Tales of the 3rd Trimester: Gestational Diabetes

Update: I failed. I failed the one-hour glucose screening. 

With flying colors. 

I was one point away from an automatic GD rating. I didn’t even need to go for the three-hour glucose tolerance test. One point away from an automatic diagnosis. I spoke with my doctor and we mutually agreed on skipping the three-hour ordeal and setting up an appointment with a nutritionist. He’d rather overtreat than undertreat and I couldn’t agree more. I wanted to do what was best for my little baby girl and if it meant skipping out on dessert for the next couple of weeks, I could do it.

This was the only time where Google was my friend; I immediately took to the site and started my search. What is gestational diabetes? What was the risk to my baby? To my own health? Would I have to cut out everything I loved from my diet or are there just certain types of food to avoid? There are a ton of reputable sites out there that gave me exactly the answers I was looking for… although some made me more nervous than not, I decided not to check any more sites until I spoke with a nutritionist.

After the weekend, I immediately made an appointment with a nutritionist. I sat with her for over an hour and we discussed what gestational diabetes was all about. In a nutshell, during pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can make enough insulin to handle that. If not, your blood sugar levels will rise and which can cause gestational diabetes.

She asked what I usually eat in a given day (I was very honest) and all about this new phase of pregnancy I was about to embark on.  After listening to me describe all the food I shovel into my mouth on a daily basis, she said I actually don’t eat terribly (woohoo!), but a few things needed to be tweaked, and some items taken out completely (RIP bagels and ice cream).

She gave me a packet, we went through each food group, what was good to eat and when, and we set up a daily plan. She also ordered me a blood glucose monitor. I would have to prick myself 4x a day (once upon waking, then two hours after every main meal) and record my blood glucose numbers. In 10 days, I’d go back and they will assess if I need medicine or not. She also reassured me that this was not something I could’ve controlled on my own; the fact that I have slight PCOS, coupled with my placenta and hormones… they were elevating my levels. (That damn placenta – always in the way!) But with diet and exercise, she said I should be able to manage this on my own.

I was nervous; tracking food was never my thing, but this time around it was different. It wasn’t about me, it’s about my growing baby and if I need to write down every last morsel and prick myself a bunch of times then so be it. What I learned was that once I deliver the baby and the placenta, gestational diabetes will more than likely disappear. Just like that. Of course, the hospital will monitor the baby (they will anyway, regardless if the mother has GD or not) and my doctor will test me a couple of weeks after giving birth to see if my levels have evened out.

Once I became informed, I was no longer nervous. I trusted the nutritionist and my doctor and I was hell bent on controlling this for both myself and my baby. As with anything, if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything.

Stay tuned for some GD friendly recipes that have been working for me!