thoughts and fears
More generally, pregnancy is also a good time to share what you are going through with those who are close to you. You may not have talked much about your diabetes before, but the extra appointments, tests and challenges in managing your glucose may take their toll. Talking it through with someone may ease the burden for you.
Keeping your blood glucose levels within safe limits is a hugely important part of managing your diabetes, but you also need to think about your physical well-being.
Hypoglycaemia happens when your blood glucose levels drop too low. This is more likely to happen if you treat your diabetes with insulin. If you treat you diabetes with diet or metformin alone, you are generally not at risk.
Hyperglycaemia is caused by blood glucose levels rising too high.
While you are pregnant, you will be at much higher risk of hypoglycaemia – especially in the early weeks. At the same time, you may not have your usual early warning signs (hypo unawareness), and the symptoms may be more severe than usual.
If you are ill with type 1 or 2 diabetes, more glucose is released into your bloodstream and your body becomes resistant to insulin.
Whatever treatment you were using to control your diabetes before you became pregnant may change. If you were using tablets, you may have to start using insulin.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy you will get extra care.
You will need to manage your type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy by checking your blood glucose levels and adjusting your treatment according to the results.
Women with type 1 or 2 diabetes are at higher risk of some complications but the majority have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. There is much you can do to reduce the risks, for you and baby.
Many women with type 1 or 2 diabetes go on to have a healthy birth. But you are at higher risk of complications so your healthcare team will have recommendations for the birth of your baby.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you should to talk to your healthcare team if you are thinking about having a baby. There are some things you can do now to make your upcoming pregnancy safer.
The fact that you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy does not mean that your baby will get it as a child. But they will have an increased risk of getting it later due to genetics.
Information and support for type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy
ℹLast reviewed on September 1st, 2015. Next review date September 1st, 2017.