When a woman decides that she wants to have a baby, it can be a very exciting time. However, for a woman who is diabetic, be it Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, having a child can present certain challenges that other women don’t have to consider. Diabetes can cause problems with fertility that need to be treated early so that a woman can best preserve her ability to have a family.
Infertility is classified as the inability to become pregnant after trying to conceive for 12 months. About 10% of the population is believed to have infertility problems. The good news is that there are many medical tests and interventions these days that can assist a man or a woman who is having trouble conceiving. They key is finding the underlying cause of the infertility so that it can be treated medically or even naturally.
A lot of times, infertility can be treated naturally through changes in diet and exercise. For a woman with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, there can be extra complications that come along with infertility. Of course, men can also experience issues with fertility caused by diabetes as well.
Insulin is a hormone, so when someone experiences a condition called insulin resistance they are suffering from a hormone imbalance. When a hormone is out of balance, it can trigger other hormones to go out of balance. This includes hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Side effects can happen such as ovarian cysts and even erectile dysfunction. These kinds of cases can often be treated by making healthier lifestyle choices such as more exercise, less refined carbohydrates and reduced sugar intake. Once the hormone imbalance is corrected, many couples get pregnant without an issue.
More and more women are being diagnosed with issues like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which causes ovarian cysts and sometimes even facial hair growth because of the hormone imbalance caused by insulin resistance. This kind of disorder often leads to obesity and later, Type 2 diabetes.
For women who are already diabetic but want to become pregnant, it is important to control blood sugar early on. The doctor needs to monitor a woman’s insulin, HbA1c and hemoglobin levels. Weight can also be a factor, so some doctors may advise a woman to lose weight before attempting to conceive. Most physicians will also recommend that a woman maintain a healthy eating plan and moderate exercise both before and during pregnancy.