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Diabetes and Recurrent miscarriages

Discussion in 'Newly Diagnosed' started by Saharii, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Saharii

    Saharii Type 2 · Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I have had two early pregnancy losses during 2016. 6 months ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (12mmol/L). I changed my diet to low carb and started exercising regularly and the repeat reading a month later was 9.5mmol/L (I didn't even know it's possible to bring down the levels within a month). I was put on metformin and got pregnant again (both at the same time) but had another early miscarriage. That's when I was offered all recurrent miscarriage tests. However the results showed that everything is in normal range - apart of HbA1c. Now following my low carb diet + exercise and with the help of metformin my level is down to 6.5mmol/L. At times I am finding it really hard to follow the diet but obviously have no other option as I do not want to risk another pregnancy loss (or any other effects of diabetes for that matter). But I was a bit surprised how sugar alone can be the cause of three pregnancy losses! As I have no other health issues (neither my husband) and I have been tested for literally everything that is related to recurrent miscarriages.

    I am wondering if anyone else had a pregnancy loss due to untreated dieabetes?

    Also, as the last few months I have been following my diet religiously I am wondering if I have to live like that for the rest of my life? Or does it mean that because this diet brought down my blood sugar levels I can go back to a slightly high carb diet once the levels are steady?
    It's not easy, before I could enjoy a birthday cake or sweets (and I looove sweets) but now obviously I can't. I wonder how everyone else is coping as newly diagnosed, do. you occasionally have a treat or stick to your diet? Do you cut out all or most whole grain foods as well?

    I would appreciate any input.
    • Hug Hug x 1
  2. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi and welcome. I will tag @daisy1 for you who will swing by and give you lots of very useful information.

    Please accept my deepest sympathies on your losses, as I have had four miscarriages I know how you feel. All of my miscarriages were before diabetes and all were unexplained. I now have three extra large sons and three grandchildren so there is hope, hang on in there.

    As for your diet, whole grains are just carbs and should be avoided along with rice, pasta and anything made with flour so cakes, pies etc. There are fruit that are very high in sugar though berries are good mixed with cream or greek yoghurt.
    Do you have a meter to measure your blood glucose? If not, it's a good idea to get one and test before a meal and one to two hours after a meal then you can guage which foods spike your levels or not.
    You can get carb counting apps and books to show you what your food is likely to do to your levels. Most members also keep a food diary along with bg numbers to refer back to and show your progress.

    As for sweeties and cakes etc in my personal opinion you should avoid those until you have your numbers under control but having said that the odd small treat has been known to pass my lips.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Guru
    Staff Member Retired Moderator

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    Hello Saharii and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope you will find it helps you. Ask questions when you like and someone will help. I wish you luck for the future.


    Diabetes is the general term to describe people who have blood that is sweeter than normal. A number of different types of diabetes exist.

    A diagnosis of diabetes tends to be a big shock for most of us. It’s far from the end of the world though and on this forum you'll find well over 250,000 people who are demonstrating this.

    On the forum we have found that with the number of new people being diagnosed with diabetes each day, sometimes the NHS is not being able to give all the advice it would perhaps like to deliver - particularly with regards to people with type 2 diabetes.

    The role of carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are a factor in diabetes because they ultimately break down into sugar (glucose) within our blood. We then need enough insulin to either convert the blood sugar into energy for our body, or to store the blood sugar as body fat.

    If the amount of carbohydrate we take in is more than our body’s own (or injected) insulin can cope with, then our blood sugar will rise.

    The bad news

    Research indicates that raised blood sugar levels over a period of years can lead to organ damage, commonly referred to as diabetic complications.

    The good news

    People on the forum here have shown that there is plenty of opportunity to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. It’s a daily task but it’s within our reach and it’s well worth the effort.

    Controlling your carbs

    The info below is primarily aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, however, it may also be of benefit for other types of diabetes as well.

    There are two approaches to controlling your carbs:
    • Reduce your carbohydrate intake
    • Choose ‘better’ carbohydrates
    Reduce your carbohydrates

    A large number of people on this forum have chosen to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat as they have found this to be an effective way of improving (lowering) their blood sugar levels.

    The carbohydrates which tend to have the most pronounced effect on blood sugar levels tend to be starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and similar root vegetables, flour based products (pastry, cakes, biscuits, battered food etc) and certain fruits.

    Choosing better carbohydrates

    The low glycaemic index diet is often favoured by healthcare professionals but some people with diabetes find that low GI does not help their blood sugar enough and may wish to cut out these foods altogether.

    Read more on carbohydrates and diabetes.

    Over 145,000 people have taken part in the Low Carb Program - a free 10 week structured education course that is helping people lose weight and reduce medication dependency by explaining the science behind carbs, insulin and GI.

