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Women and diabetes

What are the contraception options?

Thursday, April 7, 2016


If you’re a diabetic woman, now is a perfect time to think about the method of contraception you’re using.

This year, World Health Day is taking a closer look at diabetes, a condition that affects more than 250,000 New Zealanders.

Although men and women have diabetes in roughly equal numbers, women face an additional challenge – the risks of unintended pregnancy.

Diabetes is the most common medical condition that can complicate a pregnancy, especially when it is unplanned.

Our National Medical Advisor, Dr Christine Roke, says women who have very high blood glucose levels when they conceive, face greater risks for themselves and their baby.

“If you’ve got diabetes, it’s important to carefully plan your pregnancies and monitor your blood glucose levels – and use reliable contraception in between these times.”

Conceiving a child while you have high blood glucose levels can increase the risk of still birth, miscarriage, and serious and lifelong health issues for the baby.

To reduce the chance of a potentially risky, unintended pregnancy, a reliable method of contraception is really important until you plan to become pregnant.

If you’re diabetic, and want to start using a new method of contraception, or you just want to talk about your options, a Family Planning nurse or doctor will be able to help.

What contraception can I use?

Because the pill and barrier methods, such as condoms, need to be used every day or every time you have sex, long-acting contraception (such as the implant and IUD) is the best option as it is more effective.

Combined oral contraceptive pill - Suitable for diabetic women who do not have complications.

Progestogen-only contraceptive pill - Suitable for all diabetic women. A good idea to schedule your pill with other routine medication.

Vaginal ring - Suitable for diabetic women who do not have complications.

IUD (hormonal and copper) - Suitable for all diabetic women.

Depo Provera injection - Suitable for diabetic women who do not have serious complications.

Jadelle contraceptive implant - Suitable for all diabetic women.

Condoms (male and female) - Suitable for all diabetic women, however less reliable than other options.

Fertility awareness - Less suitable, as less reliable than other methods.

ECP - Suitable for all diabetic women in emergencies.

Male sterilisation (vasectomy) - A good choice if you are sure your family is complete.

Female sterilisation (tubal ligation) - Because this involves minor surgery, there is a level of risk. Talk to your doctor.

More information

Take the World Health Organisation diabetes quiz.

 WHD 2016 Diabetes

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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