Not so long ago I wrote a post about Gestational Diabetes (GD). I wrote this post because at 28 weeks into my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with GD. I was probably the healthiest I had been in a long time apart from some stress, I had a healthy BMI, my diet was good, I took regular light exercise. A diabetes diagnosis was the last thing I was expecting.
I was registered for the GTT at my booking in appointment. Only because there was Type 2 diabetes on my mothers side. Although my mother doesn’t actually have diabetes, she has been tested several times as she has had a glucose intolerance on a few occasions. My midwife was originally reluctant to book it in as usually you are only referred if you have a direct relative with diabetes or other risk factors. This was my only risk factor. In the end, she decided it was safer to do so and booked me in for 28 weeks.
I had to fast on the evening before the GTT, boy was that hard! In the morning I went to the hospital. I had blood taken which would be tested for my fasting glucose level. Then I was given a very thick orange syrup drink. I sat for two hours with a book. When the 2 hours were up my blood was tested again. This would be my post blood reading. I then went home.
My mobile phone rang the following morning. I was so excited. I had just entered a competition to win £10000. It ended at 10 am, the winner would be called to go on air. It was just past 10 am! I’m a little competition addict, so I really could have won! Anyway, I hadn’t won, it was the diabetic nurse. I had failed the GTT and was diagnosed with GD ( two weeks before Xmas too!). It was a Friday so I would be rushed in for an appointment at the Diabetic centre that afternoon.
I had a million thoughts running through my head. Had I done this? Would my baby be at risk? Yes, I did the unthinkable and went on to google. I was so desperate to have a VBAC I needed to know if that was still possible. How I wish I hadn’t. I would advise against googling if you are diagnosed with GD. Every case is as unique as we are individuals. Google is filled with horror stories!
Once diagnosed with GD you automatically go under consultant care and the team is made up of two sides. The specialist GD consultants and a team of dieticians. That afternoon I only saw the dieticians. They showed me how to use my blood glucose monitor. I would have to test my blood 7 times a day. I was also given advice about what foods to eat and what to avoid.
Christmas and Gestational Diabetes; the worst combination! This self-confessed chocoholic cried like a baby when I realised I would have Xmas minus the treats!
Any medical questions would be answered at the clinic with the consultants. Unfortunately, this was almost a week away. I was so worried about the birth, that the stress actually made me quite ill and I ended up having to have some days off work due to it. Silly really as I would find out I was worrying needlessly!
The GD diagnosis meant that I would go to the diabetic clinic every two weeks. They would be to check my blood sugar levels were keeping in target and to discuss dietary options if needed. The consultants would check on the health and growth of the baby as well as the health of my placenta and to discuss birth options. I would have 3 additional scans between my diagnosis at 28 weeks and the birth, which worked out to one every 3 – 4 weeks.
When I finally had my first consultant appointment, I also had my first additional scan. Although the baby was healthy, it showed that the baby had a very large abdominal circumfereance, which is typical of GD. My blood sugar levels had remained relatively stable as I started following a diet that stabilised by blood sugar levels. I would for now remain diet controlled. The best news of all was there was no reason at present to not continue with a VBAC plan. Although the baby would be induced if it had not arrived by 40 weeks, they were happy to try a soft induction. As long as everything remained stable and healthy, it would involve breaking my waters, and a low level hormone drip.
I can not fault the care I received from my trust. The consultants were brilliant and I ended up with the VBAC I had hoped for. I was induced at 40 + 1 and Emmeline arrived about 6 hours later. She was an average weight and completely healthy. I did end up on Metformin at the end of my pregnancy to control my fasting sugar levels but this had no impact on my birth. My Blood sugar Levels remained on target throughout the pregnancy. A lot of this was down to following the diet suited to controlling blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, the dietary advice from the NHS wasn’t great for this. I found a Gestational Diabetes Support group which I found to be invaluable.
My advice for anyone who has just recieved a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis would be:
- Don’t google too much, if you do take it with a pinch of salt.
- The way your body deals with GD is unique to you, what does or does not work for one doesnt mean it will or will not work for you – bear that in mind.
- talk through your options with your consultant, you will still have many options.
- Diet can help you manage your diabetes – choose the right foods!
- You can’t conrtol your diabeties, if after making the most sensible diet choices and you still struggle to achieve stable sugars, don’t feel guilty. You can’t control how your cells respond to insulin. Accept you need extra help. Medication isn’t an enemy.
- Visit Gestation Diabetes UK!