1. Plan your pregnancy
Dealing with complications caused by diabetes can be a game-changer during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes tends to show up later on (around weeks 24 to 28) and there are usually no symptoms. (Occasionally gestational diabetes is associated with excessive thirst and increased urination.)
Risk factors can include advanced maternal age, family history, obesity and ethnic background, the same as for type 2 diabetes. “It’s the same disease,” says Erin Keely, MD, chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Ottawa Hospital. “It’s just that pregnancy brings it out earlier.” She calls pregnancy an insulin-resistant state, meaning that a woman’s body is under pressure to make more insulin to keep her blood sugar down.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the most critical time to seek help is before you conceive. “It’s so important for these women to plan their pregnancies,” says Jennifer Snyder, a nutritionist and Perinatal Clinical Activities Specialist at McGill University Health Centre. Complications can include eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and blood-vessel damage for you, and congenital defects and a bigger birth size for your baby, which might mean a difficult pregnancy.