Diabetes can be a challenging condition to live with. Being a healthy person with diabetes means that you have to make careful choices. Diabetes hinders a body’s ability to process and metabolize sugars. Diabetics need to watch their sugar levels and insulin levels very carefully. Often, people with diabetes need to test their blood sugar levels once or more per day in order to know whether they are metabolizing sugar properly. If the blood sugar level is too high, the person needs a shot of insulin; if the sugar level is too low, the person needs some carbohydrates.
In general, the best diet for people living with diabetes is one that is low in carbohydrates, since the body has difficulty processing them, and high in protein and fat, since they take much longer to digest and also help digest the sugars in carbs. Eating regularly, helps maintain stable blood sugars, as does regular light exercise. A large part of healthy living as a diabetic involves proactive health choices.
There are many things that a diabetic cannot do like a person without diabetes can. Fortunately, conceiving and carrying a child does not fall into that category. A woman with diabetes can likely conceive just as easily as a woman without diabetes, as long as she takes precautions and talks to her doctor before trying to conceive.
A woman with Type 1 diabetes will likely need to modify her insulin routine. She will likely not be able to go without insulin, and it would be unsafe for her to do so, but after she becomes pregnant her insulin needs will likely increase and she will need to monitor her blood sugar levels even more closely.
Type 2 diabetics may try to go off insulin through careful diet and exercise in order to improve chances of conception.
A man with diabetes will also need to control his blood sugar levels as well, in order to maintain healthy sperm levels and motility, and to avoid genetic abnormalities. It is important to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol if a person is diabetic.
There are risks of uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy as well. If a woman’s blood sugar levels are not well managed, there are risks to the baby and the new mom. One of the main risks is pre-eclampsia: high blood pressure and a high risk of preterm labor or stress on the baby. Preterm labor carries with it a host of other risks such as a NICU stay for baby, underdeveloped heart or lungs, and challenges with breastfeeding.
Women with uncontrolled diabetes also risk having a very large baby, again risking preterm labor or C-section delivery if the doctors feel that the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally. Variable blood sugar levels may prevent the baby from getting adequate nutrition from the mother’s blood through the placenta.
So, on the whole, diabetes should not interfere with a woman or man living a normal, healthy life and being able to conceive and raise children, as long as the person is aware of the risks and appropriate precautions to take.