Featured articles 9
What to pack for hospital
When you’re due to have a baby, packing your bag for hospital can be an exciting time. It’s also one of those things best not left until the last minute! Ideally, packing your bag by 34 weeks of pregnancy is usually recommended.
Below are suggestions on what to pack for mother, baby and support person, including suggested diabetes supplies.
Your doctor or diabetes educator can provide individualised advice on what you need for managing your diabetes during labour and after the baby is born.
- Medicare card
- Antenatal record card
- Private health insurance details (if applicable)
- Hospital paperwork
- Your birth plan (it can be helpful to give a copy to your midwife in advance)
- Contact details for your diabetes in pregnancy team: including endocrinologist, diabetes educator and obstetrician
- Diabetes management plan including insulin dose adjustments and pump settings (taking a photo of this plan and storing it in your phone can be helpful)
- Comfortable/old clothes for labour (such as a loose t-shirt)
- Sleepwear, dressing gown, socks and slippers
- Maternity bras and underwear (high waisted underwear helpful with C-section)
- Breast pads
- Maternity pads
- Personal toiletries for showering, moisturiser and deodorant
- Tooth brush and toothpaste
- Tissues, lip balm, hairbrush and hairbands
- Books, magazines, playing cards, notepad, pen, music (and headphones)
- Comfortable day clothes (front opening can be helpful for breastfeeding)
- Flip flops / thongs
- Clothes and shoes to wear home
- Phone and charger
For your baby
- Small beanie or hat
- Newborn nappies (8-10/day)
- Baby wipes
- Sleepsuits and singlets
- Socks or booties
- Baby blanket
- An outfit for the trip home
- Baby capsule (already fitted to your car)
For your partner or support person
- Water bottle and snacks
- Change of clothes
- Money or credit card (for parking, meals etc.)
- Blood glucose meter
- Test strips (more than what you think you’ll need)
- Ketone test strips (type 1 diabetes)
- Fingerpricker and lancets
- Diabetes record book
- Insulin pen and pen needles/syringes
- Insulin pump supplies (if applicable) plus a back-up insulin pen
- Continuous Glucose Monitoring supplies (if applicable)
- Hypo treatments
Each hospital is different and has their own policies on what you can bring and what is provided during your stay, so check with the hospital and discuss what to pack with your midwife and diabetes health professionals. It is also a good idea to check hospital visiting hours beforehand.
Thank you to the women living with diabetes who kindly provided suggestions and feedback on this checklist.
The viral profile of pregnant women living with type 1 diabetes
The Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) Study is researching the possible environmental causes of type 1 diabetes to help find ways to prevent it.
They have recently published the results of their study into the viral profile of pregnant women living with type 1 diabetes.
Find out more about their research here.
ENDIA is still recruiting—find out more here.
Flu vaccination in pregnancy
During pregnancy, the flu can cause serious health problems for both mother and baby. However, in a recently published survey, just over half of pregnant women in NSW reported getting their flu vaccination.
The research, which evaluated the NSW 2016 influenza vaccination in pregnancy campaign, found that 54% of pregnant women chose to receive a flu shot. While the number of women being vaccinated remains low, the researchers noted that this had improved from previous years.
Recommendations from health care providers were found to be important, with almost two-thirds of women who had discussed vaccination during pregnancy with a GP, receiving the vaccine. The need for better exposure through the media and more information to address women’s concerns about vaccination during pregnancy were highlighted in the study.
What about pregnant women living with diabetes?
Women living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who are pregnant should be vaccinated against the flu.
To get the best protection from the flu, you should get the flu vaccine prior to the onset of the influenza (flu) season (from May), regardless of the stage of pregnancy, or even pre-pregnancy. However, the vaccine can be given at any time during the year and will still provide some protection to mother and newborn.
Flu vaccination has been shown to be safe at any stage of pregnancy. Getting vaccinated protects you and also passes on protective antibodies to your baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is important because babies less than 6 months of age are too young to get a flu vaccine, and these antibodies will help protect your baby in the first few months of life.
To stop the spread of flu and keep everyone healthy, it’s also recommended that other family members be vaccinated, including partners, grandparents and children (aged 6 months or over).
The flu vaccination is FREE for all pregnant women as part of the national immunisation program. See the Protecting your baby against influenza starts when you’re pregnant brochure for more information.
Vaccination is also free for those living with chronic conditions requiring regular medical follow-up in the past year, such as diabetes. Children aged from 6 months to under 5 years old and people aged 65 years or over can also be vaccinated for FREE. Ask your GP for more information.
Read the study.
Will hypos during pregnancy have any effect on my baby?
Hypos (low blood glucose levels) have not been shown to cause harm to the baby. Hypos can, however, be a risk to the safety of the mother, so it’s important that you treat hypos without delay.
During pregnancy some women with type 1 diabetes notice that their early warning signs for hypos (such as feeling shaky or sweaty) change or even disappear altogether. This means that hypos can happen without much or any warning, increasing the risk of severe hypos. Early detection and treatment is important.
Routinely checking blood glucose levels before and after meals is important for management decisions. However, also check your blood glucose levels if you feel ‘different’ to see if you may be having a hypo. Remember to make sure your levels are above 5mmol/L before driving.
Using a continuous glucose monitoring device that will alert you if your glucose level is ‘falling’ or ‘low’ can give you a lot more confidence about preventing and detecting hypos.