Diabetes prior to pregnancy

Most women with diabetes will have healthy babies.

However, you are more at risk of certain complications developing during your pregnancy if your diabetes is poorly managed.

By planning ahead and getting support from your GP and diabetes team, you can reduce the risks involved. This also means that you’re more likely to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.

Your doctor or nurse will prescribe you a high-dose of folic acid (5mg) to take as soon as you decide you want to get pregnant. You should be taking folic acid 5mgs each day at least 12 weeks before you conceive as this also reduces the risks to your baby. You’ll then need to keep taking this until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Pregnancy can make some diabetes complications worse, such as eye and kidney problems. So it’s really important to have eye screening and tests for your kidneys before you stop using contraception and try to get pregnant. Eye problems due to diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) can be treated if caught early, so screening is important.

Your diabetes team can arrange this, and they’ll talk to you about the results. In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist team for extra support.

See the checklist for a healthy pregnancy from Diabetes UK.