Checking for complications of diabetes before pregnancy

Checking for complications of diabetes before pregnancy

Eye checks

Everyone who has diabetes is offered eye screening every year. Your care team should advise you that screening is important before and during pregnancy, especially if you already have problems with your eyes related to diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). At your first visit to talk about planning pregnancy, you should be offered an appointment for eye screening if you have not had this in the last 6 months. You should then have eye screening every year if there are no problems. You should wait until eye checks and any treatment are complete before trying to improve your blood glucose control.

Kidney tests

People with diabetes are at higher risk of having kidney problems (called diabetic nephropathy), so your care team should offer you tests to check that your kidneys are working properly before you stop using contraception. Depending on the results, you may be referred to a kidney specialist.

Questions you might like to ask your diabetes care team before trying for a baby

  • What problems might there be if my blood glucose control isn't good before pregnancy?

  • What are my target blood glucose levels? How can I achieve these safely?

  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make before I get pregnant that would reduce the risks for me and my baby?

  • What support can I get to help me lose weight?

  • How might pregnancy affect my diabetes and long‑term risk of complications?

  • How might pregnancy affect my medication?

  • Are the insulins I'm on safe to use during pregnancy?

  • Might I have to change my insulin?

  • When and why should I test my blood ketones?

  • Is my baby likely to have diabetes?

  • What should I do if I get pregnant but haven't talked to my diabetes care team beforehand?

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