May 20, 2014

Pregnancy Update: GD Diagnosis

Last Tuesday I spent all morning in the doctor's office for a glucose test.  They do this test on all pregnant women now, and I didn't think much of it.  I knew next to nothing about gestational diabetes.  I hadn't researched it independently, or any possible pregnancy complications really, because I've found the most effective mental state for me during pregnancy is simply doing my best and assuming nothing is going to go wrong.  I figure there's no point in dwelling on possible complications that I can't prevent- I'll only drive myself crazy with worry.

Needless to say, I was caught off guard on Thursday when the doctor called and told me I 'failed my test' and had gestational diabetes.  She told me I'd need to attend a class about it, held in the afternoon the same day of my next doctor's appointment- almost 2 weeks away.  I said ok and hung up the phone, and then I got upset.  I probably should have asked more questions and I wish she'd given me more information.  We tried to call back later that day but the office was already closed, not to be open again until Monday.  I called Chris in tears, and then spent the rest of the afternoon on google.

Here's what I've learned so far:

  • Gestational diabetes isn't my fault- it's a result of the hormones from the pregnancy inhibiting the ability of my pancreas to secrete insulin, and there's nothing I could have done differently to prevent it.  This was important to me.  I was afraid I hadn't been eating well enough and I'd caused it.  Finding out that wasn't the case really helped alleviate some of the stress and guilt.
  • The risks associated with GD most commonly include an 'oversized baby' (10lbs or more), underdeveloped lungs in the baby, and preeclampsia- when you're unable to manage your blood sugar levels.  I hope to learn more next week, but from what I can tell if I can keep my levels within a healthy range, we shouldn't have to worry about any of these complications.
  • 90% of women diagnosed with GD are able to control their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise alone- no insulin injections necessary.
  • Your specific diet will depend on your individual body and needs, but in general the GD diet seems to follow the recommendations given to all pregnant women- eat small meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar even throughout the day, avoid sugary drinks and desserts- basically any nutritionally deficient foods, eat plenty of vegetables, eat a variety of sources for carbs and try to stick with whole grains, eat about 2 servings of fruit, and eat plenty of protein.  The biggest difference is simply that now it's not so much that you should eat this way as it is you really really need to eat this way.  You're supposed to count carbs, but the number of grams you're supposed to consume varies a little depending on your body type.  Based on my height and weight the best I can figure before I see the nutritionist is I'm supposed to have about 200 grams of carbs a day.
I'm still trying to figure it all out.  In a lot of ways this is a good thing- I was often completely exhausted and overemotional during the last few weeks and I thought it was normal pregnancy stuff, but as it turns out it was from high blood sugar.  The simple changes I've made over the last few days have already made me feel better.  I've given up sugary drinks.  The closest I get to dessert is a measured amount of whole grain cereal at a designated snack time.  I set timers on my phone and eat at the same time every day, 3 meals and 3 snacks.  I count carbs, I include a lot of protein, and I'm journalling everything I eat.  I won't know for sure how well I'm doing until I take the class and get the device to measure my blood sugar levels, but I know I feel better.

It's all a little tedious right now, but I think I'll get the hang of it.  In the meantime my mood has evened out, I feel far less bloated and uncomfortable, I haven't had any heartburn, and I'm less tired- still pretty tired, but not like my limbs are filled with sand all the time.  So, while we're taking it seriously, we're going to be positive about it.

I'll share more when I know more.

Saturday afternoon at the lake...

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