I was looking at my oldest daughter the other day. She's fourteen and you know what that means? She is going through the wonderful teenage life. She is absolutely amazing. She has her moments but what teen doesn't? I was playing over in my mind my life when I was pregnant with her. Boy did I go through a lot from Preeclampsia which led me to Eclampsia. I was also diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. My first pregnancy was a doozy and I am so grateful to still be here to watch not only my oldest grow but my other two rug rats as well.
I was blessed enough to have a really good doctor. As many trips as I made to the hospital before I even went into labor, I figured he would give up on me. However, he didn't. When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes I was young and didn't understand what that really meant or how to truly take care of myself. I remember my doctor explaining it to me in some form and I did what I thought I needed to do to take better care of myself. My grandmother (you know the older generation always has at home remedies for you) helped me out a great bit as well with some tips and tricks.
Also, working along side some of the best doctors in OB care taught me a lot so with my next two pregnancies (after two horrible miscarriages) I was ready! Oh and not to mention gaining more knowledge and becoming certified in pregnancy health coaching.
So what is gestational diabetes? This happens during pregnancy when women develop high blood sugar levels. This will usually happen towards the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third trimester (24 to 28 weeks) . A lot of people think that if you do develop gestational diabetes that they had it before pregnancy or they will have it after pregnancy. That is not the case, but it does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. If you are diagnosed and if this isn't managed like it should be you are putting both you and your baby at risk for further pregnancy and delivery complications. A lot of people do not develop symptoms but if you notice excessive fatigue and thirst, the need to go to the restroom (pregnant women pee a lot anyways) but if you notice that you are going entirely too much please contact your provider and let them know what is going on.
So who's at risk for this? Well it varies. If you have high blood pressure, were overweight before you got pregnant, if you put on a lot of weight while you are pregnant, if you are having more than one baby,and if you've had gestational diabetes in the past. Just to name a few risks. The test for this is done between 24 and 28 weeks, unless you have a history of gestational diabetes or a family history of diabetes, then it will be done sooner.
Preparation for this test varies per provider. I've worked in offices that tell the patients not to eat anything before the test, water only. Then I've worked places where they tell you what to eat and what to avoid. Usually your provider will give you specific instructions before the test. Once you arrive for the test you will drink a lovely glucola or glucose solution, wait one hour, and your blood will be drawn. If your one hour blood sugar level is higher than or equal to 180 you will be asked to come back for a three hour test. With my third pregnancy, when I failed my one hour I was so down about it. I was like here we go again. I had to do a three hour test. Since I didn't do so well with the glucose solution they allowed me to do my three hour with jelly beans! Can you believe it? Jelly beans. Now I like jelly beans but this was an unusually large amount. Anywho, I ate the bag of jelly beans and passed my three hour. I had to have my finger pricked every hour. So besides sore finger tips it was a great day.
There are two types of gestational diabetes, A1 can be controlled with diet alone, and then A2 will need insulin or oral medication to control. Eating a diet that in managed properly is very important. Try to pay extra attention to your carbs, protein, and fat intake. You can also eat small meals or snacks every two hours, this can help control your blood sugar levels. Managing your diet takes some work in the beginning but once you get the ball rolling and get used to it, it's a piece of cake and well worth it! Shoot for healthy carbs like whole grains, brown rice, and low sugar fruits. Good protein comes from lean meats, poultry, fish, and tofu. Healthy fats can be found in unsalted nuts, olive oil, and avocado. And drink your WATER!
It's not entirely possible to prevent gestational diabetes but you can most definitely lower your risk by taking better care of yourself, controlling your diet, and getting regular exercise such as walking. This is you and your baby's life. You can make it the best life for you! You are worth it. Remember, self care is everything!
Until next time. Peace, love and light.
Tiffany Underwood, Certified Pregnancy Health Coach
American Diabetes Association. (2018). 2. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2018. care.diabetesjournals.org/content/41/supplement_1/S13.long
Gestational diabetes. (2017) cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html