Teacher living with diabetes
FreeStyle Libre Ambassador
Pregnancy can bring extra concerns for women with type 1 diabetes, but technology is helping deliver more peace of mind.
“My Flash glucose monitoring system was the best Christmas present ever,” says Dublin primary school teacher Mairéad Parker. “It’s given me extra peace of mind, especially now I’m pregnant.”
Mairéad was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged four. “I’m the only one in my family with the condition, so it was a big learning curve, especially for my mum. She monitored my glucose levels and gave me carefully measured doses of insulin twice daily. Meals had to be at set times and food carefully monitored.”
Mairéad took extra snacks and glucose drinks to school. “It was a small county school, and I was in a class of 10. The teachers helped but everyone knew and there was so little education about diabetes that stereotypes and myths abounded.”
Then five years ago she got a Flash glucose monitoring system as a Christmas gift. “There’s a sensor on the back of my upper arm which I scan with my phone and an app records my glucose levels,” she says. “If I’ve had a walk or eaten something different, or I am not feeling well, I type that into my phone and see how my levels are affected.”
I get monthly checks from the maternity hospital’s diabetes team and the app means I can share my glucose levels with them beforehand.
Before getting pregnant, Mairéad was initially concerned about how her diabetes could affect her and the baby.
“My diabetes and diabetic retinopathy teams gave me guidance and said I was in a good position to proceed. Now I am pregnant, I get monthly checks from the maternity hospital’s diabetes team and the app means I can share my glucose levels with them beforehand from home.”
Mairéad advises other women who are living with type 1 diabetes and who are considering pregnancy: “It’s natural to be worried, but don’t let fear stand in your way. Speak to your diabetes teams and join online patient support groups. I found everyone very willing to help.
“The Flash glucose monitoring system means I have better control of my glucose levels, which is comforting because controlled levels help to support your baby’s development.”