Diabetes complications screening
Before falling pregnant it is important to be checked for any diabetes related complications in your kidneys, eyes and nerves.
You will need to have your kidneys and eyes checked during your pregnancy as well.
Your doctor will ask you to have a urine test to check the amount of protein/albumin passing through your kidneys. You will also have a blood test to check the function of your kidneys.
If there are any problems, you may need to see a kidney specialist before falling pregnant and you will need to be monitored carefully during your pregnancy (especially in relation to your blood pressure). Even minor kidney problems (such as slightly increased levels of protein in the urine) can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Make an appointment to see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) to have the back of your eyes checked. Make sure they know you have diabetes. If you have damage to the small blood vessels at the back of the eye (diabetic retinopathy), this needs to be stable before you fall pregnant. Ask your eye specialist if you need any treatment before pregnancy.
Your podiatrist, diabetes educator or doctor can test for nerve damage in your feet (peripheral neuropathy), using simple physical examinations such as a tuning fork or a ‘monofilament’ that measures pressure sensation.
You may be advised to have an assessment of your cardiac risk before you fall pregnant. This will depend on your risk factors and any history of heart disease.
If you have advanced diabetes complications, it is important to discuss the risks of pregnancy with your doctor before planning to fall pregnant, as pregnancy does put additional stress on your body.