Tommy's PregnancyHub

After pregnancy for women with type 1 and 2 diabetes 

If you have diabetes, it’s important to take care of yourself and your baby to reduce any potential risks caused by pregnancy.

Your body is still going through changes after pregnancy, so you may need help to adjust your insulin doses. It’s important to keep in touch with your diabetes team so they can help you with this.

Retinopathy 

If you had diabetic retinopathy during your pregnancy, you should be offered a check within 6 months after your baby’s birth. 

“Through the pregnancy you’re trying to really, really look after your diabetes and keep your control very tight. But then afterwards, you go back to just being a normal diabetic, and it’s hard to motivate yourself to really keep going. You feel like you want a break.”

Laura

Looking after yourself

Having a baby can turn your world upside down, especially if it is your first. You are so busy learning how to care for your baby that it’s very easy to forget about yourself. But if you have a long-term condition like diabetes, it is important to look after yourself because of the risk of long-term health complications, such as heart or kidney problems. 

Try to make sure that you eat healthily and stay active. Taking steps to maintain a healthy weight is a great start.

Here are some tips:

  • Sleep whenever you can. Find out more about coping with sleepless nights.
  • Eat healthy meals. You could ask for a referral to a dietitian if you need one.
  • Keep healthy snacks in the house.
  • Move more. Taking your baby for a daily walk is a great start. 
  • Check your glucose levels regularly.
  • Get support from others, such as your healthcare team, your family and your friends.
  • Try to take some time for you (such having a relaxing bath or reading a book) when you get the chance.
  • Keep your follow-up appointments. These should start within 6 to 8 weeks after the birth.

Having another baby

It is possible to get pregnant 3 weeks after you’ve given birth, even if you’re breastfeeding and your periods haven’t started again. 

Unless you want to get pregnant again, it’s important to use contraception every time you have sex. Find out more about your sexual and reproductive health after having a baby

If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, it is very important to talk to your healthcare team before you start trying for a baby. This is because you and your baby have a higher risk of health problems. 

You can’t remove these risks completely, but you can lower them by making sure your condition is well managed before you get pregnant.

The best thing to do is use contraception until you and your healthcare team have agreed that you are ready.  Discuss this with your GP as soon as you can. 

Find out more about planning a pregnancy with type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Your baby’s health

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your baby may be at higher risk of developing obesity or diabetes later in life. 
Although your baby may have an increased risk of diabetes, it doesn’t mean that they will develop the condition. 

Breastfeeding can help reduce your baby’s risk of obesity and diabetes.  Breastfeeding can be challenging at first but there is lots of support available. You can ask your midwife or health visitor for more information. 

You can also encourage your baby to be active from an early age by having some tummy time. Tummy time means giving your baby some time every day lying on their tummy. It helps your baby to build the muscles they need for sitting, crawling and eventually, walking. 

When you start giving your baby solid foods (weaning) try to introduce them to a varied diet.

Start4Life has a lot of information and ideas about healthy lifestyle choices for you and your baby. They also have an email that sends you monthly tips up until your child starts school. 
 

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

NHS. Avoiding complications. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-1-diabetes/avoiding-complications/ (Page last reviewed: 9 August 2021. Next review due: 9 August 2024)

NHS. Health problems Type 2 diabetes. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/health-problems/ (Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020. Next review due: 18 August 2023)

NHS Choices. Sex and contraception after birth. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/sex-contraception-after-birth/ (Page last reviewed: 13 December 2018. Next review due: 13 December 2021)

NHS. Diabetes and pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/existing-health-conditions/diabetes/ (Page last reviewed: 9 June 2021. Next review due: 9 June 2024)

Sue Macdonald, Gail Johnson, Mayes’ Midwifery. Edinburgh: Baillir̈e Tindall Elsevier, 2017)
 

Review dates
Last reviewed: 20 July 2020
Next review: 20 July 2023