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February 20, 2005

Complications, Pregnancy

Question from Houston, Pennsylvania, USA:

I have been a type 1 diabetic for 18 years. I had recently developed hypothyroidism and mild retinopathy about six months after my son was born. I wanted to try to get pregnant again and have been talking to my doctors. My retinal doctor said that the retinopathy shouldn't be a problem and, if I wanted to get pregnant, this would be the time. Also, my endocrinologist feels the same way. I just had a full blood and urine work-up done and will get the results tomorrow. This will be my definite okay from my endocrinologist. I just wanted to know that if I would get pregnant, would this be entirely TOO HIGH risk, knowing I am high risk to begin with? I am frightened a bit and want to get as much information and advice I can possibly find.

Answer:

Your thyroid condition can be managed easily with hormone replacement. If your retinopathy is stable and your blood glucose remains in good control, then a future pregnancy is a reasonable decision. I am encouraging all women who are considering pregnancy to supplement their folic acid intake up to 5 mg/day. This would have to be done with a prescription from your doctor. The reason is that babies of mothers with diabetes are at increased risk for spina bifida. Extra folic acid can reduce this risk.

OWJ