Diabetes-related complications during pregnancy, for women with type 1 diabetes
Your doctor will advise you to have a baseline screening for all diabetes-related complications before pregnancy. If there are any complications, they should be assessed and stabilised before your pregnancy. You will also be advised to have further screening, or monitoring of, diabetes-related complications throughout your pregnancy.
Diabetes-related complications affecting the kidneys increase the risk of your blood pressure becoming a problem in the second half of pregnancy, usually after 26 weeks. If you have no signs of kidney problems or only very mild problems before pregnancy, it’s unlikely that a pregnancy will have any long-term effects on your kidney function. If you already have diabetes-related kidney disease, pregnancy may cause your kidney function to worsen.
Rapid improvements in blood glucose levels can increase the risk of developing eye problems or make any existing eye complications worse. Gradually reducing your HbA1c towards the target level before you become pregnant can reduce the risk of these problems occurring. If you have eye problems that become worse during pregnancy, laser treatment (to prevent or treat bleeding behind the eye) is safe if you need it. Eye problems that have developed during pregnancy may improve after the birth, usually by the time the baby is one year old.
If you have autonomic nerve damage, you may experience more problems with low blood pressure during pregnancy. Delayed stomach emptying can cause vomiting that can persist throughout the pregnancy, which can be stressful and also make it difficult to maintain good nutrition. This can lead to significant problems so you should discuss with your doctor how autonomic nerve damage may affect your pregnancy.
Diabetes-related complications and pregnancy
If you have diabetes-related complications it’s particularly important to have specialised management of your diabetes during pregnancy. It is best for your pregnancy to be managed in a major hospital that has a lot of obstetric and diabetes medical support as well as the best facilities for babies if they are born early or have any problems when they are born.