Diabetes and Eye Problems During Pregnancy

Kerri Sparling Health Guide
  • So now, in the seventh month of my first pregnancy, it seems as though the initial decision to either go for a vaginal birth or a c-section comes down to my eyes.

    Yes, the "eyes" have it.

    (I've been dying to use that pun for weeks now.  Bear with me, okay?)

    Before getting pregnant, my medical team and the diabetes media machine at large warned me that a c-section might be in the cards, due to several factors:  a larger baby, compromised kidney function, retinopathy, and high blood pressure.  (Not to mention all the non-diabetes factors that come into play for a "normal" pregnancy.)  So once my husband and I found out we were expecting, we were also sort of expecting a c-section.

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    But for me, as far as my pregnancy goes in this seventh month, my eyes are the main determining factor in my delivery method.  A few weeks ago, I had an eye dilation as part of my routine prenatal care, and a small hemorrhage was detected near the macula in my left eye.  The hemorrhage isn't the issue, so much as the location - bit too close to my vision center.

    "This is something that we want to watch closely, because I don't want you pushing during labor with that spot so close to your macula."  My eye doctor marked up the chart and scheduled a follow up with me for the end of February. 

    After seeing my OB/GYN last Friday, she confirmed that my eyes were the delivery dictators.

    "You don't have any protein in your urine, so your kidneys are holding up beautifully.  And your A1C is in good control.  So is your blood pressure.  And let's take a look at that baby, okay?"

    She gooped me up with the ultrasound gel and soon I saw the shape of my daughter, bouncing around inside of my belly. 

    "Hi, baby!"  My doctor said as she scanned my baby's little face.  My OB/GYN took a few measurements of the baby, and then turned the machine off.

    "Okay, so your baby is measuring in at the 51st percentile for weight.  So she's not big.  Not small.  Perfectly in range.  That's a good thing.  And it's also another factor that is helping you stay in the running for a vaginal birth."

    "So it's all about the eyes, right?  Depends on how my next eye dilation goes?  If that spot moved or healed or just moseyed right on out?"

    "Exactly.  So we wait.  But in the meantime, we prepare for both scenarios.  No matter what happens, you and your baby will be in good hands."

    It all comes down to how my eyeballs fare over the next few weeks.  I know that a pregnancy with type 1 diabetes tends to take its toll on diabetic eyes, in particular, but I'm holding out a  bit of hope.  I'd like to have the option to deliver naturally, if I can, and I'm very hopeful that my diabetes can behave itself for nine more weeks.  This journey is on the home stretch, and I absolutely cannot wait to hold my baby girl. 

    Honestly, it doesn't matter to me how she arrives, so long as she's safe and sound.

Published On: February 18, 2010