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Young women with diabetes

Menstrual cycle

As a young woman living with diabetes, you may find that the hormonal changes that come with your periods can make it more challenging to manage your blood glucose levels. You may notice that your blood glucose levels are higher or that you are more prone to hypos at different times in your cycle.

This is a good time to talk to your diabetes health care team about the changes you are experiencing and also talk about any concerns you have about your periods and how may affect your diabetes.

Contraception, pregnancy and diabetes

If you’re a young woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are some things you need to know about contraception, pregnancy and diabetes, even if having a baby is the last thing on your mind!

If you are having sex, you need to use reliable contraception

If you are thinking about having sex or are already sexually active, this is a good time to talk to your diabetes team or GP about pregnancy, contraception and diabetes.

Using reliable contraception is important until you are ready to start planning a pregnancy. There are a number of contraceptive choices available to women with diabetes. Unprotected sexual contact puts you at risk of an unplanned pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

Discuss contraception options with your diabetes health professionals or GP—you may have to try a few different methods before you find the one that’s right for you.

Thrush

If you are a woman and have diabetes you are more prone to developing thrush—an infection with a fungus that can occur in warm, moist areas like the vagina, groin or mouth. As embarrassing and uncomfortable as it can be, it is easily treated and occurs quite often in the general population. For more information about thrush visit the MyDr or healthdirect website. If you think you might have thrush, be sure to visit your doctor.

Planning ahead for pregnancy is really important

There are a number of extra risks during pregnancy for women with diabetes. It’s best that you become pregnant at a time when your blood glucose levels are well managed and there are no other health problems.

If your HbA1c is higher than recommended when you become pregnant and in the early stages of pregnancy, this can cause health problems in the developing baby and increase the risk of miscarriage. To reduce these risks, it’s important to keep blood glucose levels in the target range recommended by your diabetes health care team.

There are some other things you need to do before you start trying for a baby. These include:

  • having screening for diabetes-related complications
  • taking vitamin supplements recommended for pregnancy
  • getting your current medications reviewed by your doctor
  • and having routine blood tests.

Before you start trying for a baby, find a team of health professionals to help you with planning and managing your pregnancy. This team may include your endocrinologist, diabetes educator, obstetrician, dietitian, nurse practitioner and GP.

Women with diabetes can have a healthy baby

Most women with diabetes will have a healthy baby. Diabetes does bring with it some additional risks during pregnancy but looking after yourself and your diabetes strengthens your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.