Statistically, the level of risk for a woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and for the baby is largely determined by the health of the woman just before conception and within the first 11 weeks of pregnancy.

Women with diabetes are typically not discouraged from having a baby unless they have experienced eye complications, damage to their kidneys or have heart disease. Good blood sugar control is crucial within the first five to 11 weeks as the baby’s organs are beginning to develop. If the mother’s blood sugar level is high during this time period, the baby’s spinal cord and heart could be affected. There are various tests offered to women at 16 weeks and at 20 weeks to determine the risk for spina bifida, Down’s Syndrome and heart deformities.

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, do some planning. Talk to your endocrinologist or diabetes educator a few months in advance so that the birth of your child will be as wonderful as it should be.