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June 15, 2001

Family Planning

Question from Garland, Texas, USA:

I am 22 years old, have had type 2 diabetes since age 17, and became pregnant twice unaware of the side effects of taking Glucophage while pregnant. This is the only medication I have ever been on and it has always worked effectively until I became pregnant. I informed my doctor the possibly of my being pregnant who said he would have to refer me to an obstetrician. Four weeks later, before the doctor could fit in an appointment I miscarried and was sent to the emergency room for a D and C. No one told me that Glucophage was not supposed to be taken during conception or while pregnant. So, three months later I became pregnant again. I found an obstetrician on my own as soon as possible and started insulin. Three weeks later, I miscarried again. So far I have had two miscarriages both while taking Glucophage during conception and no more than seven weeks into pregnancy. Every time, I miscarry between 9 and 12 weeks. I am so determined for this to never happen again. Both my husband and I have diabetes, and we are ready to try for a third time to have a child, but with the experience of knowing that I must get on insulin before conception and have excellent blood sugars. During my pregnancies, my blood sugars became so out of control insulin, exercise, nothing would bring them down during my first few weeks on the insulin. Just about the time my blood sugars were normal, I miscarried. What advice do you have for young women like me who have type 2 diabetes and want to start a family? Is uncontrolled diabetes during the first few weeks of my pregnancies a reason for my miscarriages or is it the Glucophage?


There are many possible causes of pregnancy loss. It is doubtful that the Glucophage [metformin] is contributing significantly, but diabetes and poor glucose control could be a factor. I would suggest that you consider starting insulin prior to trying to conceive. If you have another loss, then consultation with a specialist is indicated to look for a possible cause.


[Editor’s comment: Sounds to me like you need a referral to a diabetes specialist, now, to do some planning for the next pregnancy. See Planning a pregnancy , at the Diabetes Monitor, for some additional thoughts.