If you’re pregnant, or have been pregnant, you know all about that dreaded glucose test. Gulping down that sugary drink and having your blood drawn may not sound appealing, but it is an important screening test to find out if you have gestational diabetes. Bottoms up!
I was 31 weeks pregnant with my son when I found out I had gestational diabetes. My first glucose test came back positive. I had to take the second test… which meant blood draw after blood draw. Ugh! Many of my friends said false positives were pretty common. That meant I didn’t have it, right? There was no WAY my second test would come back positive. That first test was a fluke.
I had no family history of diabetes, wasn’t overweight, had a pretty uneventful first pregnancy, and my son was measuring small, not large. Those are some of the common factors that can raise your chances for gestational diabetes. I got a call back the very next day that I did in fact have gestational diabetes. I’m pretty sure I burst into tears after hanging up. I was so confused, upset, and worried about my baby. What did I do wrong?
The answer is- nothing. I didn’t do anything wrong. My husband, a resident at the time, sat me down and explained what was going on in my body. The hormones being produced by my placenta, by our baby, was making it difficult for me to use insulin properly. It wasn’t something I had done despite eating one too many Oreo’s after dinner.
Gestational diabetes is actually more common than you think. The internet is full of articles to read, and I read as much as I could, but I really wanted to read about other women’s experiences. Unfortunately I didn’t come across many personal stories and concluded that this wasn’t something women wanted to talk about. Even I withheld the news for a few days before confiding in my closest friends. I was ashamed, confused, and worried about my baby.
Soon after being diagnosed I had an appointment to meet with a nutritionist. I was going to learn what I could and could not eat, how to count carbs and serving sizes, and how to test my blood sugar everyday. Oh joy! Honestly, I was more concerned about what I could eat, because…I really love food. A bare bones diet wasn’t going to be easy for me.
I received so much information at my appointment. This chart was a real lifesaver. Three main meals a day, with three carbohydrate choices and three snacks. Okay, this wasn’t going to be too terrible…I could still have bread, fruit, and plenty of other things I loved, like eggs and cheese. Of course I had to make sure I wasn’t going over the allowed carb count and measure out my portion sizes, but it was doable. Every time I went grocery shopping I read all the nutrition labels. My one treat for the week was a frozen yogurt bar that I found right next to the ice cream! I also had a handy dandy booklet with every food item you can imagine listing how many carbs were in one serving. That was so helpful! Keep in mind that you may not receive this particular meal plan, as they can vary based on your particular case.
Testing my blood sugar four times a day was NOT fun, but I did it, and I got through it. Once I got the hang of it, it became a part of my daily routine. Wake up, check blood sugar, check again after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My doctor had me keep a log of my numbers and checked them at every appointment to make sure everything was going well.
Gestational diabetes can occur in any pregnancy. You can be fit, active, and healthy with no family history. Taking the time to invest in preventive care is so important for you and your baby.