I’ve never felt more betrayed by my body than when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
A few weeks ago, my doctor told me I had to go for a routine blood glucose test to make sure I didn’t have the condition. Honestly, I laughed in his office.
“Do I really have to do this test?” I asked. “I’m going to have to take time off work and I know I don’t have diabetes because I eat well and I’m fit.”
“It’s routine,” he explained. “All mothers have to do it.”
Fast forward to last week and guess what: I have gestational diabetes.
I’m not going to lie, after I failed my first glucose test, I felt like, well, a failure.
When I bombed the second test— dramatically — I cried.
Essentially, gestational diabetes is when hormones from the placenta block insulin and prevent the body from regulating blood sugars.
Basically, it has (almost) nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Thanks, hormones.
Who is most at risk?
- Women who are overweight;
- Women who have a higher level of abdominal fat;
- Women over the age of 35;
- Women with a family history of diabetes;
- Women who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American descent;
- Women with a personal history of gestational diabetes.
The only factor I have? I’m Asian. OK, great.
So, what are the symptoms?
- Unusual thirst;
- Frequent urination in large amounts;
- Sugar in the urine.
I have none of these symptoms.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
As someone who follows an extremely healthy diet (I don’t even have a sweet tooth!) and exercises regularly, I felt conned when my doctor called to tell me he was putting me in touch with a nutritionist who would introduce me to a strict diet.
Her job will be to follow my pregnancy over the next 10 weeks.
My job is to follow the diet (limiting carbs and eliminating bad sugars), keep a food log and take regular blood glucose readings before and after ever meal.
If the diet doesn’t go well, I’ll have to take medication. If that fails, I may have to deliver early. Not ideal.
All the wallowing aside (what’s the point of being negative?) I know I have to get my blood sugar levels under control or there could be serious complications for myself and baby — including macrosomia, preeclampsia and stillbirth. We also both run the risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the future.
To be continued, I suppose…