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Pregnancy With Diabetes: Ali’s Story

pregnancy-type 1 diabetes-type 2 diabetes
pregnancy-type 1 diabetes-type 2 diabetes

How one woman’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis at age 33 affected her journey through fertility and pregnancy — and how she handled it all.

On November 29, 2017, I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 33. My initial diagnosis was type 2 diabetes, but after multiple blood work tests and seeing an endocrinologist, I was ultimately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was immediately put on insulin and given a strict regime of checking my blood glucose. At this point, my goal was just to get my numbers down and figure out life after a diagnosis of this magnitude.

At diagnosis, my A1C was 11.9%, and I think my blood sugar was around 477 mg/dL. I shared with my endocrinologist that my husband and I dreamed of starting a family, and I questioned what this meant as far as my odds of getting pregnant. She educated me that I should wait until my A1C was below 7% to have a healthy pregnancy and that diabetes wouldn’t stop me from getting pregnant, it’s just something that I would need to manage closely during the pregnancy.

This was a relief to me being newly diagnosed; I hadn’t done the research to know if this type of diagnosis would affect my fertility. In the next few months, I kept my blood sugars in the range my endocrinologist and I had set. I limited my carbohydrate intake, injected short- and long-term insulin, corrected when my numbers ran high after meals, and continued educating myself on my disease. In April, my A1C was down to 5.3% and my average glucose was at 105 mg/dL. My hard work had paid off, and I was feeling better than ever. This now meant my husband and I could go forward with our plans to try and have a baby.

A full-time job

For some reason, though, I became apprehensive and unsure. I felt like I was just getting a handle of my disease and throwing a baby into the mix seemed overwhelming and scary. So, we held off. The months went by, my A1C went back up to 6.3%, but I kept feeling stronger and more confident as a person with diabetes. When the summer came to an end, we decided to start seriously trying to conceive. After a month of trying, we found out I was pregnant. The first thing my OB said to me during my 8-week appointment was, “Do you work?” “Yes,” I replied. “Well, I‘m just going to let you know that being a type 1 diabetic and pregnant is a full-time job. We want you to keep your blood glucose in a very tight range.” My initial retort was having type 1 diabetes alone is a full-time job. I got this. I went on an insulin pump, Omnipod, to keep better management of my numbers. I also wear a Libre continuous glucose monitor. Since I’m now a fully functioning robot, I feel like I can keep an even closer eye on my blood sugar numbers.

Pregnancy has definitely changed my insulin tolerance. I am noticing I need to take higher doses of insulin to manage my numbers from spiking after meals. At the end of the day, I am doing the best I can. I have a great team of doctors educating and supporting me and my needs, and a team of diabetes educators who review my numbers weekly. No, my numbers are not always in the range that my doctor and I have set during pregnancy, but I try to correct them as fast as I can. I remember that my body is capable of amazing things. I truly feel lucky to be able to write this and hopefully give my fellow DiabetesSisters hope that a healthy pregnancy is something of which we are all capable.

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