Like all pregnant women- at approximately 26 weeks along- I went for a glucose screening test to check my blood glucose (sugar) level. To Labcorp I went early on a Saturday morning and drank a very sweet glucose (aka sugar) drink, which for me tasted like an extremely sweet, flat orange soda. For someone who isn’t big on cake or candy, I thought I would go into glucose shock. While I waited I read 12 hours by 12 weeks, a sleep training book by Suzy Giordano and Lisa Abidin. I then waited one hour before having my blood drawn and tested for glucose. This test didn’t require me to fast, but I was conscious of my dinner and breakfast prior to going into the test. In no time at all the test was done and I was on my way. A few days later I was walking in NYC on my way to a client meeting, talking to my Grandmother on my cell phone, when my OB-GYN’s office was calling on the other line. I switched over and received the news that I had failed the glucose screening…by a lot! I was scared, nervous and upset because I was worried about the health of my baby. I tried not to get too worked up and followed my Doctor’s instructions to make another appointment for a Glucose tolerance test-which takes 3 hours-immediately. A glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes. For this test I did have to fast, which wasn’t easy to do at this stage in the pregnancy. Back to Labcorp I went-this time I had to drink twice the amount of a very sweet glucose drink and they took my blood 4 times-as soon as I arrived and once every four hours after I finished the drink. To pass the time I once again read 12 hours by 12 weeks.
Within a day or two my OB-GYN’s office called me again to tell me I yet again failed! Of course I was devastated. My OB-GYN told me I had to go to a diabetic counselor as soon as I could. I spoke to my boss and took a personal day from work that week. Everyone I spoke to about this was surprised that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was fit prior to being pregnant, wasn’t gaining more weight that recommended for my height and always ate well.
During my one and only in person meeting with the diabetic counselor she made me take her through my diet. We came to the conclusion that I was eating too many carbohydrates and fruit and not offsetting them with proteins. Although I never had a problem with my glucose prior to pregnancy I was told that my body was likely producing extra glucose combined with breads and fruit made my numbers go way high! Luckily I only had to make slight adjustments to my diet, such as instead of only eating a banana, add peanut butter to it so the protein would cut the sugar. Instead of having bagels (which I learned are the worst!) have a bagel flat or an English muffin. In addition to some adjustments to my diet I would have to check my blood sugar 4X a day. This meant pricking my finger so it would bleed and placing the blood on a test strip and into the meter. This was definitely the annoying part-but obviously something I was more than willing to do to keep my blood sugar in check and be certain my baby was OK. Looking back I am happy I didn’t eat differently prior to the test to try and mess with the results- as I had read about. If I was eating too much sugar I want to know so I can correct it and make a safe place inside my body for my baby.
There are several risks of having gestational diabetes; risk for preterm labor, higher risk of high blood pressure or preeclampsia. Additionally, babies of women with gestational diabetes are more likely to be bigger than average d can get stuck in the birth canal while being born, injuring their neck and shoulders, or more likely to be delivered via C-section. Your baby may also have low blood sugar after birth and trouble breathing.
Off to the ShopRite pharmacy for my meter and test strips I went! I had to keep my number at 120 and under. I was told it could be 140 and under if you aren’t pregnant. I mostly was well below 120, anywhere from 80-100 throughout the day. On the off occasion I wanted pizza my number would be higher. Keeping the carbs and fruit to moderation, with adding protein really helped me regulate my number.
Before you knew it I was pricking my finger like nothing-even checking my parents and Grandma’s for fun. I kept a book with my numbers that I showed to all of my Doctors at each visit until the end of my pregnancy. (I had a high risk pregnancy to begin with due to my heart shaped uterus so it was common for me to be seen bi-weekly.
Once my son was born they checked both of our glucose levels and they were A-OK! Just like that I was gestational diabetes free..no more pricking my finger! I was told gestational diabetes could either be diet controlled or some women require shots daily.