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Pre-pregnancy planning for women with diabetes

For World Diabetes Day (14 November 2017) our diabetes and endocrinology consultant, Nilu Hewapathirana, is urging women who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and are considering having a baby to contact their GP or diabetes team before they consider conceiving.

Dr Hewapathirana said: “The management of diabetes before, during and after pregnancy is key to ensuring safe and healthy pregnancies for women with diabetes.

“It’s vital that if you have diabetes and intend to get pregnant, or think you already are, that you speak to either your GP or hospital diabetes team as soon as possible.

“Many women who have diabetes have perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies. However, it requires a lot of planning and dedication. Naturally women with diabetes may have difficulty conceiving and without pre-pregnancy planning, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can result in significantly higher risks and complications for mother and infant, which is why we’re raising awareness about this issue.”

On 14 November 2017 a group of diabetes nurses from WSFT will be manning a stand at the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds from 9.00am. They will be able to answer any diabetes-related questions that the public may have, and will have information available about women’s diabetes health and pregnancy.

Mandy Hunt, diabetic specialist nurse at WSFT, explained: “We are really excited to be meeting members of the public and urge women in particular, who have any questions about diabetes and pregnancy, to come and see us for a friendly chat.

“As a woman, even if you are not affected by Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes currently, approximately one in seven births are affected by gestational diabetes (GDM), which can, without proper management, be a threat to maternal and child health.”

GDM is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but is more common in the second half. Women with GDM experience pregnancy-related complications such as high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labour.

Hunt continued: “A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop Type 2 diabetes, so it’s important that any woman who wants to conceive takes steps to reduce the risk of developing GDM as much as possible, for example, managing their weight, eating healthily and keeping active.”

For more information, please contact the West Suffolk Hospital diabetes team on 01284 713311.


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Nilu Hewapathirana, diabetes and endocrinology consultant

Nilu Hewapathirana, diabetes and endocrinology consultant