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Risks Are Manageable in Pregnancy with Diabetes

Florence Brown, M.D. of Joslin Diabetes Center

Dr. Florence Brown

Friday, July 09, 2010

“I can count on one hand the number of women I have told not to get pregnant,” said Tamara Takoudes, M.D. “You just have to monitor your pregnancy every step of the way.” Drs. Takoudes and Florence Brown, M.D., co-directors of the Pregnancy and Diabetes Program at Joslin and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, joined Joslin exercise physiologist Jacqueline Shahar and author Cheryl Alkon for a panel discussion at Isis Parenting in Brookline, Mass. in late June.

Putting to rest the myth that getting pregnant with diabetes is necessarily unsafe, the discussion covered everything from becoming as healthy as possible before conceiving with diabetes, to managing glucose levels during pregnancy, to breast-feeding and postpartum weight gain.

Alkon, the author of Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby, talked about her personal experience going through pregnancy with diabetes. “I didn’t know what was normal and what to expect,” she said. “Both Dr. Brown and Dr. Takoudes helped me get through it, and were very supportive.”

Shahar emphasized the importance of getting the proper amount of physical activity during and after a pregnancy. “Keep yourself active, but avoid intense exercise,” she advised. The benefits of proper exercise include injury prevention, improved body image, and control over excessive weight gain.

Dr. Brown emphasized the importance of planning a pregnancy in order to achieve good diabetes control before pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects that may occur before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. She discussed how to reduce the risk of macrosomia (overweight baby) by maintaining good diabetes control and avoiding excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy.

Dr. Brown is co-author, with Suzanne Ghiloni, R.N., of Joslin’s upcoming Staying Healthy with Diabetes – Planning & Managing Your Pregnancy. This book is designed for women with preexisting diabetes who want to plan for a baby, who already are pregnant and are looking for information on pregnancy and diabetes management, or who have developed gestational diabetes.

Dr. Florence Brown of Joslin Diabetes Center

Page last updated: July 23, 2014