Include physical activity in your daily routine

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes treatment plan. During your preconception appointment, get your doctor's OK to exercise. Then choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or stationary biking. What's most important is making physical activity part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity — based on Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. If you haven't been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually.

Remember that physical activity affects blood sugar. Check your blood sugar level before and after any activity, especially if you take insulin. You might need to eat a snack before exercising to help prevent low blood sugar. If you're using an insulin pump, you might need to adjust the basal rate for exercise.

Know what's off-limits

When you're preparing for pregnancy, don't:

  • Skip doses of insulin or other medications
  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Use illegal drugs

It's also important to keep stress under control. Too much stress can interfere with your blood sugar level and make it harder to take good care of yourself — and your baby.

Patience pays off

Preparing for pregnancy might take a number of months and multiple visits to your health care provider. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends maintaining good blood sugar control for three to six months before attempting to conceive. Your health care provider might want you to reach a specific hemoglobin A1C level — a reflection of your blood sugar level for the past two to three months — before pregnancy.

Until your health care provider gives you the green light for pregnancy, remember to use a reliable method of birth control. A healthier pregnancy is worth the wait.

Dec. 16, 2011 See more In-depth