10 Pregnancy Tips for Type 1 Moms-to-be

WRITTEN BY: Brooklyn Powell

Being pregnant to start with is nerve wrecking … there are so many things I find myself worrying about (I’m sure they are the same things every other soon-to-be mom feels. But add on Type 1 diabetes and the stress can be on a whole new level. It’s inevitable, BUT it is also totally possible to have a successful, healthy, vibrant, glowing, awesome, feel-good and perfect pregnancy, despite the extra challenges that may rise! I PROMISE!

I am 27 weeks and in my third trimester. I feel great, my A1C has dropped in such a short amount of time and I am so anxious to meet our little boy who has been growing inside my body. These 10 tips have helped me stay fit, physically and mentally, through my pregnancy:

1. Learn from other women in the same boat

Get the book Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes by Cheryl Alkin (there were some parts I skipped over but it’s a good reference written by other women who you will totally be able to relate to). I also love the book Praying through Pregnancy by Jennifer Polimino.

2. Prepare and plan ahead

Focus on getting your A1C Down. If you can, treat the months leading up to your pregnancy as if you are already pregnant (most of your babies development will happen within the first 9 weeks, so this is so important because usually you don’t find out you are pregnant until well into those first few weeks). Test A LOT, this will inevitably make your A1C go down. It’s amazing how fast it can actually come down and nothing is more motivating than having your baby inside of you.

When I found out I was pregnant, my A1C was 7.1, my doctor (just a couple weeks before) gave me the okay to start trying … but little did I know it would happen so quickly. As soon as I found out, when I was around 6 weeks, I worked super hard to get that number down. I started testing every hour almost, and waking up in the middle of the night. Eventually I got on the Dexcom CGM (a serious game changer!) I think I owe a lot of my control to my CGM and I wish I could give a million hugs to the doctors who invented it. Maybe you don’t have a CGM, or even an insulin pump, but you can still have control; it might just take a little extra work.

3. Get a good support team

Find a good team of doctors or people you can turn to throughout the whole process before you get pregnant. You are your own advocate, and you know yourself best, but sometimes you just need someone who you can bounce ideas off with and who can give you input (whether you decide to take it or not). Ultimately, it’s up to you to keep your sugars under control — no doctor, health coach, or nutritionist is going to go home with you, but it helps having them there. Especially, when they notice your hard work and tell you that you’re doing great.

4. Give yourself grace

Take it day by day, and don’t beat yourself up when you have an off day. Give yourself grace when you need it, and make sure you have someone who can remind you daily that you are doing great throughout the whole process. Even when my doctors didn’t praise me for how hard I was working, my husband was there telling me that they were crazy and that I was doing so so so amazing! This helped me more than he knows.

5. Make a log

Record your blood sugars, what you eat, when you exercise, and your basels in a journal or on your phone. I don’t do this now that I have my sugars in tight control, but when I first started this helped me see trends, and I could make adjustments in between doctors appointments. Every few weeks I go back to keeping a log, just to make sure there isn’t something I am missing.

6. Stay hydrated

Drink lots of water — we should do this anyways, but during pregnancy its super important for so many things. Make a pitcher of ice water in the morning and add lemon, mint, cucumbers, berries … anything that makes you excited to drink water. You will feel so much better.

7. Get moving (even if it’s just go 20 minutes)

Before I got pregnant I exercised a lot, but I don’t think I worked out once in my first trimester because I was so tired. When the second trimester rolled around, I knew I needed to do something, because I knew it would make me feel better. Here is an example of one of my go to arm workouts (I usually do this two times, because it’s only five minutes):

Fit in 5: Sexy Arms and Sleek Shoulders Workout

It can be the simplest of exercises! Get outdoors. Move your body. Stretch. Do yoga. Meditate. Just find something that makes you feel good. Even the smallest thing is enough!

8. Trick of all tricks when eating carbs

When you are eating fruit, carbs, sugars … depending on what your blood sugar is when you start, put in your insulin 25 minutes to an hour (if you are starting out on the higher side) before you eat. This has helped me SO SO SO MUCH. Because your blood sugar range is so small during pregnancy (90-130), I usually put in a little extra to make sure I avoid going high, and if I see myself falling on my CGM, I will eat a small piece of fruit.

9. Be your own advocate

This is your health, your life, and your baby. This is motivation enough to fight for what you believe, but also to keep going when you feel like giving up.

10. Connect

There are so many cool ways to connect with other Type 1 diabetics, and if you can find any that are pregnant that’s even more awesome. I met a girl on Instagram and our due dates are a couple weeks apart. She is having a girl and lives on the other side of the United States. I am having a boy and have never met her in person, but we encourage each other and share things that have worked for us and things that haven’t. We are only “Insta friends,” but it has been so fun to go through this journey with her.

YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!! Take a deep breathe and remind yourself that you are strong and courageous. You will fight for your health, because one day you will be able to tell that little soul growing inside of you how hard you worked because you loved them before they were even born.

xoxo, Brooklyn

Read Brooklyn’s Wedding Bells and My Insulin Pump.

Having a community of women with Type 1 diabetes who understands the ups and downs of pregnancy is invaluable. Join the “Beyond the Bump” group for pregnant T1D women on the Beyond Type 1 app for additional support.

Brooklyn Powell

Brooklyn is 28 years old Californian graphic designer and has had T1 since she was 12 years old. She was diagnosed New Years Eve 2000 and was celebrating up in Big Bear when her dad realized he couldn't wait another day and needed to get her to the hospital. Her husband and she have been married for a little over a year and are getting ready to have their first baby this summer (August). She's obsessed with essential oils, has been practicing mediation and loves it, has a 120 pound Great Dane and a 6 pound Yorkie (she likes to think they are BFF's). She loves fruit, drinking her coffee in bed and sleeping in. She's passionate about showing others through social media, that living beyond T1 is totally possible.