Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on May 15, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Pregnancy can be a challenging experience as you experience morning sickness, swollen ankles, and more. It can be especially challenging if you have type 1 diabetes, which comes with an increased risk of health complications for you and your unborn baby. Here, you'll learn what complications are associated with type 1 diabetes during pregnancy, steps you can take, and more, so read on.
HbA1c testing is important before and during pregnancy if you have type 1 diabetes. Easily check your A1c levels from the comfort of home with our at-home HbA1c test.
Maybe you’ve heard that conceiving with type 1 diabetes can be risky for you and your baby, but you might not know why.
Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy complications relate to the way your body changes when you’re carrying a baby. To support your pregnancy and help your baby grow in the womb, the placenta develops. Its goal is to send water and nutrients to the baby. It also makes hormones to help sustain the pregnancy.
In early pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can increase insulin secretion and decrease glucose production. This leads to relatively low blood sugar levels. Then, as the pregnancy progresses, these hormones can cause insulin resistance. If your body does not have enough insulin, it could have serious consequences on your and your baby’s health. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about what medications can raise blood sugar levels so your provider can recommend safe prescription options for you during your pregnancy.
You have an increased risk of experiencing these health complications during early pregnancy if you have type 1 diabetes:
Your baby is also at risk of having the following health problems:
Fortunately, it’s often possible for diabetic mothers to avoid complications like these and have a healthy pregnancy (and baby) by working closely with their diabetes care team.
Before you conceive and during your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider and diabetes care team to learn what tests you’ll need for monitoring and other recommendations. (For example, your provider may recommend changing certain medications or their dosages to help with managing diabetes during pregnancy.)
It’s recommended that women with type 1 diabetes who are planning a pregnancy get HbA1c levels checked prior to conception. In general, HbA1c levels should be below 7% (without hypoglycemia) before the pregnancy, as this can help reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. Additionally, HbA1c levels may need to be tested regularly throughout the pregnancy. (You can use the Everlywell at-home HbA1c Test to check your levels from the comfort of home.)
It’s also recommended to check your blood glucose level often during the pregnancy so you can have a clear picture of what’s happening in your body and make changes (to your diet, physical activity levels, or medications, for example), based on the recommendations of your provider.
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6. Diabetes - Diagnosis and Treatment. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 15, 2020.
7. The A1C Test & Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Accessed May 15, 2020.