Type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy and your emotional health

You may need support with your emotional well-being as you go through a pregnancy with type 1 or 2 diabetes

Pregnancy and childbirth can be emotional at the best of times, but if you have diabetes to cope with too, then you have yet another load to bear.

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.

Read more general supportive information about mental wellbeing in 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.

Read more about hypo and hypers here

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.

More in this section

More sections on type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy

    Last reviewed on September 1st, 2015. Next review date September 1st, 2017.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.

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