What You May Not Know about Gestational Diabetes

Yikes! I am finishing up the 30th week of my pregnancy today and now we’re in the home stretch of 10 weeks or less to go until I am holding my baby in my arms instead of in my womb. Before I get into what I’m learning about gestational diabetes, a quick pregnancy update:

The rollercoaster of emotions is intense as the pendulum swings from joy to fear and sadness to anxiety and all the other feelings in between.

Growing a human is probably one of the greatest honors a person can have. What a privilege but WHAT a responsibility. My mind quickly jumps to my daughter at 5 years old…10 years old..15 years old…and I begin to freak out. Then I remember, I’m not staying 25 for this whole process. I get to grow and change and mature just like she does. My 15 year old daughter will have a 41 year old mother. That is something I can handle (even if the thought of me at 41 is nuts!).

Pregnancy updates this week:

  • weight gain has fluctuated up and down 5 lbs around where I’ve been since week 28
  • i’m getting more and more fatigued and more and more hungry daily
  • my initial 1 hour sugar drink glucose test resulted in an elevated number of 141, the “normal” range is somewhere from 70-130 at my dr office, since I transferred to the birthing center last week, they are allowing me to retake this test again, which i did yesterday, to see if it’s still elevated – if it is, then I’ll do the 3 hour fasted test to see if i am either pre-diabetic or have gestational diabetes
  • i’m still sleeping just fine, not on my back anymore at all, either right or left side with pillows between my legs from groin to ankles
  • swollen legs and ankles daily from working + each morning waking up with calf cramps
  • staying as active as i can, taking 30-60 min walks as well as doing yoga and exercise ball or body exercises as often as i can remember
  • bladder control even worse this week, unexpected coughs or sneezes or hiccups are not ending well
  • baby’s movement is steady and regular, it’s so amazing to feel her stretch out and feel a hand on one side of me and a foot on the other – really gives me perspective for how long she is now
  • baby shower will be in 4 weeks and i’ve officially walked all the aisles of the baby store and added my necessities to my baby registry, excited to share the travel system (stroller+car seat) that I’m getting, it’s a GREAT system for active moms/parents and it’s convertible and will be around until your kid is 50 lbs

Back to gestational diabetes – what a scary phrase!

A quick explanation from the mayo clinic:

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Any pregnancy complication is concerning, but there’s good news. Expectant moms can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby healthy.

Here are some things I’m learning about GD:

– You can get gestational diabetes EVEN IF you are totally healthy, active, and eating well. It’s all about the placenta and how it’s producing insulin-blocking hormones which don’t allow your body to process sugar how it needs to.

– Having gestational diabetes does NOT automatically mean your baby will be huge or preterm. Yes, for some women, having GD causes a higher birth weight, but not for everyone. You can still have a normal sized baby if you have gestational diabetes. While there are possible complications, there is also the possibility of zero complications.

–  You can have elevated results on the 1 hour glucose test and still have normal results on the 3 hour fasted test. Don’t (like I did) immediately freak out and think you automatically will have gestational diabetes because of the first test’s results (unless they are in the diabetic range just from the 1 hour). However, if you test barely elevated, stay calm, and take the 3 hour test.

– If you do get gestational diabetes, your body should return to normal after you deliver, again, just talk with your OB and dietitian. If you’re pre diabetic, and in some cases diabetic, you can control with diet alone before medication is introduced.

 

The bottom line of everything I’ve been told by the doctors, midwives, and mayo clinic and other reputable sources:

don’t freak out, stay as active as possible, and eat really well, cut back on sugar if you eat a lot, and just do your best.

 

Happy gestating to all pregnant readers <3!

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