Nutrition · Parenting · Pregnancy

What I need to know if I’m diabetic & planning to have a baby

Blue glucose monitor with testing strip on top of calendar.

During prenatal class, one of my moms shared her story of being diabetic and how this affected her ability to get pregnant.  She expressed that if only she had known about the effects of her diabetes, maybe she would’ve had an easier time getting pregnant.  Although it’s true that diabetes can affect your fertility, knowing the risks may prevent problems.

Basically, there are two types of diabetes.  In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin while in Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin properly.  With both conditions, blood sugar levels are too high and the imbalance of insulin throws off the balance of other hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Making healthier lifestyle choices and controlling blood sugar before pregnancy may help improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

How can diabetes affect fertility?

  • Nerve damage causing narrowing of blood vessels leading to erectile dysfunction
  • Lower amount of sperm and quality
  • Lower testosterone levels resulting in low sex drive
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can develop. This is a condition where cysts grow on the ovaries of diabetics leading to high testosterone levels.  As a result, there may be irregular or absent periods.
  • Early menopause before the age of 40
  • Pregnancies can be prevented from being carried to full term resulting in miscarriages

If you are diabetic, planning a pregnancy doesn’t have to be risky.

Tips to keep your sperm/eggs healthy:

  • Be sure to see your health care provider for a full check-up
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Make wise and healthy food choices that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • If you are a person who may get pregnant, take a multivitamin with 0.4 mg folic acid
  • Stay active aiming for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity & maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress. Too much stress can interfere with your blood sugar level and make it harder to take good care of yourself — and your baby

If you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant and have questions or concerns about your diabetes, eChat with a nurse/dietitian or call (416) 338-7600.

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