Check this: a checklist for managing diabetes during pregnancy

Pregnant mom with glucometer

Managing type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be challenging, especially during pregnancy. It requires a balance of nutrition, exercise and medications (if prescribed) and it can require additional lifestyle changes. While your team of health care providers will offer sufficient support throughout your pregnancy, there are things you can do on your own to help manage the condition and keep glucose levels in check.

The reality is, if mismanaged or untreated, type 1 or type 2 diabetes can put your pregnancy—you and baby—at greater risk of short and long term complications. While this is important to know, it's equally important to hear this: there are ways you can help prevent complications. In fact, if treated properly, problems during pregnancy or after the birth of your child are much less likely or may not happen at all.

Use this checklist of things you can do to help ensure a healthy, happy outcome while managing type 1 or type 2 diabetes throughout pregnancy.

  • Check your blood sugar daily
    Routine monitoring is the best way to keep an eye on your glucose level. You should check yours as often as your provider recommends it.
  • Check again
    If your glucose level is above your target, test again. If it's still high, contact your provider.
  • Don't forget your A1C level
    Talk to your provider to see how often you should monitor this level as well.
  • Develop a plan
    Your provider will help you set goals during pregnancy.

Healthy blood glucose levels during pregnancy

After fasting for 8 hours at or below 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L)

One hour after a meal at or below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L)

Two hours after a meal at or below 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L)

A1C level less than 6%

  • Look out for hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
    Remember to watch for symptoms of your blood sugar levels getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
  • Take your meds
    Discuss medication needs with your provider and if prescribed medications like insulin, be sure to take them as prescribed. Remember to keep your medications handy and well-stocked so you don't run out.
  • Maintain a healthy diet
    If you need help creating or maintaining a healthy diet, you should schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian—and always follow any dietary restrictions given by your provider.
  • Keep moving
    Our rule of thumb? At least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you start a new regimen, check with your doctor to make sure your medication dosages are still right for you.
  • Maintain a "mom" lifestyle of healthy choices
    Do not drink alcohol or use tobacco and do your best to manage stress. Talk to your provider if you need help.
  • Take care of yourself
    General health and hygiene goes a long way the next nine months. Make sure to see an eye doctor, visit the dentist and schedule a visit with a foot doctor, too. If you can, maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.
  • Share your plan
    Your diabetes management plan is important. That's why it's good to share it with people in your support system.
  • Monitor your blood pressure
    Be sure to use your blood pressure cuff and talk to your doctor about the risks of preeclampsia or eclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Check your urine
    You can check yours for ketones when you're sick or as recommended by your provider
  • Carry a card
    Keep a medical alert card, as well as your Priority Health member ID card handy in case of emergency
  • Don't miss an appointment
    Pre- and postnatal visits are crucial and you should never cancel or miss one if you can.

Understanding gestational diabetes

During pregnancy, the body can sometimes struggle to properly use insulin. This causes gestational diabetes. While this form of diabetes tends to go away after delivery, you may be at risk for developing it again in later pregnancies, along with type 2 diabetes. That's why it's important to be proactive after your diagnosis, whether it means following a healthier diet or checking your glucose levels consistently.

Get an in-depth look at gestational diabetes management through pregnancy.

What to do between now and your next doctor's appointment?

  1. Bring any questions you might have to your next pre-natal appointment.
  2. Download the Ovia app on your smartphone or tablet. It's available on the App Store and Google Play.
    Ovia helps you stay one step ahead during your pregnancy with nutrition and fitness trackers, baby growth monitors and personalized alerts. A healthier pregnancy leads to a happier life for you and your little one.
  3. If you currently manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes, remember that you can monitor your blood sugar levels with a One Touch glucometer, which is 100% covered by your Priority Health plan.*

*Test strip coverage varies by plan; be sure to check your plan benefits to see your options.

More "must-reads" for mom