    Eating what works for you

    Different people respond differently to different types of food. What works for one person may not work so well for another. The best way to see which foods are working for you is to test your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

    To be able to see what effect a particular type of food or meal has on your blood sugar is to do a test before the meal and then test after the meal. A test 2 hours after the meal gives a good idea of how your body has reacted to the meal.

    The blood sugar ranges recommended by NICE are as follows:

    Blood glucose ranges for type 2 diabetes
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 8.5 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (adults)
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 9 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (children)
    • Before meals: 4 to 8 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 10 mmol/l
    However, those that are able to, may wish to keep blood sugar levels below the NICE after meal targets.

    Access to blood glucose test strips

    The NICE guidelines suggest that people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be offered:

    • structured education to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review
    • self-monitoring of plasma glucose to a person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes only as an integral part of his or her self-management education

    Therefore both structured education and self-monitoring of blood glucose should be offered to people with type 2 diabetes. Read more on getting access to blood glucose testing supplies.

    You may also be interested to read questions to ask at a diabetic clinic.

    Note: This post has been edited from Sue/Ken's post to include up to date information.

    Take part in Diabetes.co.uk digital education programs and improve your understanding. They're all free.
    • Low Carb Program - it's made front-page news of the New Scientist and The Times. Developed with 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes; 96% of people who take part recommend it... find out why
    • Hypo Program - improve your understanding of hypos. There's a version for people with diabetes, parents/guardians of children with type 1, children with type 1 diabetes, teachers and HCPs.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Saharii

    Saharii Type 2 · Newbie

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    Thank you both for your replies. Guzzler I am sorry for your losses but happy to hear the happy ending. We are trying for our first child and I am really hoping next time I am able to keep the pregnancy! I don't have a meter yet but am most likely to get one, just need to read a bit more which one to get. I was never advised by the gp to get one and here on the forum I was reading about diabetic nurses - I need to ask the gp for a consultation with a diabetic nurse.

    Thanks so much daisy1! So much info :)

    I am wondering one thing though: I have a colleague who is newly diagnosed as well - and the strange thing is that when she was put on metformin (high dose) she didn't change her diet at all (including pastries, cakes, carbs etc) and still managed to get her levels down after three months only with metformin! I wonder how that is possible - her initial level was even higher than mine. Does it mean some people can keep their normal diet with metformin and still bring their HBA1C down?
  5. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Saharii sorry to hear about your diagnosis and your losses. The simple answer is yes, it's very possible that your miscarriages are attributable to undiagnosed diabetes. High blood sugar can cause miscarriage. Ladies with diabetes are advised to have a hba1c under 6.5% before trying to conceive and then have very tight blood sugar targets during pregnancy (because high blood sugar can cause foetal abnormalities and complications in a pregnancy).

    The more complicated answer is about 1 in 6 known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and it's not uncommon for the cause to be unknown. There's not even really any significant investigation into cause until there has been multiple miscarriage. 3 unsuccessful pregnancies is less common, and that's the reason you've been referred for all the tests and you should get increased monitoring for any future pregnancy.

    Hopefully the diabetes diagnosis has found the reason for you and you are well on the way to controlling your diabetes.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately if you stick to a low carb diet for any length of time your tastes will change and things which are regarded as treats now will become nauseatingly sweet. Strange things will taste sweet - peas and beetroot for instance. I can eat a cooking apple and find the flavour superior to a dessert apple when fully ripe.
    Metformin, if you can take it reduces appetite, so although the results are very varied, for some people it is a useful medication.
    I have always had to eat low carb as that was the only way to control my weight.
    Not controlling your blood glucose will have consequences which are truly unpleasant and which are life changing if not life threatening, so being able to control things just by eating a low carb diet is, for me, the better option. I have four grandchildren I want to see growing up and be able to drive over to visit them.
  7. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod · Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Saharii - I'm so sorry you've had such a difficult time trying to start your family.

    In terms of your other questions about diet and whether "this it it forever"? I think when you have a meter, you will actually be able to have some immediate and self-specific feedback from your way of life. That's what will really inform you, over time, whether this is it, or whether you will be able to shuffle things around over time.

    For me, my meter was a hugely important investment in my health, and it returned dividends in my case.

    Good luck with it all, and stick around. On here there's always someone around when the going gets tough and to help you to celebrate your wins; whether with better blood sugars, or anything else really. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  8. luceeloo

    luceeloo Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear about your losses, and I'm also fully aware of how weak "sorry" sounds.
    I can relate, and I can't offer any advice on that front, because I have had multiple pregnancies and have never managed to carry to term.

    As far as diet is concerned, in most cases we do have to remain vigilant even when blood sugars remain relatively controlled. That said, some people have an easier time at controlling their blood sugars than others. This can be due to loads of different variables - weight, insulin sensitivity, and pancreas function to name but a few.
    I know that I was advised to keep my blood sugar as normal as possible, and be extremely strict when trying to conceive. We also need larger doses of folic acid than in normal pregnancies.
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