Type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy

There are risks in every pregnancy, but if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes the risks are higher for both mother and the baby. However, there are lots of things you can do to reduce the risks and give your baby the best possible start in life.

Planning your pregnancy with diabetes

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and thinking about having a baby, it’s important to talk to your healthcare team. There are risks in every pregnancy, but if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes the risks are higher for both the mother and the baby. No one can avoid these risks completely, but you can reduce them if your pregnancy is carefully planned.

Pregnancy and diabetes

If you haven’t seen your healthcare team and find out that you’re pregnant, try not to worry. There are still lots of things you can do to reduce the risks and give your baby the best possible start in life.

The first thing to do is make an urgent appointment with your GP or diabetes team.

 They will talk to you about:

Folic acid and diabetes

You will also need to start taking a higher dose (5mg) of folic acid every day, from as soon as possible (ideally before pregnancy as soon as you stop contraception) until you are 12 weeks pregnant. This is taken as a tablet (supplement) and reduces the risk of having a baby with spina bifida or other problems affecting the baby's spine and neural tube.

You’ll need to get a prescription for this from your GP because you can’t get this dose of folic acid over the counter.

Your mental health

Being pregnant with a long-term health condition is different for everyone. Some women may find it more difficult than others.

Pregnancy can be an emotional experience for anyone, even if they are completely healthy. So, it’s completely understandable to feel anxious if your pregnancy is a bit more complicated. But if you feel very stressed or anxious, it’s important to ask for help.

Find out more about type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy and your emotional health.

 
 

Sections on type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy

Sources

NICE (2015). Diabetes in pregnancy: management from preconception to the postnatal period. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng3

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    Last reviewed on July 20th, 2020. Next review date July 20th, 2023.

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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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