Scared to get pregnant

I’m 27 years old, I’ve been diabetic for 26 years now, and I’ve been married for five years… My husband is dying to have children, and I guess secretly I am too. The truth is, I’m terrified about the idea of being a pregnant diabetic, and I’m even more terrified that my baby will eventually become diabetic. I’m a third generation diabetic… this damn disease has not skipped a generation yet. Whenever my mom talks about having to inject me at 15 months old, she cries. I don’t know what to do. Is there any current research about the likelihood that my children will have the big D? The idea of it being “hit or miss” will not work for me!

Cara, I think I know a little of where you are coming from.

I have diabetes on both sides of my family tree. But everyone else’s diabetes is of the ‘diagnosed late in life-Type 2-diet/exercise/pills-early death’ variety. I was dx at age 38, non-autoimmune Type 1. I am the only diabetic in the family on insulin. I’m also the only diabetic on both sides of the family with non-diabetic blood sugars.

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant as well.

Yes, being a pregnant diabetic is hard work. But it can be done and I know it will be so worth it in the end. Women with uncontrolled diabetes have a much higher risk of things going wrong in their pregnancy. But if the diabetes is well-controlled, the risk is the same as any non-diabetic woman.

If you are thinking of getting pregnant, you need to check in with your diabetes team. I believe you need good blood sugars (A1C under 6.5) for at least six months before conceiving. It is a goal to work towards slowly and at 27, you have the luxury of time which is something I don’t have! You also need to be on an industrial-sized dose of folic acid (12.5 times the normal dose) which will need to be prescribed for you.

As for the fear that your baby will become diabetic, let’s put it into context. First of all, Type 1 (the classic autoimmune variety) is actually less genetic than Type 2. There are lots of Type 1 parents with non-diabetic children. Also lots of Type 1s are the only Type 1s in their entire family. There is risk in everything in life. Your baby could have an autoimmune attack, sure. But your baby could also be the victim of a terrorist attack, be knocked down by a bus, or be attacked by a python in the garden.

Plus the advantage of already having a long-term T1 in the family is that you know the routine and would be better prepared to deal with it.

You know, I kinda wonder if my own parents had these same thoughts before I was born. I don’t know if at that time they knew there was diabetes on both sides of the family, because people tend not to talk about such things. If they did know, did they also have similar worries about me? After all, I ended up being struck with the family curse, albeit in a slightly different flavour to everybody else’s. I’m glad they decided to take the risk nevertheless.

When I was trying to get pregnant I was told that the additional chance of my child becoming a type 1 diabetic like me was only 4%.

Please don’t let your fear stop you from doing this. I was also terrified, and I waited to long to take aggressive action and things didn’t work out for me. I really hope your story turns out better than mine did.

Good luck!