I have had many moms at the BabyCountdown fail their 1-hour sugar test. Many times our caregivers don’t explain exactly what “Gestational Diabetes” is or the cause.
The most important thing I was never told was I could have control over the situation. I want you to have this control if you have been diagnosed. I also listened to my intuition when it came to the suggestion of insulin injections. I refused to put insulin in my body and told them I would diet control the situation, which I did.
I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes with my first two pregnancies. Yes I was over the weight society considers “normal”. My first pregnancy they really didn’t tell me anything. I wasn’t informed of the dangers, or how to control it. My second pregnancy my care givers were all over how to control it, and checking blood sugars a minimum of 4 to 6 times a day. They did everything possible to scare me. All of my children were born in the 7lb. Range with no complications.
Gestational Diabetes is type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Diabetes means your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Your body uses glucose for energy. Too much glucose in your blood is not good for you or your baby. High Glucose levels can cause high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine, a condition called preeclampsia. You may also have a c-section to deliver your baby because of complications with your baby being large. You are also at a higher risk for developing type 2 Diabetes later on in life.
The test is usually given between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. The one hour screening involves you drink a special glucose mixture. Then you sit and wait. Exactly one hour later, your blood is drawn and tested for glucose. A high level of glucose at this point doesn’t mean you have gestational diabetes; it just means you need the next test.
The 3 hr screening is next. You will be asked to fast overnight. Your blood will be drawn in the morning, and then you drink a different glucose mixture. Your blood will be drawn three more times, at one, two, and three-hour intervals.
If you are lucky enough to have a midwife as I did for my 3rd pregnancy you will be asked to fast and then in the morning at your appointment she will feed you a healthy breakfast, wait an hour and then test your Blood Sugars. This process made the most sense to me as she tested me with food, not some “syrup”. I had no gestational diabetes that pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes after testing, you’ll probably be referred to a nutritionist and given a special diet. You will also need to monitor your glucose levels at home four times a day with a special machine that uses a drop of blood from your finger to give you an immediate reading.
Take control of the condition by making a healthy eating plan with food choices that are good for both you and your baby. Using a healthy eating plan will help your blood glucose stay in your target range. The plan will help you know which foods to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.
Physical activity can help you reach your blood glucose targets. Talk with your doctor about the type of activity that is best for you. If you are already active, tell your doctor what you do.
You may be required to have extra tests during your 3rd trimester of pregnancy. These would include.
- Ultrasound exams, which use sound waves to make images that show your baby’s growth and whether your baby is larger than normal.
- A non-stress test, which uses a monitor placed on your abdomen to check whether your baby’s heart rate increases, as it should when your baby is active.
- Kick counts to check the time between your baby’s movements.
Complications that can arise from Gestational Diabetes if left untreated can be devastating.
Preeclampsia occurs during the second half of pregnancy. If not treated, preeclampsia can cause problems for you and your baby that could cause death. The only cure for preeclampsia is to give birth. If you develop preeclampsia late in your pregnancy, you may need to have a cesarean section to deliver your baby early. This was always my biggest fear.
Your baby also might be born with jaundice. Jaundice is more common in newborns of mothers who had diabetes during their pregnancy. With jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow. Jaundice usually goes away, but your baby may need to be placed under special lights to help.
Being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy is not a reason to go into ‘panic mode’ as long as you are educated you can handle this condition with little to no fear or problems. You are well on your way to a healthy baby and healthy mom.