There are a variety of forms of contraception
available.You'll need to talk to your nurse or
doctor about what’s right for you.
Women with diabetes who take the Pill are
susceptible to the same - but no higher - risks
as any other woman who goes on the Pill.
These include high blood pressure and
Some women also notice a slight deterioration
in their diabetes control – this can normally be
treated by changing the dose of insulin slightly.
Your healthcare team will give you individual
advice about this if it happens to you.
Below is a brief overview of different types of
contraception. All forms of contraception have
advantages and disadvantages. For more
information on types of contraception ask your
doctor or nurse or visit the link below.
Oral Contraceptive Pill - 'The Pill'
Both the combined pill and the
progestogen-only pill can be used by many women with diabetes and is over 99% effective if used as directed.
Injections / Implants
Once given, can be forgotten for 12 weeks (Injection) to three years (Implant) and is over 99% effective.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
A small plastic and copper device that does not contain any hormone, but works by stopping sperm reaching an egg due to the release of copper. May also work by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. It lasts for five years, although it can be removed sooner and it doesn’t effect diabetes.
Intrauterine system (IUS)
A hormone releasing version of the IUD, which acts on the womb lining in the same way as the combined pill. It lasts for five years, although it can be removed sooner. However, the hormone may affect blood glucose levels.
Diaphragm or Condom
They are between 95 and 98% effective if used properly. Do not affect blood glucose levels.
This is a common yeast infection that causes genital itching and discharge in women, but in men there’s generally no symptoms. It’s more likely to happen if your blood glucose levels are high, so try to keep your diabetes under control.
You can get buy treatment over the counter or get a prescription for a cream, peccary or tablet to treat it but it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor. It’s worth treating your partner as well – thrush can easily be passed backwards and forwards.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
If you’re having sex, then there is a risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but you can help reduce this risk.
First of all, make sure you always use a condom, whatever other form of contraception you’re using, as this will help protect you against STIs.
You can get condoms free from a number of places - your local sexual health or Genito-urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic, your local family planning clinic/C card provider or your practice nurse. Or you can buy them from chemists and supermarkets.
It is advised to have a check up for STI’s if you change partner or before you start having sex with a new partner. You can get this done at your local GUM or sexual health clinic, and your visit will be kept confidential.
Most of the time STIs are easily treated, but if ignored they can have serious consequences, and you may pass it on to your partner. So it is a good idea to get yourself checked out if you have any worries.
Common STI’s include:
• Genital herpes / warts
• Hepatits A, B or C
• HIV / AIDS
For more information on all of the above, head over to the Family Planning Association Website.
You might want to tell your partner what to
expect if you have a hypo during sex.
Remember, sex is great exercise – but you
need to be prepared for what happens if your
blood glucose levels drop. It’s worth having
some glucose tablets to hand.
Both men and women with diabetes can
experience sexual problems or loss of sexual
desire due to their diabetes. However, a
number of other factors could also be the
reason for this. If you are having any
problems it is best to talk to your doctor.
Contact the Diabetes Scotland Careline
if you wish to discuss anything in confidence
with a trained counsellor on 0141 212 8710.
"Most of the time STIs are easily treated, but if ignored they can have serious consequences, and you may pass it on to your partner."
It is very important to have good diabetes control during pregnancy and woman with diabetes need to try and make sure they don’t get pregnant by mistake.
Poor diabetes control in early pregnancy can lead to problems for you and the baby later on. Since most women don’t know they are pregnant for at least the first month it is better to plan your pregnancy and get it right.
If you’re planning a pregnancy or have recently discovered you are pregnant, it’s worth knowing that diabetes can cause some problems. But do remember that pregnancy can pose a risk for all women, and just because you have diabetes, doesn’t mean you’ll have any problems.
The chances of having any problems are much less if you keep your blood glucose levels tightly controlled - that means less than 5.9mmol/l before meals and not more than 7.8 mmol/l 2 hours after eating - before you become pregnant and during pregnancy.
So plan ahead and avoid unplanned pregnancy where possible – it can make the difference between a healthy or unhealthy start to a pregnancy. But don’t panic if you have got pregnant by accident – you can still have a healthy outcome. See your GP and diabetes team as soon as possible, and take steps to improve your blood glucose level if you need to.
Pregnant and don’t want to be?
First of all, don’t panic, you do have choices.
If you’ve had unprotected sex and you’re worried that you might be pregnant, emergency contraception ("the morning after pill) is suitable for most women. Despite the nickname, the pill is actually effective for up to 72 hours (three days) after sex, but the earlier you take it, the better.
You can get this free at a local pharmacy, your GP, local family planning clinic, or your doctor at Uni or college.
If you’re too late for emergency contraception and you’re not sure you want to keep the baby, speak to your GP as soon as possible to discuss your options.
You can also get additional advice and support from the Family Planning Helpline on 0845 122 8690 (Northern Ireland 0845 122 8687) for confidential information and advice. Further info: www.fpa.org.uk
Mighty DUKs Top Tips for pregnancy
• Take folic acid. This helps prevent spinal cord problems from developing in your baby. It’s recommended that all pregnant women with diabetes take 5mg of folic acid every day before conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
• Have your eyes checked, especially if you have any retinopathy. Pregnancy can place extra pressure on the small blood vessels at the back of your eye. Your healthcare team can help you with this.
• Check your insulin. Some insulin isn't licensed for pregnancy, so check with your doctor or nurse. They can also advise you on your insulin dose.
• Check any other tablets you’re taking, as some medications aren’t advised during pregnancy.
• Stop smoking – it can harm your baby and its effects can last well into childhood.
• Avoid drinking any alcohol. Alcohol can harm your baby and increase your risk of hypos.
• Eat well. Follow the general healthy eating guidelines.
• Keep your blood glucose levels under control; this is important for the normal growth and development of your baby.
For more information and support around sexual health, you can visit the Healthy Respect website for young people made by NHS Lothian.