When To Get Pregnant

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and have been a T1D for 18 years. I am writing because after seeing a new gynecologist a couple of weeks ago, I am concerned about type one diabetes and pregnancy. In all honesty, I haven’t thought about it until now, and probably wouldn’t have unless she hadn’t brought it up to me. Unfortunately, she was not a good physician and I will not be seeing her again because she basically told me that I should be getting pregnant now because she has a lot of diabetic patients in their 30’s that are having a really difficult time getting/staying pregnant. I was astonished by her bluntness since I am not married, engaged, or even emotionally and financially ready to have a child. It wouldn’t be for another 4-5 years until I am even ready to think about getting pregnant. With that being said, I would like to hear from women who got pregnant with their first child in their 30’s and about their pregnancies; whether they be good or bad, I just want honesty. I am a nurse so I understand that I am a high-risk case, but I would like to hear personal experiences from real diabetics and real mothers, not just the word of a rude physician. I appreciate your time and look forward to your responses. Thank you in advance! -Christine

I am currently 34 years old with type 1 and this is my first pregnancy. I am about 6 months along with no problems so far. It is perfectly reasonable to get pregnant in your 30’s as long as you have good control. Don’t stress, and you have time.

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My daughter was born one day before my 35th birthday. She is now 23 and is still beautiful and healthy. I had an amazing staff of doctors who were very, very blunt, kind and committed. My A1c HAD to be below 8, which it was upon conception and during the pregnancy. But they were very vocal, there were no options…a healthy baby and your survival. The pregnancy was perfect without any problems. However, (and all Type 1’s are different), I was unable to have any more children. I wish we had started earlier. The other issue was the roller coaster ride of regaining control of really low blood sugars after she was born. Keep in mind, 23 years ago it was syringes and 4 different types of insulin. I wish you all the best.

My endocrinologist said something similar to me. But I was 38 when my third child was born, and she was so healthy that I took her home from the hospital about 30 hours after she was born. They induced labor at 38 weeks so she would not grow too large.

I was 25 when my first child was born, and he was the only one with problems, due to being premature. But that was nothing to do with my diabetes. And my first two children were born before the use of glucose meters. So I only had urine tests to gauge my blood sugars. (For those not familiar with urine tests, they measure glucose that spills into the urine when the blood sugar rises above 160-180. There were no tests for low sugars, so I actually passed out from a low sugar right after lunch during my second pregnancy. But none of that is a concern now!!

So my advice is to have children on your own timetable!

I had 2 healthy pregnancies with good outcomes at age 34 and 38. My boys are 19 and 23. Age isnt as important as good glycemic control. Your instincts are correct about your doctor.

I had mine at 30 and 32. No problems during the pregnancy, with the exception of one super low blood sugar that could have happened anytime. It was scary, as I blacked out, but EMS was called and there were no lingering side effects to me or my baby. As others have said, glucose control is the main concern. My A1cs were in the low 6s during both preganancies. Just find the best perinatalogist you can, and he/she will follow you closely throughout the pregnancy. You only need your OB to deliver the baby! :wink:

Hi Christine! I got pregnant when I was 29, and honestly I was very worried at first - I grew up with Type 1 in the 80s & was always told by different doctors that if I had a baby it would have all kinds of deformities. I think at that time we only had limited methods of testing blood sugars & no insulin pumps, so of course the risks were higher. My only real issue with any doctors during the pregnancy was with the high-risk specialist - he would make comments like “all you diabetics are the same!” when I told him I didn’t eat snacks in the morning. Other than that, my experience was pretty good overall. The baby was larger than normal (11 lbs even) because although I tried my best to keep my glucose levels low, the excess sugar went right to her & made her grow faster. We had always planned to have a c-section anyway, so that wasn’t too much of an issue except that I’m on the short side so having a giant baby made it hard to get around for a few months. It took me a while to heal fully from the c-section, but I don’t know if that’s just me or if it had anything to do with the diabetes. One small issue that came up was that my daughter had low blood sugar when she was born (again, just from my extra sugar going into her system) but that worked itself out within the first day or two. I’m sure everyone’s experiences will be a little different, but overall I think if you can find a good doctor & you try your best to keep on top of your glucose levels, you should do fine!

Thank you so much, @lagosti1, that is great to hear! I am so glad that you’re pregnancy is going well. Congratulations!

@Lena_H Thank you so much for your response! It is nice to hear that you had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. And I can impinge the doctors being tough. Honestly, that is what I would need in my doctor, someone who is gonna set me straight and tell me how it is. Thank you again!

Thanks, @ksannie for your advice, it makes me feel much better! I wouldn’t be surprised if they had me deliver early as well. That seems to be the norm now with diabetic mothers. I appreciate your response and am happy to hear that you had healthy pregnancies!

