Diabetes Program

UnityPoint Health - Meriter - Center for Perinatal Care

Diabetes in Pregnancy Program

Most pregnant patients with diabetes have healthy babies, but pregnancy can be a challenging time. Getting the right facts about pregnancy and diabetes is vital during a high-risk pregnancy. Learning about the care involved can help you make informed decisions about when to plan, how to plan and what to expect.

The Center for Perinatal Care offers specialized care for pregnant patients with diabetes who are planning a pregnancy, who are already pregnant or who have just delivered a child. The Diabetes in Pregnancy Program helps reduce the risk of problems during pregnancy.

We provide the latest diabetes care and resources, including nutrition, glucose monitoring and insulin delivery systems and support you to help reach your glucose goals. Our Diabetes Care and Education Specialists will individualize a plan that is right for you. 

Recognition: Diabetes Education

The UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Center for Perinatal Care has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association for Quality Self-Management Education* and Support.

Center for Perinatal - Diabetes recognition logo.jpg

  • Pre-pregnancy diabetes counseling for anyone prior to pregnancy
  • Individualized and group diabetes care and education for people with diabetes during pregnancy
  • Gestational Diabetes

Appointments & Referrals

We are dedicated to helping you reach your goals. If you are interested in having diabetes pregnancy counseling contact your provider for a referral.

Pre-pregnancy Counseling

We recommend pre-pregnancy counseling for patients with preexisting diabetes, including pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Getting the facts can reduce your stress and reduce the risk of problems as you work through the demands of a high-risk pregnancy.

During pre-pregnancy counseling you can:

  • Talk with your provider about diabetes and your desire for pregnancy and contraception
  • Discuss health risks for you and your baby
  • Work with a team of diabetes specialists who are knowledgeable about diabetes and pregnancy care to help improve your control to a safe level for pregnancy
  • Plan the best time to have a baby
Prenatal Care for Patients with Diabetes

Pregnancy changes the way diabetes is controlled, and it can have a significant impact on the health of both you and the baby. Prenatal care will include monitoring for complications that can happen due to diabetes.

This includes more ultrasounds, additional monitoring starting at 32 weeks and an individualized delivery plan.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is different from other forms of diabetes in that it occurs after the patient is pregnant and usually goes away after the baby is born. The Center for Perinatal Care offers education and care for patients with gestational diabetes and medical management if needed. Initially this can be provided at 2 individual appointments or group class. The group class is a 2-hour, 2-part program:

  • During the first part, you will meet with a nurse who will provide you with an overview of gestational diabetes and teach you how to monitor glucose levels.
  • During the second part, you will meet with a Registered Dietitian, who will help you identify which foods will help control your blood glucose.
  • A plan will be made for follow-up to determine if anything else is needed.
  • I have had diabetes for many years. Why do I need to meet with a diabetes educator and/or a dietitian?
    • Diabetes management during pregnancy is much more challenging. Insulin needs may double or triple during pregnancy due to changing hormones. Certain strategies that have worked to manage your diabetes prior to pregnancy will no longer be effective. A baby needs you have normal glucose levels to prevent problems during pregnancy. Our Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist provides most of the medical management for your diabetes during pregnancy and will provide education as appropriate. The pregnant patient has access to a variety of resources and strategies that will help you achieve goals you may have never thought you could before and will need to meet for a healthy pregnancy.
  • If I had gestational diabetes before, do I need to go through the class or visits with this pregnancy?
    • Each patient and pregnancy is unique. In this situation, an individual visit may be more appropriate. Our goal is to tailor the care to the patient's needs.
  • What is the a1c goal for conception?
    • 6.5 or less.
  • What is the a1c goal once I am pregnant?
    • 6 or less.
  • What are the blood glucose goals during pregnancy?
    • Fasting or pre-meal: 70-95
    • 1 hour post-meal: 70-140
    • 2 hours post-meal: 70-120

The low threshold is not needed for anyone not on medication or insulin.