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Nicola's story: Pregnancy and type 2 diabetes

"I definitely received more care than other pregnant woman. But you have more anxiety. You feel like you’ve done something wrong and you wonder how your baby is."

Nicola says having type 2 diabetes completely changed the pregnancy treatment plan she was expecting. She shares her experience ahead of taking part in the Glasgow Wellness Walk


Pregnancy care after diagnosis

A year or so before pregnancy, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was feeling very tired and I thought perhaps I had vitamin D deficiency and had blood tests. For a while initially, I was diagnosed with prediabetes.

My grandparents on both sides of my family had type 1 diabetes. I think that’s partially why my mum, who was a midwife retrained as a diabetes nurse.  

When I found out I was pregnant and went for the appointment to chat with the midwife at about seven weeks, the minute I said I had diabetes, she said ‘you won’t see me’. And I heard straight away ‘high risk’. And that I was going to be under consultant care at the hospital rather than community care.  

It was quite daunting as I only associate hospitals with being sick. And that was a big change. I didn’t feel sick, I was pregnant and happy and looking forward to the baby. But the team at Wishaw hospital were brilliant. They were really hands on. And always available if I needed them.


Extra care

The start of the pregnancy was smooth. My control for type 2 diabetes was always good. And I was eating healthily. They gave me a finger pricker and a machine to do blood sugar levels. The only thing was that I work in a pharmacy and am always on my feet running around like a headless chicken and I kept forgetting to prick my finger. 

I really struggled with the finger pricking so it was brilliant when I was given the freestyle libre three months in so I didn't have to do so many. I wish I’d been able to keep it. (I only qualified for it on the NHS during pregnancy). It gave me such insight on how diet and lifestyle was affecting my blood sugar levels and when they were going too high or too low.  

I hit a problem four or five months into pregnancy with my sugars going up more. They said it’s normal. And in month six I went on to insulin. I’d been on metformin quite early on, but they said that wasn’t enough. 

Starting insulin to protect the baby

Going on insulin felt like such a big step – having to do multiple injections. And it really preyed on my mind when I hadn’t had to do it before. But the healthcare team were really supportive.And they said taking insulin was normal if you have diabetes. It keeps you and the baby safe. And and my mum helped me with the dose and how to do it. 

After I started taking insulin it improved my blood sugars so much I realised I couldn’t have got to the end of the pregnancy without it. 

But I finished work early as I found it too stressful to manage everything.You feel that with diabetes and pregnancy, there are always extra steps involved. You don’t just see a midwife, you see a consultant, but not just a consultant, you have to go to a clinic. 

Initially, I was going to the clinic every month, and then weekly and then for the last two weeks twice a week – including Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. "At the clinic you’re hooked up to see the baby’s heart rate. And every time you’re hooked up, you think is everything OK?"

Giving birth

They said with diabetes, your pregnancy can’t go beyond 38 weeks, so I was due to be medically induced. But it didn’t work. I don’t think he was ready to come out. He was too comfortable! 

So I gave birth via a C-section. I had to go in the night before because of being on insulin as I had to be put on a drip. The thing that preyed on both my and my husband’s minds was whether the extra checks on our son would be OK and that his blood sugars would be OK. 

He was actually fine when he was born, at seven pounds 14 ounces. After I gave birth, I came off the medication straight away – the Metformin and the insulin. It was a real relief. 

I’ve been lucky, it felt quite complicated to me but a lot of other people would have had it a lot harder. I was honest with my husband about what was going on. And I think it’s useful to have information about pregnancy on the Diabetes UK website about it, so partners understand. 



Looking ahead


I’m now walking towards a happier, healthier future by taking on the Glasgow Wellness Walk.

Since my son Alexander James (AJ for short) was born 14 weeks ago, I always take him out in the pram and let him sleep. During pregnancy I met a group of friends who were also pregnant. And we were always going walking together, especially on maternity leave. 

I live in Glasgow and walking is one of the cheapest activities. And the weather’s picking up now. Walking's not just good for your diabetes but your overall wellbeing. And you can always just put on a pair of headphones. My husband is going on the walk with me and we might bring little AJ in the pram. 

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