Gestational Diabetes – Expectation Vs. Reality

Hello there! If you don’t know me yet, I am Flo! I am a new mum and I like to share today my experience with gestational diabetes. I chose this post because recently I was asked to give some advice to a mum-to-be that was just diagnosed and it reminded me of the times when I found out I have it.

I chose to do expectation vs. reality because everything appeared so distorted in my mind, but actually it was completely different.

Finding out – I was at risk of developing gestational diabetes because of my weight prior to being pregnant, and kind of expected to get this diagnosis, but when I went to the hospital and did the test I continued hoping it’s just in my head and nothing is real. But the truth hit me hard as it had a huge emotional impact on me. I am a nurse and was familiarised with how to keep diabetes under control, but the fact that I was pregnant scared me more as I didn’t quite know how would this affect me or my baby. Everyone started saying not to panic as it’s a very common condition developed during pregnancy that will disappear after giving birth, but my brain was bored of being at home for so long that started making all kind of scenery with horrid endings. In this case the expectationwas to cope better with a diagnosis like that, but in reality, no matter how prepared I thought I was, it was a slap in the face.

Medical support – I think I was in shock for 2 days. In those 2 days I couldn’t make no plan at all for what it was to do next. I remember I was called at the hospital for an induction (which made me feel like I was starting a new job) and in the waiting room 8 out of 10 patients suffered with gestational diabetes. This made me realised I wasn’t the only one (duh) and that everything will be alright. That’s when I started relaxing. I was introduced to the team that was about to look after me (obstetrician, diabetes nurse specialist, diabetes doctor specialist, midwife, dietitian, residential doctors and volunteers) and was giving a lot of materials to real and phone numbers to contact in case of emergency or unpredictable changes. In that moment the obstetrician decided to keep me under supervision and booked me for 2 weekly scans. The expectationin this case was to receive very little information and to feel like I’m alone in all this and that’s what made it very hard to cope with the thought, but in realityI received more support that I could ever wished for and this gave me strength to fight this and to focus more on my baby, instead of being stressed.

Checking the blood sugar levels – Gestational diabetes appears when your body does not produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs in pregnancy, resulting In high blood sugar levels. In UK the Glucose Tolerance Test is recommended at 26 weeks in pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with this condition you will be advised to check the blood sugar levels 6 times a day until you give birth, before and 30 minutes after each important meal. The expectationwas that this will be a simple action for me to take, but in realityit was uncomfortable, painful and tiring. For a reason (unknown by me) I could only use one hand for testing (“stabbing” the last three fingers for a drop of blood), and after a while I couldn’t feel the tips of my fingers no more (despite the fact I “stabbed myself on the side of the finger – like I was supposed to). Carrying everything with me (glucometer, strips and lancets, yellow bin and cotton balls) at all times was disturbing and for a heavily pregnant woman, quite annoying, but I kept reminding myself that I was doing it for the baby.

Diet and exercises – The diet in pregnancy is very important, especially in gestational diabetes. If the blood sugar levels are not kept under control it can affect the sugar that is transmitted from mother to fetus through placenta, causing for the pancreas (organ that produces insulin) to produce more insulin that the baby needs, in result, your unborn baby will put on extra weight. The first thing you can do to avoid this is to keep a diabetic diet and to exercise daily at least 30 minutes. The expectationwas to do this fairly easy, with the well being of my baby in mind, but, honestly, in realityall I could think about was pickled melon and sweets. Towards the end of my pregnancy walking was very difficult, imagine exercising… If you want a post about some meal ideas leave a comment down below.

Medication– To make sure the blood sugar levels are kept under control, the doctor will prescribe some medication, depending on how unpredictable the diabetes is. I had one tablet of Metformin a day in the beginning, but ended up increasing the dose towards the end of my pregnancy. My expectancywas to need insulin, which was my biggest fear, but in realityI didn’t need it. This doesn’t mean my diabetes wasn’t unpredictable enough, because I felt hopeless after my 35thweek of pregnancy as the blood sugar levels were so high without any reason. But this is how gestational diabetes works, unfortunately.

Givingbirth – When I found out about having gestational diabetes I was afraid mostly of the risk of hurting my baby in any way or another. The expectancywas to give birth naturally, but having a struggle as she was at risk of growing too big. In reality, I was induced twice, unsuccessfully though, and ended up with an emergency C-Section, just because the baby did not react well to the attempt of induction, but her weight was quite normal, nothing like I imagined.

The postnatal GTT – Six weeks after giving birth I was asked to go and have another Glucose Tolerance Test at the hospital, to make sure my diabetes disappeared. I was quite a pessimist and my expectancywas to receive bad news, but in realitythis is where my diabetes story ends, hopefully. I still remain at risk of developing type II diabetes in future, so is Arianna, but the changes we had to do in our lifestyle can be a different subject to discuss, in a different post. If you want a post about this leave a comment down below.

This is not a post with medical advice! I only reflected my experience with this condition and my thoughts about it along the journey. Please listen to your doctor and your healthcare team about what you should do and what to avoid after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

This is all for today, but I will make another post on Wednesday! Stay tuned and subscribe to my email list to receive a notification when the new post will be published.

Stay safe,

Flo

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Hi! My name is Flo and I am the mum of Arianna. I enjoy doing crafts with my kid and writing. I have started this blog to combine the two and to help others as well to get ideas and embrace motherhood the way I did. As a full time working mum, I do have struggles, and finding the balance between family and career is still a big issue for me. My blog reflects my struggles and shares the tips I have learnt along my journey, plus a lot of crafts and activities. Please leave your feedback in comments and subscribe if you like my content. Have fun scrolling through my posts!

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