Whatever type of diabetes a parent has, it’s good to remember that having a higher risk of either type of diabetes does not guarantee that a person will get it. Research is ongoing to uncover the roots of diabetes, and prospective parents with Type 1 diabetes may want to consider helping with that research by participating in Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet as they consider expanding their family. Information about this collaborative effort to study, treat, and prevent Type 1 diabetes can be found online at www.diabetestrialnet.org/ or by calling (800) 425-8361.
Stacking the odds in your favor
Studies confirm that women with optimal diabetes care prior to pregnancy have a much lower incidence of having babies with birth defects than those who do not. However, almost two-thirds of pregnancies in women with diabetes are unplanned. In some cases, women whose blood glucose levels are not in optimal control have irregular menstrual cycles, which may lead them to believe they won’t get pregnant. However, this is an unreliable way to prevent pregnancy. If you are not ready to become pregnant, make sure you are using a reliable method of contraception. Having diabetes does not rule out any particular contraceptive methods, but it is nonetheless important that you talk to your physician about selecting a method that is safe and effective for you.
Bringing a child into the world is a big responsibility, so it’s important to consider whether you’re ready before you do. The time you take to get your diabetes into the best control possible is also a good time to consider whether you’re emotionally and financially — as well as physically — ready.
Don’t leave your health and your future up to chance. Take control, and visualize a plan that keeps everyone in your life (including any potential children) in the best possible health.