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Charlotte’s story: “A Freestyle Libre in my second pregnancy relieved lots of anxiety.”



Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17

“On the scans, Elliot measured big like Spencer. But I could see from all the data on my Libre that I was trying my best with my blood sugar levels.”

Charlotte, who has type 1 diabetes has two boys, aged 7 and 4. She had two very different experiences of pregnancy.

Life with diabetes

Getting pregnant

With my first pregnancy, I came off contraception thinking it would take a while to get pregnant and I had time to plan. But I fell pregnant straight away. And the enormity of the situation hit home and what it all meant. I was terrified I’d already made a big mistake and something was going to go wrong with the baby. And I was quite tough on myself. 

The second pregnancy felt lovely and controlled and I went to the pre-conception clinic. Once I reached the target HbA1c I got the go ahead to try to get pregnant. And it happened quickly. I was offered the support of a midwife specialising in mental health and my midwife specialised in type 1 diabetes and knew all about insulin pumps. I felt like there were lots of people who could help me and I wasn’t on my own. 

How pregnancy affected my blood sugar levels

I wasn’t expecting there to be such huge changes in my blood sugars during pregnancy. The same things I’d been eating before I was pregnant now spiked them. And in my first pregnancy, food became my entire focus. You feel you’re doing something wrong. And there’s a bit of shame. 

Even if my blood sugar levels were slightly higher, it felt like the end of the world. You need someone to say: “You’re trying your absolute best – this is really difficult.”

I’m usually very active but I stopped all exercise because I was worried about hypos. I couldn’t tell if my symptoms were an actual hypo or anxiety – as they feel the same to me. It was very difficult as I drive to work and had to drive for work as a newly-qualified dietitian with the NHS. I’d tried a Freestyle Libre before but couldn’t justify the cost during my first pregnancy as I was paying for a wedding, saving up for a house and starting my first job. But I ended up putting one on the credit card in the last few weeks.


Getting the Freestyle Libre

When I had my second child, I was able to have the Freestyle Libre funded on the NHS from the start of the pregnancy and I was so much more relaxed. I had also moved to part-time working. 


The Libre relieved lots of my anxiety. I still worried a little about hypos and doing exercise, but it was nowhere near as bad as the worry in my first pregnancy. And I stayed active. I knew if I did a quick scan of my Libre, I would see my sugar level and see I might just need to eat something. 

I’d have pregnancy appointments every two weeks. If everything was OK, I’d speak to my diabetes nurse over the phone. She could view all the information from my Freestyle Libre and insulin pump. So I didn’t always have to go for a face-to-face chat which is amazing as I had a two-year-old. 

I’d say “I don’t know what to do here” – referring to something on my sugar readings. And my diabetes nurse would say, “We just need to do this’ – and suggest an adjustment to the basal insulin settings on my pump. It was a gamer changer. 

On the scans, Elliot measured big. But when my first son Spencer was born, he was the biggest, longest, tallest kid and still is. So I thought, “he’s just going to be another big lad’. And I was much less worried. I could see from all the data on my Libre that I was trying my best with my blood sugar levels and pretty much in my target range. I had that extra reassurance. It gave me the full picture.

For my second pregnancy, I opted for a planned C-section at just before 38 weeks. It was a lovely experience. It was calm, there was music on and people who understood my diabetes. I hadn’t wanted to go through a natural delivery in order to potentially end up with an emergency C-section as I had with my first pregnancy. 

I’d love to have had the experience of being pregnant with a hybrid closed loop system. I’ve been using one for a few months and it’s really reduced my hypos because the pump automatically adjusts the insulin.

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