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November 11, 2000

Family Planning

Question from Asheboro, North Carolina, USA:

I am 29 years old, just found out that I am pregnant, and I have type�1 diabetes. This pregnancy was not planned, and I am worried about the effects this will have on me and my unborn child. I have two other children, but did not have diabetes when I was pregnant with them. I just need some advice for someone in my situation.


At this point it is important to get your blood sugar under good control (fasting 80-90 mg/dl [4.4 to 5 mmol/L], one hour after meals less than 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L]). These are ideal values, but not always consistently achievable. So do your best.

Your obstetrical care should be provided by a physician or team that has experience with pregnancy and diabetes. You will have several ultrasound examinations of the baby looking for any abnormalities, particularly of the heart and spine. By maintaining good glucose control over the course of the pregnancy, you will reduce the risk of excessive fetal growth as well as maintain your own health. In addition, your doctors should test your kidney function and also have you see an eye specialist if you have not had a recent retinal examination.

Lots of mothers with diabetes become pregnant. With proper care you and your baby should do well.