Pregnancy: My battle with gestational diabetes

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy
GDpregnancy
Photo Credit: Google

In 2013 when I was pregnant with LO, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was shocked don’t get me wrong but not overly surprised as there’s history of diabetes on both sides of my family (maternal and paternal).

I did my best to make sure I kept my blood sugar levels within the normal range and had to attend a lot of hospital appointments, take medication, get scanned frequently to ensure baby wasn’t growing too big (the only perk if I can call it that!) and testing my blood with a finger-pricking device everyday… 3-4 times a day. That was not a perk at all.

The GD returns…

When I discovered I was pregnant again, I knew in the back of my mind that the likelihood of GD returning in this pregnancy was high. So naturally, I tried to eat well, watched my intake of carbs and sugars, and controlled my portion intake in a bid to not get that positive result.

However it seems that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t defeat the inevitable. The good thing is that my reading this time was only just over the normal range at 8 (last time it was 12!) – I think the top end of the normal range is 7. I can’t really remember what the number represents but it’s something to do with the level of blood sugar in the body.

I am slightly crest-fallen as I was planning to have a water birth with this pregnancy as I couldn’t the last time and now I know for sure I am definitely not going to be able to opt for it again. It’s something I was really looking forward to and feel a little bit ‘stripped’ of my pregnancy privileges.

Exercise

So this time round I am not going to just sit about like the health professionals recommended the first time round, I will exercise and do as much as I can without hurting myself of course.

I am starting my prenatal pilates class this week and I’m still strength training at home but only on a weekly basis now as I think I trapped a nerve from Saturday when I tried to make a dash for the bus… not good. I stopped swimming but may have to pick it back up and go either once a week or once every two weeks. Swimming is a great form of exercise, especially when pregnant too because the body is weightless in water making it a better option on the body and the joints.

Healthy eating

The Greenwich Mummy |
Healthy eating during a GD pregnancy [Photo Credit: Diabetes UK]

In addition to portion control and carb/sugar management, the other ways of eating healthy is to choose “better” options – better carbs means looking for those complex carbs as to simple carbs. So swapping the white bread for brown or wholemeal bread, eating rice cakes instead of bread sticks and so on. It’s an exhausting process sometimes as when you’re pregnant all you want to do is be able to eat without thinking too much about what is in it, etc… *sighs*

This article by Diabetes.org offers some great advice on eating healthy with GD and I highly recommend other mums who have also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes to take a look.

Not the end of the world…

It really isn’t. Best thing of all is that it usually disappears as soon as baby is born too so not all is lost. You get offered another GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) when you are about 6-8 weeks postpartum so they can check that the GD is definitely gone (usually the case).

One “highlight”, if one can call it that, of having GD is the fact that the docs won’t let baby get too big so you won’t have to worry about delivering a 9lb baby. Babies from mothers diagnosed with GD are usually bigger than babies from mothers without GD because as the mother’s body cannot regulate the blood sugar with insulin, the sugar passes straight through to baby making them increase abnormally in size. For this reason, pregnant women with GD are always given an induction date. You will need to be induced before your induction date if they suspect baby is too big or if there are any other complications.

Luckily for me, LO came early (he was born on the day I was supposed to be induced) and was within normal size at 6lb 2oz so my delivery that time was a good one.

I hope this pregnancy ends smoothly like the last one!

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