It can be very scary to find out that you have Gestational Diabetes. On average 4% of pregnant women have this disease. The symptoms aren’t always obvious so it is a very important test. Rest assured that there is a lot that you can do to keep yourself and your baby healthy if you receive this news. The key is to educate yourself. Although you may love your OBGYN to pieces, they are not experts in Diabetes care. They will order the initial tests and here is the process:
Between 24 and 28 weeks you will be asked to take a glucose challenge test. If your results come back higher than normal you will be asked to do additional testing. Keep in mind that only about 1/3 of women who test positive on this test actually go on to get diagnosed with this condition. Your doctor will probably schedule a glucose tolerance test next which will give you an actual diagnoses. In some cases your numbers may be so high that this next step will not be necessary.
Educating yourself starts in your doctors office. Find out what resources are available to you. Will you have access to a dietician? Are there classes that you can go to? Books you can read? What advice can he give you to start you off? You can also use your insurance company as a resource. When I was pregnant I was able to utilize additional service outside of my doctors office that really helped. I had no idea that since my doctor now considered me high risk, I would be able to get a massage twice per month to relieve stress! Score!
Inevitably you will go to the internet to educate yourself. It’s a great resource but sometimes the internet can be scary. It will tell you the worst possible things that can happen. Sometimes us women go straight to the worst case scenarios because we want to be prepared for everything! My advice is ..don’t read THAT stuff! Only read what is helpful in caring for yourself. This is a manageable condition that can have a happy ending and most of the time it does. Ignore the “ worst case scenario” stories. Look for diet and exercise advice and positive personal experiences from those who have had this disease.
Your next priority is to find a support system. Usually online support groups are easy to find. This will help keep you encouraged and positive. You will have access to tons of tips and success stories. I recommend babycenter.com. Their are support groups for everything there. It will help you to see that you are not alone and there are some very experienced moms on this site that may have dealt with this diagnoses several times and they have a lot of wisdom to offer.
The next step is really the difference maker.Likely your doctor will have you charting everything you eat including blood sugar readings an hour after each meal. This is the key! Keep the best records that you can. This allows your doctor to keep you and your baby healthy. Usually women are diagnosed as Type 2GD. This means that the doctor feels that there is a possibility that with a strict diet you may not need to take insulin. Many women are able to control this disease with diet. However after some time, your doctor may diagnose you with Type 1GD. This means that you are not able to control your GD with diet and you will need insulin. This comes in several forms so do your research if it comes to this. Just a side not, If you are unable to control your diabetes with diet it is not your fault! Don’t beat yourself up. On the flip side if you are put on Insulin, your diet is still extremely important.
Gestational Diabetes can bring on other complications during pregnancy. The most common one people associate with GD is higher birth weight. Yes it is true that women with GD do tend to have bigger babies. To be on the safe side, make sure you research Cesarian Sections. Many women go on to have normal deliveries, but women with GD do have a higher rate of Cesarean section so educate yourself about this medical procedure just in case.
You can have a perfectly healthy baby with this condition! I did..3 times. I was insulin dependent all 3 times and had perfectly, average weigh, healthy babies each time. After each delivery the GD was gone by the time I left with each sweet little baby.
Last but not least…Women who have had GD have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels by hanging onto that glucose monitor and regularly having your A1C checked by your doctor. Live a healthy lifestyle and you should have no worries!