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March 8, 2002

Family Planning

Question from Magnolia, Kentucky, USA:

I am 27 years old, I have had type�1 diabetes for 25 years, and I want to plan a family, but I'm scared of complications, and I have had one previous miscarriage (unplanned pregnancy). I am very much out of control (with hemoglobin A1c levels mostly over 11%), and I have minor retinopathy which has been treated. Could you tell me if there is any way I can have a baby?


Yes, you can have a baby, but there are several things you need to do. First, you should see your endocrinologist about getting your blood sugar under control. The closer your blood glucose is to normal, the less the chances of the baby having developmental abnormalities (heart defect, spine defect, etc.). Your kidney function should also be evaluated, and, if you have problems with blood pressure, that should be brought under control. For the best chance at a good outcome, you need to make sure that you are in the best health possible before you even get pregnant. If and when you conceive, you should be taken care of by doctors who specialize in high risk pregnancies.


[Editor’s comment: See The Diabetes Monitor:Family Planning for young women with diabetes.