During pregnancy – usually around the 24th week – many women develop gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.
Here is Kate’s Story:
When I was 28 weeks pregnant, I went to my doctors for a glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes. I had to starve myself from 6 o’clock the evening before and could just take sips of water. The following morning, the phlebotomist tested my blood to give a base line reading, and then I was asked to drink an extremely thick, sweet carton of gloopy stuff (that’s the best way to describe it!) Within 10 minutes, ‘Bubs’ was going loopy, kicking, thumping and just generally moving around a considerable amount! 2 hours later, I had a repeat blood test, but this time blood was actually taken, not just the needle prick test.
I always knew I was at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes due to my age and I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, but it was still a shock to be told that I had it. I thought that once again my body had let me down and a few tears were shed that night.
My husband came back to the hospital with me the following morning to go through everything that I needed to do to test my sugar levels – needle prick one finger and use that blood in a diabetes monitoring device; day 1 protocol – test 1 hour after breakfast, 1 hour after lunch and 1 hour after evening meal; day 2 – test when I woke up, just before lunch, just before evening meal and when I went to bed, and repeat until Bubs was born. It soon became ‘the norm’ but I found my fingers got sore from the constant needle pricks!
It was quite difficult getting to grips with what I could eat and what would put my blood sugar up. Things like Shreddies are full of sugar, for instance, and it was a real shock when I tested my blood an hour after eating them, the same with white bread! There were foods that I really missed, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, things like a Chinese takeaway on a Friday night – my blood sugar went through the roof after that — it was like as soon as someone said I couldn’t have it, I craved it! Don’t get me wrong, I would have a little bit every now and again, but I soon realised that going for a 10 minute walk (or waddle as I got bigger!) around the block was enough to bring my blood sugar down. I also soon got to know what effected my blood sugar by the reaction of Bubs – if she went mad, I knew it was something I shouldn’t eat! To start with, I lost weight, and was worried as Bubs was already on the small side, but after talking to the dietician at the hospital, nuts became my new best friend – Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews and walnuts in particular as they were full of protein and fat but low in sugar.
From around 32 weeks, my biggest craving struck – chocolate orange! I don’t usually eat it, except maybe at Christmas, but it was there, in my head and I couldn’t eat it to satisfy the craving so there it stayed! I told my husband that I wanted a chocolate orange the day after Bubs was born!
I was induced at 36+6 and throughout my pregnancy, other than a few blips at the beginning, I’d managed to keep my blood sugars under control really well. I had to monitor my sugars throughout labour as there was a chance I’d need to go on insulin, and a plan was put in place in case that happened. At our prenatal classes, we were told of the good, high energy foods to eat, and everyone I knew was taking in a packet of chocolate digestives. I took in a bunch of bananas! When Bubs arrived in the early hours of the Saturday morning, she was small but perfect, and had to be taken to SCBU to have her blood sugars monitored for 24 hours. We were both on cloud nine – after 6 years, we finally had a baby of our own. My husband left the hospital to go and get a couple of hours sleep before coming back to see ‘his girls’ and when he arrived, after giving me a kiss, he presented me with a chocolate orange!
I was tested for diabetes six weeks after having our daughter and I was ‘borderline’ diabetic, so I was tested again after two months and I was fine! 🙂
For more information please have a look at this useful video:
There is also more information available here: http://www.diabetes.org.uk
Take It From Mummy would like to thank Kate for writing down her experience for others to share, as always, if you have anything you would like to add please do either comment below, or contact us via our contact page.