Teen Mom 3 Mackenzie Douthit on how Type 1 diabetes affected her pregnancy and birth control decisions

Mackenzie Douthit diabetes interview

We had the chance to exclusively talk with Teen Mom 3 cast member Mackenzie Douthit about how her Type 1 diabetes has affected her life, her pregnancy, and her birth control choices. Type 1 diabetes, formally known as juvenile diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in childhood, is a disorder where the body does not produce the essential hormone insulin, which helps the body convert sugars, carbs, and other food into energy. About 5% of diabetics are Type 1, and they can live long, healthy lives if they receive proper care; including insulin treatments and diet control.

Having a baby when you’re diabetic requires even stricter control of your blood sugar than normal to prevent complications with the pregnancy, and harm to the baby. Although Mackenzie’s baby Gannon is healthy, he was born bigger than normal because of complications with the diabetes. At some point, Mackenzie even feared for her life during her pregnancy.

At what point did you find out you have Type 1 diabetes?

I found out I had type one diabetes in the sixth grade when I was 12.

How did having the disease affect your pregnancy?

It affected my pregnancy a lot. Gannon was bigger than normal. I had to have an ultrasound three days a week to check up on his weight. He was four weeks early and still weighed 9.7 pounds.

And what about your diet while pregnant? And were there any complications?

Although pregnant people like to eat a lot, I had to eat everything just right. If I had a low blood sugar it was suffocating the baby, and when I had a high blood sugar, it was giving the baby extra sugar, which made him gain weight. It was very hard with all the hormones to keep my blood sugars normal. I did everything right and STILL had mess ups. So, yes, I had LOTS of complications. It was very hard. I honestly didn’t think I would make it.

Do you have any advice Advice for Type I diabetics who are planning on getting pregnant, or have a chance of accidentally becoming pregnant?

They say that if you are a type 1 diabetic, then your body needs two years of perfect blood sugar to prepare for a baby. Well…..I didn’t plan on getting pregnant, so I didn’t get those two years to prepare. As a matter of fact I used to never take care of myself until I got pregnant. Then I realized I had to start taking care of myself or I could lose my baby. That would be so selfish of me. If you are a type 1 diabetic, I advise you to prepare for a baby. I don’t ever plan on having any more babies in the future, that’s how hard it was.

If you do get pregnant, MAKE sure to take great care of yourself. Do not allow yourself to have cake or chocolate, that could mean something horrible to your baby.

Are you on birth control now? Can birth control be dangerous for diabetics?

Me and josh are not having sex, but I DID go to the doctor to talk to him about birth control. About two years ago I got on the pill for about three weeks and my blood sugars were the worst they had ever been. Some people are different, but hormones and diabetes do NOT mix well. I did get on the IUD because if I waited until after I turned 18, (which I will be 18 when me and Josh get married)…… then it would be a lot of money.

Here is some further information about Type I diabetes and birth control. From the NY Times:

“Birth control pills can raise blood glucose levels. Long-term use (more than 2 years) of birth control pills may increase the risk of health complications.”

Q and A from Diabetes.org:

Is there any birth control method that is preferred because I have diabetes?

You and your health care team need to decide which birth control method will work best for you. You should use some kind of birth control if you are sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant. Birth control pills contain very low levels of estrogen (a hormone), and you can use them. You may need more insulin, because the hormones in the birth control pills might make you a bit more insulin resistant. A combination pill with norgestinate and a synthetic estrogen is the best one for women with diabetes.”

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  • Sarah

    Wow I had no idea she was type 1. I can really relate to her and her difficulties as I have had two children while being type 1. It’s a true struggle every single day NOT being pregnant but once you’re pregnant and your hormones are all over the place, it is SO much harder. Definitely take her advice and take care of yourself!

  • Kaylie

    Ugh. This girl annoys me more than any other cast member. She’s so airheaded and ditzy. Assuming she’s not lying, I do enjoy hearing that she’s choosing not to have sex. Smart girl. It will maker her and her boyfriend have a stronger relationship.

    • noname

      I bet.

    • whoa

      I too am wondering how true this all is. I believe she has Type 1, but the part about birth control I am scratching my head and wondering about. We all heard her say during her episode that she didn’t take the pill because she didn’t want to get fat. Now she is acting like she stopped taking it because it wasn’t mixing well with her Type 1.

      • Pixie

        MTV probably didn’t mention so she could sound like an stupid cheerleader who just got pregnant. I watched the episode and when the pill part came up her and her mum started laughing. Like that was just a joke and their was another reason, which is probably this one. The girl has a good head on her shoulders.

  • Ashley

    I have been Type 1 Diabetic for 22 years, since I was diagnosed when I was 3. I am also on the pill for birth control. When I first went on it my blood sugars rose, but I just adjusted my insulin doses along with my doctor and now my blood sugars are fine and have been for years since I made the adjustments. Since the pill is consistent hormones in your body, it’s pretty easy to regulate blood sugars while on it once you figure out how much more insulin you need to keep yourself in control. However, since Mackenzie said that she was not in good control in the first place that would have made it harder (but not impossible) to know the right adjustments to make to her insulin, and she also may not have taken the time and thought to make those adjustments since she said she wasn’t taking care of herself in the first place. Not trying to be overly critical of her (I know how hard it is to be in good control, but it’s just something you need to do as a diabetic), but it is very possible to be a diabetic and be on the pill.

  • Ashley

    Also, just one more side note that diabetics CAN eat things like cake and chocolate. We just need to take enough insulin to cover the carbs/sugar in the sweets. As long as you are in good control by testing your blood sugar regularly, counting your carbs in what you eat, and take enough insulin for your blood sugars and what you eat, you can pretty much eat whatever you want (within reason of course…eating junk often isn’t good for anyone!). Sorry, it’s just a pet peeve of mine when people think that diabetics can’t eat any sugar ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sarah

      I absolutely HATE when people ask me “What can you eat?” I can eat ANYTHING…just have to eat smaller portions or adjust my insulin accordingly.

  • Forrest

    I had no idea, either. I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 5 and take insulin shots. And I can still eat anything.
    I’m glad she chose abstinence and is a self proclaimed child of God. All the better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kim

    i dont know anything about this girl other then she was on 16 and pregenant, and i didnt watch that season. but i think she is a very pretty girl and her son is adorable! sad to hear she never wants to have more kids in the future though…being as she is still so young and has so many more years to live.