Gestational Diabetes Rules My Life

I didn’t think much of the Gestational Diabetes screening during my first pregnancy. I chugged the orange drink, waited an hour, then went on my way. This pregnancy, though, I was not so lucky. I had a few hints that I might have gestational diabetes before taking the screening, and the week before Christmas, the diagnosis was confirmed. Yes, I said the week before Christmas, one of the most deliciously carb-loaded holidays of all. My initial response was fear that I had somehow hurt my baby. Once I got over that, joined a few Facebook support groups, and learned from the dietician how to use my glucose meter, my mission was clear. 

Wake Up
Check Blood Sugar
Breakfast: 15-30 g carbs
Check Blood Sugar
Snack: 15 g carbs
Lunch: 30-45 g carbs
Check Blood Sugar
Snack: 15 g carbs
Dinner: 45-60 g carbs
Check Blood Sugar
Snack: 15 g carbs

gestational diabetes

Right after waking up and 2 hours after every meal, I had to check my blood sugar and record it. Needless to say, my habit of eating whatever sounded good quickly had to come to an end. Did I mention it was Christmas?!? I learned taking a 15 minute walk after meals and chugging water could have a dramatic impact on blood sugar numbers. I learned that some women can eat toast in the morning but others would see huge blood sugar spikes. I learned that sometimes I could eat the same thing two days in a row and my numbers would be fine one day and out of range the next. It was a constant game of trying my luck at what foods would work for my body and what wouldn’t. 

While the diet changes were difficult but tolerable (but let’s be honest, I still miss my favorite sweet treats), the hardest part was the militant tracking of every time I ate and setting alarms to remember to check my blood sugar. Having to eat every two to three hours while working full time and raising a 6 year old wasn’t easy. I spend far too much time most days thinking / worrying / obsessing about what I’ll be eating next to make sure I stay within my carb ranges. Then there’s the anxiety about what’s going to pop up on the screen of that glucose meter. Every time I hold my breath a little. 

And heaven forbid we travel out of town or eat out at a restaurant. No one wants to be that person on the family vacation asking when we’re going to breakfast because it’s been too long since they’ve eaten last. Want to sleep in on the weekend? Sorry. Fasting numbers start going up after about 8 hours. Better set that alarm. Going out to run errands? Make sure you have a high protein snack in your purse so you don’t go more than 3 hours without eating. 

Despite all of the frustration, there are a few not-so-bad things about gestational diabetes. It’s been fascinating to see how different foods impact my blood sugar. With my first pregnancy, I gained nearly 50 pounds. This time time, due to diet changes and exercise, I’ve only gained 15. I have significantly more energy and no swelling. My ring still fits at 33 weeks! This diagnosis has forced me to look more closely at my lifestyle and make changes that I should have made years ago. I even quit drinking Coke which is a way bigger deal that it should be. I hope that I’ll be able to take some of my new habits into my postpartum future. But I’ll probably throw in a little cake every now and then.

Ashley grew up in Joplin, Missouri and attended the University of Arkansas where she earned a degree in Finance and Insurance. She met her husband, Jason, in Fayetteville and they have one daughter, Etta Mae. They moved to Baton Rouge in 2013 for Jason's job with the LSU Tigers. Ashley is an extroverted introvert who loves Ted Talks, following politics on Twitter, and figuring out how to get the best deals on everything without paying shipping. If it were up to her, she would get paid to read books and take every college class so that she could learn everything about everything, but instead she pays the bills by working in recruiting for a multinational tech company. Ashley is blessed to have a daughter who is at least as stubborn as she is and a husband who is laid back enough to put up with both of them.

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