I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD) in my last two pregnancies and subsequently was monitored very closely.
No one knows what causes it, but you are more likely to develop it if you are overweight (I wasn’t) or previously had a baby over 9lb (I did).
With Isaac they found sugar in my urine at 20 weeks and I was promptly sent for a GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test). This involved fasting overnight and then having bloods taken first thing in the morning. You then get to drink a glucose drink and have to sit around for two hours before they re-test your bloods for sugar levels.
With GD you have a higher risk of stillbirth, and the babies have an increased birth weight so you are more closely monitored. In fact, I was seen every two weeks and scanned every four with both my pregnancies.
I got to know the ante natal staff really well and they were so helpful and really helped me understand the condition and how to manage it.
I initially managed my GD by watching what I ate. The dietitians helped by explaining portion sizes of food and what foods to avoid. I had to test my blood an hour after every meal and keep a record of my blood sugars. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and my fingertips got quite sore but needs must.
I followed a low GI diet as those food take longer to digest and produce less sugar. I allowed myself the occasional treat and would then be shocked at how high my sugars went. Big no no’s were Pizza, curry, fresh orange juice, white bread and cereals!
It was really hard at times and for the last 6 weeks with Isaac and 12 weeks with Eliza I couldn’t keep my sugar levels down with diet alone so I had to start having insulin injections with my meals.
I noticed a real difference immediately although I had to carry round glucose tablets in case my levels went too low. They did a couple of times and it makes you feel really sick and shaky – a horrible feeling.
According to my scans, they believed both would be big babies and they induced me at 38 weeks.
With Isaac I was hooked up to a drip to keep my glucose levels constant, and another to give me the “go faster juice” as I call it. It was a horrible experience as I couldn’t move as I wanted too and pretty much rocked in one spot until I couldn’t stand any longer.
Isaac was born in 2 hours and 10 minutes and weighed just 7lb 12oz.
With Eliza, I spoke to the midwife about my previous experience and she agreed that I didn’t have to have either drip as long as I tested my levels every 15 minutes. It was a pain to do but I was free to move around a little more freely.
Eliza was born after a labour of 2 hours and 9 minutes weighing 7lb 3oz – not exactly huge!
Both Eliza and Isaac were taking to ICU to check their bloods after a feed and this was repeated every 4 hours for 24 hours.
Isaac was a guts and was fine but Eliza’s levels dipped and I was gutted that she had to have a bottle to help them pick up.
Thankfully they are both happy and healthy little people now, with no ill effects.
My GD disappeared straight after birth (you have to go through another GTT), but i am at greater risk of Type 2 diabetes in the future.
The good thing about watching your diet is that the only weight I put on with both pregnancies was baby, and I actually weighed less straight after giving birth than before I was pregnant!
I still watch what I eat to this day (although not as strictly) and I do have one story to share.
I was sat waiting to see the dietitian in the waiting room and one lady was complaining loudly that she couldn’t control her sugar levels, had put on too much weight and her previous baby had been huge. The irony was, as she did this she devoured a whole six pack of sugary jam donuts from Tesco all to herself!