The purpose of this article was to summarize scientific knowledge from an expert panel on reproductive health among adolescents with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Using a mental model approach, a panel of experts—representing perspectives on diabetes, adolescents, preconception counseling, and reproductive health—was convened to discuss reproductive health issues for female adolescents with T2D.
Several critical issues emerged. Compared with adolescents with type 1 diabetes, (1) adolescents with T2D may perceive their disease as less severe and have less experience managing it, putting them at risk for complications; (2) T2D is more prevalent among African Americans, who may be less trusting of the medical establishment; (3) T2D is associated with obesity, and it is often difficult to change one’s lifestyle within family environments practicing sedentary and dietary behaviors leading to obesity; (4) teens with T2D could be more fertile, because obesity is related to earlier puberty; (5) although obese teens with T2D have a higher risk of polycystic ovary syndrome, which is associated with infertility, treatment with metformin can increase fertility; and (6) women with type 2 diabetes are routinely transferred to insulin before or during pregnancy to allow more intensive management.
Findings from the expert panel provide compelling reasons to provide early, developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive preconception counseling for teens with T2D.