Pregnancy and retinopathy

After being diabetic for 20+ years I started to have some retinopathy issues. The retinopathy started a little over two years ago. I have had multiple laser treatments, injections and also had a vitrectomy in my right eye. It has been over a year since the vitrectomy and I have not had any issues since then. I also got on the Tslim pump and dexcom last year. Back in February my husband and I found out we are expecting our first child (yay!) Unfortunately I am worried about what this may do to my already sensitive eyes. I had a visit with my eye Dr today and he said everything is looking really good but he did decide to laser a tiny blood vessel that was looking a little suspicious so we would not have to worry about bleeds (I place fillings in a dental office and its very inconvenient if I cant see). I am very active and my Dr was always very specific about what kind of exercises I could and couldn’t do due to the effect they could have on my eyes (absolutely no push ups, be extra careful with sit-ups and crunches, no heavy weights, ect.) so I really was expecting him to recommend me having a C-section due to any pushing. He shocked me today and said it is totally up to me whether I want to have the baby naturally or opt for C-section instead. I know the #1 thing to watch out for are high BG readings but my A1C is currently 4.8 so im not too worried about that part… I am terrified to have my baby and not be able to see properly afterward. I know I cant be the only one who has gone through this and I was curious if anyone on this forum could give me some insight on giving birth with retinopathy. :slightly_smiling_face:

I do have retinopathy, several laser treatments and surgeries in both eyes, but have not given birth. Th last 20 years my eyes have been stable. But I was warned to avoid constipation, heavy lifting, etc since strain could lead to new bleeds. So I am surprise there is no worry about birthing. Which doctor said that? Do you have high risk OB/GYN/Materity specialist ?

@ashleyx1356 - While I’ve never given birth, I too had retinopathy in both eyes 24 years ago. I lost total vision with bleeds and had vitrectomies as well as extensive laser treatments on both eyes.

Since then I’ve not had any vision problems, and there was an extensive period of time when I was extremely hypertensive (180/100, even on multiple medications).

No bleeds since 1996, and vision is fine except for age-related degradation.

It was my ophthalmologist who said the decision was up to me. Maternal fetal medicine told me to ask him what he thought when he looked at my eyes. He is very against any straining, heavy lifting, ect. so thats why I was so shocked when he told me it was my decision. Him and I have a very good dr/patient relationship and he is usually very honest and specific with me but also knows I am on top of educating myself and voicing my concerns. Because of that I believe he doesn’t want to make the decision for me and he believes I will make the right one.

Thats great news! Two years ago I started with just one eye and it was bearable but then last year around this time I had bleeds in both eyes which is the worst thing to deal with. So glad that is behind me which is why I really dont want pregnancy to send me in the wrong direction!

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It’s a huge worry when you lose vision in both eyes simultaneously. I was fortunate to catch it immediately and have a surgeon who was the best in his field. I’ve not had a single bleed or any indication of proliferation since 1996.

All the best with your pregnancy @ashleyx1356 !

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Congratulations on the pregnancy and the great BG control, @ashleyx1356 !

I have no personal experience with this dilemma, but I believe Kerry Sparling, a well-known T1D blogger at sixuntilme, experienced similar issues that she wrote about. The blog is no longer updated but maybe you can search in the archives and maybe even reach out to her personally.

Best of luck!

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Congrats on your pregnancy!

I have no experience with retinopathy, but I had c-section with my first, and am planning to have another this August with my second. I just wanted to say, if you are concerned about having a vaginal birth, c-section is really not that bad. It was my first surgery ever and first hospitalization but the recovery from the surgery wasn’t as bad as I thought it’ll be. After the surgery I was able to manage my pain with Advil and Tylenol, no narcotics. Getting out of bed was difficult at first, but using a belly binder helped. If anything, edema in my legs bothered me more than my incision, which took weeks to go away.

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Ok I’m not having any babies just because of the risk.