Diabetes doesn't cause infertility but poor blood sugar control makes everything difficult during a pregnancy. If diabetes is a part of your life, whether it is diabetes type 1 or type 2, there is plenty you can do to improve your chances of healthy conception and prepare your body for pregnancy. As a matter of fact, diabetes might be one of the greatest examples that a couple can make a huge difference when getting ready for pregnancy.
First of all, every woman with diabetes must understand that having diabetes means higher risk of having a baby with congenital condition or even losing a baby diabetic mothers are more likely to miscarry and are at higher risk of pre-eclampsia later in pregnancy. It is not known exactly why they are at higher risk of miscarriage: scientists suggest the main reason could be in glucose levels since they fluctuate a lot and are constantly outside the normal range.
Women with diabetes who are trying to conceive should be counseled before they are pregnant about the need to optimize metabolic control. This way they can minimize the risks of spontaneous abortion and birth defects associated with poor metabolic control.
Later is the exact reason special heart monitoring should be offered to pregnant diabetic women. Additionally, women with diabetes may have large babies as a result of high maternal blood sugar levels, for this reason caesarean sections are frequently performed. Pregnancy increases chances of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and ketones in urine. Some women are also exposed to higher risk of skin, urinary tract and vaginal infections. However, if pregnancy is controlled and blood sugars are kept close to normal, most of these negative effects can be completely reduced.
Diabetes makes it harder for both women and men
Study, conducted by British scientists, and published in European leading reproductive health journal Human Reproduction, links DNA damage in sperm to diabetes, which suggests diabetic men are less fertile (not infertile). The results of the study showed that semen volume was lower in diabetic men, but the sperm concentration, its form, structure and motility was not different compared to the sperm of non-diabetics. This is study opens a door to fertility and reproductive health research in connection with diabetes: it shows a probability of diabetes being linked to increased levels of sperm DNA damage. This is a small study will less than 100 participants, nevertheless it has highlighted a possible concern and has pointed scientists to the way for further research. Population-based cohort study in Sweden also proved women with type 1 diabetes do have reduced fertility, but the research also suggested that among women with uncomplicated disease normalization has occurred. As already mentioned, stricter metabolic control should be exercised to avoid further complications during pregnancy. Woman with diabetes must never forget that although the risk of congenital malformations in pregnancy has decreased in last 20 years, the risk is still higher than that for the general population.
Couples with diabetes have to follow carefully controlled diet and (probably) they will need a personalized diet plan. It is extremely important that they see diabetes specialist before they start trying to conceive. Only with careful planning and doctor s support there is so much a couple can do to lower risks mentioned above, and most of all to increase the chances of healthy and happy pregnancy.