Type 1 Diabetes & Pregnancy

Photo: Getty Images

If you have Type 1 Diabetes this picture accurately describes your day to day life. If you’re pregnant and have Type 1 Diabetes you feel like this describes every minute of every day! My biggest piece of advice for anyone that is pregnant with Type 1: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE!!!! You need a big team of people cheering you on and helping you through the ups and downs, because the changes your body is going through will make the roller coaster ride even more wild.

I am so grateful for my wonderful husband that I’ve already bragged on before, but he was a rock for me by constantly reminding me to take my prenatal vitamins, drink enough water, and telling me how loved and capable I was. Not only that, he came to all my appointments with me, which doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but I can’t remember if I mentioned that we live in a small town in southeastern Utah. Therefore, we don’t have any endocrinologists in town and drive about two hours to see one. As a high risk pregnancy, my endocrinologist referred me to an OB also in Salt Lake, which meant we got to drive the two hours to each appointment and two hours back. So let’s just say, my husband deserves a gold star for being such a trooper in all of this.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I had so many emotions…excitement, joy, happiness, extreme gratitude, and to be brutally honest, fear. This was a whole new territory of uncharted waters and I was terrified. I immediately called my endocrinologist, but was told that she was moving to a different hospital (even further than the two hours we already had to drive from our house to see her), and so I was referred to her PA. Thankfully, her PA turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Did you know…if you have hyperthyroidism and you get pregnant, your baby is taking all of your thyroid hormone from you, so you need to take at least 30% more of your medication the minute you find out that baby is growing inside of you? Well, if you didn’t you are not alone. I didn’t know either, and my thyroid levels were supposed to be under 2.0 and I was at a 10.0, which made me even more tired and sick than I already was just from the pregnancy alone! YIKES! Well, thankfully, after seeing the PA, she let me know that very important piece of information and that made me feel like I wasn’t completely crazy for feeling so terrible in the first 10 weeks of my pregnancy.

I also was so thankful for the switch in doctors because she got me on a pump (I use the Omnipod Dash) and she gave me the freedom to change my basal rate and ratios daily if necessary. She advised that I set my range to 70-130 (this is important during pregnancy and I have found that even post pregnancy, I like trying to keep my sugars in this range) and make tiny adjustments when I started seeing my blood sugars go up for more than 24 hours. I had never had a doctor empower me like this. Before, I would always wait the three months before making adjustments to my insulin doses and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. Also, no one knows your body better than you, so.logically, I should have been making these small adjustments all along instead of just waiting for my doctor to tell me when it had already been months of high blood sugars!

Finally, during my second and third trimester, my new endocrinologist checked in with a biweekly phone call and looked at my Dexcom info just to make sure that I was doing okay. Now that is what I call quality care, am I right? I am truly indebted to her and will forever be thanking God that the other doctor decided to move and I ended up in her care.

Along with my new endocrinologist, my OB was also an amazing part of my team. His daughter has Type 1 and so he knew exactly what I needed to grow and deliver a healthy baby. Two other people on my team that actually don’t even know they helped me all nine months of my pregnancy were Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith CDE who wrote: Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Blood Sugar Management. This book was a goldmine and helped me through each month of my pregnancy with all of their tips and advice. Additionally, all of my family and friends praying for and checking in on me were a huge reason I had a successful pregnancy, and of course we can’t forget the big man upstairs that orchestrated all of this to begin with and gave me the peace and strength I needed to live OTR/T1 while pregnant!

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