Something I regret as a person with diabetes is that when I fell pregnant, I didn’t seek out resources or support. Whilst keeping the pamphlet about diabetes and pregnancy did give me clinical evidence of what to expect, I didn’t actively seek out resources that shared the lived experiences of other women with diabetes during pregnancy. And I am happy to say I was a complete idiot not to seek these out! Hearing of the experiences of others can be much more effective than hearing from healthcare professionals (Edwards et al, 2016); this means it is vital for women to be able to know where to access this information.
So, here’s my attempt at making a list of helpful resources that I WISH I knew about when I fell pregnant:
- Ginger Viera’s book, “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Blood Sugar Management”. Oh my goodness, I WISH I read this when I was pregnant! Not only does it give extensive information on what to expect each month, but the book is written by two people with diabetes who are experts in the field of diabetes management (they are both healthcare professionals), and who have gone through successful pregnancies with diabetes! I only wish there was a Kindle edition of the book so I can have it on my iPad and show more academic staff on-the-go this amazing resource! The book can be purchased via Amazon.
- Six Until Me’s diabetes and pregnancy blog. Kerri’s blog was the most in-depth blog about diabetes and pregnancy that I found (unfortunately after I gave birth), and she shares her experiences with infertility (something that is not often discussed in diabetes resources and should be so much more often). Kerry has some amazing guests on her blog who also have diabetes (including Ginger from the recommendation above). Her style of writing is genuine, honest and easy to read (posts are a great length for those sleep-deprived nights during pregnancy where, instead of googling questions, you could read one of these posts instead showcasing lived experiences) 🙂
- Renza @ Diabetogenic’s pregnancy diary. Renza Scibilia is a champion in the field of diabetes advocacy in Australia. If there is something related to diabetes and consumer engagement, you will likely find this incredible woman at the frontline of it all. Renza is a huge advocate of sharing the experiences of people with diabetes with healthcare professionals in making informed decisions in relation to healthcare policies and practices (including the incredible Language Matters campaign). Renza’s pregnancy diary shows week-by-week her journey with how pregnancy and diabetes (and diabetes and pregnancy) impacted each other, and also goes into detail of the emotions experienced during the journey. I was so anxious about whether my diabetes (of over 23 years) would impact my pregnancy journey and felt so much guilt. Had I read Renza’s diary during my pregnancy, I would have received a lot of reassurance!
- Online peer support groups! I kick myself for not joining a diabetes and pregnancy peer support mother’s group on Facebook sooner…instead, I waited until 3 days after my son was born to seek out such a valuable resource. As someone who never went to mother’s group, I consider this group my “village” and a more accessible knowledge and empowerment-filled mother’s group equivalent.
- Podcasts! Okay, I’m a little biased when I refer to this resource, because I’m incredibly lucky to co-host MamaBetes – an Australian podcast made by women with diabetes, for women with diabetes. Our podcast covers pregnancy, birth and motherhood and our priority is sharing the experiences of other women with diabetes – to show other women that you are not alone!
If there’s any great resources I’ve missed for women with diabetes, please let me know in the comments below!
Edwards, H., et al. “The pregnancy journey for women with Type 1 Diabetes – a qualitative model from contemplation to motherhood.” Practical Diabetes 33(6): 194-199.