Diabetes is one of the commonest diseases worldwide with over 190 million people battling diabetic conditions, according to the World Health Organization. One’s risk of suffering from diabetes increases with age, although currently, millions of young individuals suffer from the same.
In the case of childbearing women, the risk of diabetes may prevail either before pregnancy, result from pregnancy (Gestational diabetes), or get triggered by age (later in life). Either way, the escalating numbers of diabetic women can trigger various questions as to whether one can get pregnant with diabetes, produce a healthy baby regardless of being diabetic or live a normal life with the condition. Women hoping to become mothers or those struggling with infertility and diabetes at the same time, this information is vital.
What is Diabetes?
Commonly referred to as diabetes mellitus, diabetes is a condition where a person has high blood glucose, or what is also termed as blood sugar levels. The condition is associated with various metabolic diseases among which is when your body produces inadequate levels of insulin, or when the body’s cells fail to use the produced insulin as they ought to.
What You Need to Know About Diabetes?
There are generally three types of diabetes and they include;
Type 1 Diabetes– this is when your body fails to produce insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes- it is when the body fails to produce or use insulin properly. One can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood.
Gestational Diabetes– this develops in pregnant women.
Over 382 million people have diabetes worldwide.
Diabetes is a long-term condition that raises your blood sugar levels.
Both clinical and home-based treatments plus management approaches can help an individual control blood sugar levels, lead a normal life, and as well lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes & Infertility in Women- Can diabetes cause infertility?
In males, diabetes definitely causes infertility through triggering erectile dysfunction, reducing the ejaculation volume, and lowering male sex drive. When it comes to women, diabetes is also associated with a number of conditions that definitely lower a female’s fertility level thereby experiencing conception struggles.
Various conditions in childbearing women include;
Obesity or being underweight
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – an autoimmune disease
And lastly, mere having diabetic conditions can also trigger infertility.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are generally associated with menstrual irregularities and infertility. Diabetic females also have an increased risk of early menopause. Women in the reproductive period who suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes experience menstrual conditions known as oligomenorrhea or secondary amenorrhea.
This is used to describe irregular periods that occur at intervals of thirty-five days or more between each period.
This is when a woman stops having normal periods for six months or longer.
Studies have discovered that good glycemic control together with avoidance of diabetic issues, improves the above-mentioned conditions and also increases fertility rates. Women with prevailing menstrual irregularities must have an extensive assessment by looking at their hormone levels, the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian axis, a possibility of autoimmune thyroid illness, hyperandrogenism, and anti-ovarian autoantibodies.
In addition, it must be noted that the prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes in PCOS women is quite high which generally increases the risk of infertility.
Can a Type 1 Diabetic Woman Get Pregnant?
Generally, diabetic women can conceive in case the condition is effectively controlled and a healthy body weight maintained. Studies indicate that women with type 1 diabetes who choose to seek fertility advise before having a baby can easily get pregnant. In addition, studies also confirm that although there is no direct approach to curing diabetes, hundreds of individuals have managed to get rid of various diabetic conditions through an effective treatment plan and control measures.
Women struggling with infertility and still suffer from Type 1 diabetes or PCOS are commonly treated with Metformin, a drug that controls high blood sugar. A couple of management tips like exercising regularly, following a diabetic diet plan, controlling body weight, and a hormone therapy can help a woman get pregnant.
Premature Menopause in Type 1 Diabetic Women
Also known as premature ovarian failure, research indicates that Type 1 diabetes is associated with a greater risk of menstrual issues that include premature menopause, basically before the age of 40. Studies also move ahead to confirm that Type 2 diabetes is also associated with the same condition (premature menopause), where a woman suddenly stops releasing eggs from the ovaries.
Early menopause is further linked to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, and Addison’s disease.
Type 2 Diabetes & Infertility
Studies indicate that Type 2 diabetes mellitus women are generally postmenopausal females and the risk of obesity is very high. Also, fertility experts confirm an actual link between type 2 diabetes and infertility due to the common menstrual irregularities, PCOS illness triggered by hormonal imbalances, dyslipidemia, hyperinsulinemia, high blood pressure, and morbid obesity.
With all these conditions, a woman is definitely at a greater chance of encountering infertility troubles, which is surely complicated by age.
Gestational Diabetes in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women who are suddenly diagnosed with gestational diabetes can still have a healthy baby. Your doctor will provide an ideal treatment approach to manage the condition and also some effective tips. Usually, gestational diabetes disappears once your baby is born.
Gestational diabetes throughout maternity is commonly managed through;
Having excellent morning meals
Increase your intake of proteins
Exercising if possible
Is there any effect of Diabetes on the unborn baby?
Usually no, but in case poorly controlled, your baby may suffer from excessive glucose levels. Also, apart from posing a difficult time for the pregnant woman during and after delivery, your baby may also be born with extra weight.
Routine screening tests are recommended for every pregnant and although diabetes symptoms may seem similar to the common pregnancy conditions; urinating more frequently than normal, feeling more thirsty, and eating more, may prove that you have diabetes.