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For women with type 1 diabetes

Planning for pregnancy

The best preparation for a healthy pregnancy starts with getting the right information and advice before you become pregnant.

If you are thinking about trying to become pregnant, either now or in the future, talk to your health professionals. They can support you to plan and prepare for pregnancy.

This page has information and links about pregnancy planning for women with diabetes.

Quick links

Guide to pregnancy planning

Find out what you need to do, before you start trying for a baby.

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Why plan?

Women with diabetes can have a healthy baby, but there are extra risks during pregnancy when you have diabetes.

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Pregnancy planning checklist

If you have type 1 diabetes and are planning for pregnancy, use our online checklist.

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If you are a sexually active woman with diabetes, contraception matters.

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Women with diabetes can have a healthy baby, but there are a number of extra risks during pregnancy when you have diabetes.

Having diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of health problems in your developing baby, including the risk of birth defects and early pregnancy loss (miscarriage). This risk is higher if your blood glucose levels before and during early pregnancy have not been within the target range. There is also an increased risk of complications for the mother during pregnancy, such as developing high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, as well as having a large baby.

Research shows that planning and preparing for pregnancy, and well-managed diabetes before and during pregnancy, reduces the risk of health problems for mother and baby.

Remember that with careful planning, and with support from a team of health professionals, women with diabetes will usually have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

The best preparation for a healthy pregnancy starts with getting the right advice and assistance before you become pregnant. It is recommended that you have a review of your diabetes, and general health, at least three to six months before you start trying for a baby.

Make an appointment with your diabetes health professionals as soon as you start thinking about having a baby.

Your health professionals can provide pre-pregnancy care to help you with managing your diabetes and organise the health checks you need to prepare for pregnancy. If you are not already seeing these health professionals, ask your GP for the referrals you need. These services may be available to you through your local diabetes centre or hospital. All major hospitals with maternity services in Australia can provide information about pregnancy and diabetes, and some also have specialised diabetes in pregnancy services. You could also see a private endocrinologist with expertise in diabetes in pregnancy.

If you live in a rural area with limited services, ask your GP about the best options. You may consider travelling to a major hospital that has a diabetes in pregnancy service, especially if you have had any complications from diabetes. Or, you may be able to access a shared care system between your local services and a diabetes in pregnancy team in a major hospital. Telehealth may also be an option to link you and your local health professionals with specialist diabetes in pregnancy services. If you are not sure how to access health professionals in your area, ask your GP or call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700.

The first eight weeks of pregnancy is the time when a baby’s major organs develop, so it is important for your blood glucose levels to be as close to target as possible when you conceive and in the first part of your pregnancy. Blood glucose levels within the target range reduces the risk of health problems in the developing baby and the risk of miscarriage.

There are other aspects of planning for a healthy pregnancy too, such as screening for diabetes-related complications, taking nutrient supplements, a review of your current medications and having routine blood tests.

If you find you are pregnant sooner than expected, organise an immediate appointment at your closest maternity hospital or see an endocrinologist, diabetes educator/diabetes nurse practitioner with expertise in managing diabetes and pregnancy. They will work with you to achieve the best outcome for you and your baby.

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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