Thank you @lisabw26! Yeah I could tell right away once she started asking about when I was planning on getting pregnant where the conversation was going. I am a well-controlled diabetic and agree that good control plays a larger role than my age. Thank you!

Thanks so much @Cat4d! Finding the right doctor and having good glycemic control will be my biggest concerns. I am glad to hear that other than a severe low, you had no other issues during your pregnancy. Thanks again!

Thank you for your response @Sweetpea! I am hoping that with today’s technology I can have the best glycemic control possible. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a larger than average baby either, it seems to be very common with diabetic mothers even if glycemic control is good. I have also seen/heard a lot about newborns that have difficulty regulating their sugars after birth, but they seem to “grow out” of it rather quickly. I appreciate your response and your honesty!

Thank you all so much for your responses. They have truly made me feel so much better about getting pregnant when I feel it is the best time for me. I have been worrying about this for some time, and as I said being a nurse I understand there are risks, but hearing from actual diabetic mothers about their experiences has made a world of difference. Thank you all again, it is so nice to have your support!

You should yelp that bad doctor. Good for you for advocating for yourself! There are better doctors out there. I hope the next one is good. If you are in a metropolitan area it’s fairly easy to find a good endocrinologist, but not so if you live in a rural area. Good luck!

I had my first at 28, second at 32, and third a month ago at 36–with the third I thought I was going to die. I hemorrhaged all 3 times, but there was a huge difference from age 32 to 36. Would not have a baby after 36 due to my inability to “bounce back.” This has been the toughest month of my life. And I don’t have T1D—my 3 year old does—so I cannot imagine managing that and pregnancy after 36. Not for me girls. I am not strong enough—uterus out of business!!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!
I’ve had type 1 for over three decades. Two children, first at age 28 (14 yrs w diabetes), second at 36 (22 yrs w diabetes).
I have also experienced miscarriages, and subsequent fertility troubles, in the years before each of my children. (MD found some other auto immune conditions)
Started using a pump after miscarriage #1.
established very tight glucose control (A1C under 5). Bedrest for much of pg, not specifically related to diabetes. Extremely long labor after an induction. very rough delivery…ended up C/S. Baby #1 (just shy of 7#) had hypoglycemia, heart murmur but both resolved quickly. I recovered relatively well from that C/S, up walking around same day with very little pain. Breastfeeding was very difficult, but eventually worked well after a number of weeks. Baby #2 almost a decade later. Good control, but not as tight (6’s A1C). Bigger baby 8.5 # but healthy. Born via scheduled C/S. Very calm/peaceful delivery but recovery was definitely not as easy! Breastfed without any issues though.
I’m sure the moms (type one) out there may feel similarly–managing sugars is key…both preconceptionally and during pg-- but wow, can that be difficult and stressful to do!
You’ll have a good idea when you are ready… and will hopefully be able to find a competent and understanding health care provider to assist you in having the most healthy pregnancy/baby, possible!
Best wishes to you!!

Good Morning,
My endocrinologist suggested that I go in for a preconception appointment so that I would know what to expect. I was told that I needed to have steady sugars, a good A1C etc… With my first (who is now 22!) I was in the high risk clinic and was seen by excellent doctors at The University of Michigan. My pregnancy was normal although I developed preeclampsia in month 7 but not due to my diabetes. I was 32 when I was pregnant with my second, saw a high risk doctor rather than being in the high risk clinic and had a completely normal pregnancy and delivery. Find an endocrinologist who is knowledgeable and an OB/GYN that specializes in high risk pregnancies. Best of luck to you!

I had my son when I was 36 and at the time had Type 1 for 16 years (this was over 30 years ago). I also had preeclampsia and needed an emergency C section. My baby was absolutely perfect. I was the one who was ill. Recovery took a while for me. I was seen at the high-risk clinic at the University of Michigan and received excellent care. In 2018 there are so many more tools available for managing blood glucose (insulin pumps, CGMs, et). I would urge you to visit a high risk clinic attached to a university and private doctors who specialize in mothers who have Type 1 diabetes. One doctor I spoke with simply said I have a number of patients with sugar problems! Also, find out if there is neonatal intensive care unit in the hospital where you will deliver. I wanted to be in the same hospital as my baby if there was any problem. Having a partner who is supportive is also very helpful.
Good luck!

Hey All! Find a JDRF YLC committee near you! It is the Young Leadership Committee and they are in most major US cities. I have been a part of the YLC in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Let me know if I can connect you to one. They are awesome and hold various happy hours and fundraising events. All are welcome of all ages. Type one and friends of type ones. :slight_smile: We have a number of members who have been pregnant or are currently.