Food, Motherhood, Musings

So you’ve got gestational diabetes…

And it bloody sucks right?

I was 0.5 over the BMI threshold for even being tested for gestational diabetes. I nearly declined the test (which was offered to me at 27 weeks), thinking it was pointless. Good job I didn’t eh?

Gestational diabetes is, put simply:

‘high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth’

The test basically involves fasting overnight, turning up at the hospital having had nothing but water and having your finger pricked, blood sugar levels taken and then drinking a very sugary drink.

You drink the drink (which really isn’t that bad, it’s just like very strong squash) and then sit in the waiting room for two hours. In that time you are only allowed water and aren’t allowed to move around much – so take a book or something.

You then go back in to have your blood and sugars checked again.

In my case, they phoned me the next day to tell me my levels were over the threshold and therefore I was considered to have gestational diabetes.

The levels that they based it on were that I had to be under 5.8 for my fasting blood sugars (which I was a 4.8) and under 7.8 for two hours later (I got a 7.9).

I’m not going to lie, I was gutted to get the diagnosis.

I felt like I had done something wrong. Was it because I ate too much sweet stuff and crap so far in this pregnancy? Apparently not. I was at more risk of getting it due to being of a higher BMI but people with a BMI of much lower can get it too. It really is luck of the draw.

I got told to check out www.gestationaldiabetes.co.uk and given an appointment for the following week to pick up my testing kit and meet the diabetes nurse.

Gestational Diabetes

I spent the whole weekend Googling, crying and basically freaking out to be honest. I am already vegetarian (and a bit vegan – though I’m not too strict on dairy). Monitoring my sugar levels meant cutting down drastically on carbs such as bread, potatoes and pasta and anything sweet (even so far as some veggies like sweet potatoes etc).

Surely pregnancy is the time you can indulge a bit?!

But that was now all over for me, and it took me a few days to come to terms with it.

It’s been just over a week now and I feel like I have the hang of it.

I test my blood sugars four times a day:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After Breakfast
  • After Lunch
  • After Dinner

My readings have to be below 5.8 for fasting and below 7.8 for after an hour after my meal. I use a little finger prick device and a test strip each time and write all my readings down in a little book, as well as emailing them over to the diabetes midwife once a week.

I have only had a couple of high readings so far, which is usually after a slip up involving chocolate or carbs but if I know what caused it they generally don’t worry too much.

If, despite trying to control it with my diet, I cant keep my numbers down the next step is medication and then after that, insulin.

Which obviously I am trying to avoid.

The problem is, gestational diabetes is progressive.

Meaning it gets worse throughout the pregnancy. I might start at 28 weeks being able to get good numbers after a piece of brown toast and peanut butter but then a few weeks later I may no longer be able to tolerate that and it may send my number sky high. It isn’t always fully in our control, so going onto medication isn’t a failure. Which is what I need to bear in mind if it does happen to me.

I will do a follow up post on what I am eating and how I am feeling but for now – I feel like I am over the initial hurdle of coming to terms with it. Though Christmas will be a bit shitty, lets be honest.

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