Diabetes care during pregnancy

Learn how to keep your diabetes management on track while you are pregnant

Diabetes can add stress to pregnancy—whether you have already been living with it or have developed gestational diabetes. With help from your healthcare team, you can learn to properly inject insulin to keep your, and your baby's, health on track.

Prenatal care

Whether you were already living with diabetes or have developed gestational diabetes, you must stick close to your blood sugar target for the health of you and your baby.

While you are pregnant, you need to check your blood sugar often, as pregnancy can hide the symptoms of hypoglycemia. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to change your insulin treatment plan because your body's insulin needs increase when you are pregnant. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may need to change your oral medications to ones that are safe to take during pregnancy.

Work with your healthcare team, including specialists in both diabetes care and obstetrics to put together a plan for a healthy pregnancy with diabetes.1

Learn more on prenatal care from Diabetes Canada.

Injections while pregnant

As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to change your injection technique. This is because as the baby grows and the skin on your belly becomes tighter, the subcutaneous (SC) tissue layer under your skin becomes thinner.

Diabetes experts offer the following helpful tips:

  • When you get an ultrasound, your healthcare team can look at your SC tissue and suggest the safest areas for you to inject.
  • Shorter needles (4-or 5-mm) should be used to decrease the potential for IM injection.
  • The abdomen is the preferred area of injection for pregnant women. The thigh may be used as an alternate injection area.
  • Avoid injecting within 2 to 3 cm of the belly button (umbilicus), or areas on the abdomen where the skin is taut.
  • During the third trimester, when the skin is taut over the central abdomen, the lateral sides of the abdomen are the recommended areas for injection.3

These tips are general guidance, so always check with your healthcare team about what is best for you during your pregnancy.

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Notes

* Always read and follow the label.

References
  1. Diabetes Canada. Pregnancy & diabetes. Diabetes Canada Web site. http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/pregnancy-diabetes. Accessed May 30, 2017.
  2. Diabetes Canada. Living with gestational diabetes. Diabetes Canada Web Site. http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/living-with-gestational-diabetes. Accessed May 30, 2017.
  3. Berard L, Desrochers F, Hagerty D, MacNeill G, Roscoe R. FIT Forum for Injection Technique Canada: Recommendations for best practice in injection technique (3rd edition). http://www.fit4diabetes.com/files/2314/8777/6632/FIT_Recommendations_3rd_Edition_2017.pdf. Accessed May 30, 2017.