Women with type 1 diabetes who are vigilant about family planning are more likely to have better health outcomes, according to new research.
A new American study also highlighted that women who received earlier preconception counselling were healthier than those who had unplanned pregnancies.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh evaluated 102 women with type 1 diabetes, who had an average age of 23.7 years.
All the women completed questionnaires on family planning behaviours, diabetes management and clinical and reproductive health outcomes.
Those who participated in a preconception counselling intervention trial as adolescents were compared with women who did not participate in an intervention.
Women who were vigilant about family planning – this comprised being contraceptive vigilant, receiving preconception counselling and initiating discussions with health care professionals – experienced lower rates of diabetic ketoacidosis and less hospitalisations.
Compared to women who were not vigilant, those who used contraception and considered family planning were also found to use more effective contraception methods.
“For women with diabetes, vigilance must include pregnancy planning behaviour (receiving [preconception counselling] and preconception care) and initiation of discussion with health care professionals, along with the use of effective family planning behaviour (frequency and level of contraceptive effectiveness),” said the study authors.
“Further analyses are warranted to determine the association between [family planning vigilance] and pregnancy outcomes and the most effective delivery of [preconception counselling] to enhance [family planning vigilance] in women with diabetes.”
The researchers say their findings support earlier preconception counselling intervention among women with type 1 diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes and have any concerns regarding family planning and getting pregnant, you should consult your GP or healthcare professional.
This study was published in the online journal Diabetes Care.

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