Planning for pregnancy, for women with type 2 diabetes
Before you fall pregnant
If you are thinking about having a baby, it’s important to plan and prepare for pregnancy before you start trying for a baby.
Timing your pregnancy is important. Contraception helps you to plan your pregnancy around your personal circumstances, general health and diabetes management.
No single method of contraception is perfect for everyone. Different methods suit different couples and there are many forms of contraception suitable for women with diabetes.
Only stop using contraception when you are ready to start trying for a baby. It’s possible to become pregnant as soon as you stop contraception.
Ask your GP, endocrinologist or obstetrician for help to choose the best contraception for you and your partner when planning your pregnancy. Seek advice on planning and preparing for pregnancy.
Women with diabetes can have a healthy baby, but there are a number of extra risks associated with having diabetes during pregnancy.
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.
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 chances of an early 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.
Make an appointment with your diabetes health professionals as soon as you start thinking about having a baby. If you are not sure who to contact or if you live in a rural area where there are limited services, ask your GP about the best options for managing your diabetes during pregnancy. This may include shared care between local services and a diabetes and pregnancy team in a major hospital. Services such as telehealth may be an option to link your local health professionals with specialist diabetes in pregnancy services.
If you find you are pregnant sooner than expected, organise an immediate appointment at your closest maternity hospital or contact your endocrinologist or credentialled diabetes educator. These health professionals will work with you to achieve the best outcome for you and your baby.