How To Make It Through Gestational Diabetes
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Growing up, I have always been the skinny minny one in my family. My stomach looked inverted and I would basically live off the air. My mom had to force feed me most days. While I was in high school, I actually tried to gain weight because I was too skinny. I even used to wear a size 00. Did you even know that size existed? It’s just crazy to me that I was that tiny!
Today, I am still pretty small except after having 3 kids, my body just isn’t the same. Gaining weight is easy and losing it is near impossible. I wish I still had the metabolism I had as a youngster.
Diabetes actually runs in my family so I feel doomed either way. My mom had type 2 and my niece has type 1. I know more people had it in my family too.
During each of my pregnancies, I had the unfortunate opportunity to develop GD! With my last pregnancy, I obviously failed my sugar test and the nurse just told me to skip the 4-hour test and consider myself GD positive. I was at least grateful to skip the 4-hour test but I wasn’t happy about having GD again!
GD is basically having diabetes during pregnancy. Sometimes, some women, like myself have a hard time metabolizing the sugars in our bodies so our pancreas cant work as effectively. After you have your baby, GD is supposed to just go away miraculously.
Having GD makes things a bit difficult during pregnancy. There are certain foods you cant eat, you’ll need to do the blood sugar checks, and sometimes you’ll need to take diabetic medication. With my first 2 kiddos, I never had to take the medications but with my third one, my blood sugars were out of control so I had no choice.
My diet consisted of a diabetic diet. Here is an example of a menu with GD:
Breakfast- One piece of whole wheat toast with a scrambled egg and a sprinkle of cheese.
Snack- String cheese and half an apple.
Lunch- Green salad with grilled chicken and a small amount of dressing.
Snack- 1 TBSP peanut butter and half of an apple.
Dinner- 2 chicken or beef tacos, zoodle spaghetti or any other low carb option you can think of.
Usually, you do your GD test at around 26 weeks gestation so if you’re positive then that’s a long way of dieting until birth. It was really hard getting used to eating that small of an amount. Eating was just for survival and not enjoyment at all. That’s hard during pregnancy because that’s the one time you want to eat what you want to eat and not diet! I was only able to gain about 25 pounds during all of my pregnancies.
Complications With GD
Most often times women who have GD will give birth to healthy babies. However, some of the effects can be more serious. Here is a list of complications that can occur if you have Gestational Diabetes:
Excessive birth weight- Some babies grow too big in the womb which can cause birthing injury or c-sections. Luckily this didn’t happen for me but my first 2 babies were large. My first was 8 lb 3 oz and my second was 8 lb 8 oz!
Respiratory distress- The mother’s high blood sugars can increase the likelihood of preterm labor. If the baby is born too early, their lungs are underdeveloped and they will need interventions to help them breathe until their lungs are mature enough. Even moms who have their blood sugars controlled can still have babies with respiratory distress. My first born was born with respiratory distress and I thought I had my blood sugars pretty under control. This labor was also incredibly fast so I really dont know if it was my Gestational Diabetes or the fast labor that caused her to have respiratory distress. Either way, it was scary and she was in the NICU for 5 days!
Low blood sugars- In the womb, the babies own pancreas is working overtime to counteract the high blood sugars. Out of the womb, the insulin the babies body is producing will plummet their blood sugars severely which can cause seizures. However, this can be prevented by early feedings or an IV glucose drip. This is why when the baby is born, they are frequently checking the babies blood sugar levels to prevent any issues. When I was in the hospital, they were always checking my babies blood sugars but I knew it was for their own good so I was fine with them sticking their heels. My babies luckily never had blood sugar issues. I tried hard to nurse them frequently to prevent any issues and it seemed to have worked. If you’re unable to nurse your baby then bottle feeding is totally fine! Just as long as they are being fed!
Type 2 diabetes- If you develop GD then there is a risk of you and your child developing type 2 diabetes in the future. I know I am at a high risk for type 2 so I am trying to make healthy choices now to try and prevent it. I exercise daily, drink lots of water, try to stay away from sugary foods(sometimes I’ll have a treat, I am only human), lower carb foods, and high fiber.
Hopefully, this isn’t scaring you! The point of this is to educate you so you can control your blood sugars during pregnancy and keep you and baby safe!
Dieting during pregnancy totally sucks but it is a small sacrifice to make so you can have a healthy baby and a healthy life!
I hope you never have to deal with GD but sometimes it happens and the tips I give are here to help you work through Gestational Diabetes.
Have you ever had Gestational Diabetes? How did you handle it? What are some tips that you have to get through it? Please let me know what did or didn’t work for you during your pregnancies with Gestational Diabetes!