So, I have Gestational Diabetes…

Every pregnant girl knows that if they fail the 1-hour glucose tolerance test that they will have to take the follow-up 3-hour test.  But, I’d bet most girls don’t know what happens if they fail both tests.  Well, let me explain… first you’ll get the official diagnosis of “gestational diabetes” then you’ll leave the doctor’s office with all of this crap:

gd test equip

That black case holds my blood glucose meter along with the test strips and lancets (needles).  It’s small enough to carry in my purse so I’ll have it available whenever I need to test my blood.  To properly dispose of my used needles, I also had to pick up a “sharps container” (that big red tub) which safely stores medical type waste until it’s time to be thrown away.


Here’s the story… and I’ll try to keep it as short as I can.

My doctor called last Monday and said “I’m calling with your 3-hour glucose test results, and you’re not going to like it…”  I took a deep breath, said ok, and started asking questions.  She first explained that the risks to baby are very minor and then told me I needed to meet with a dietitian at the hospital who specializes in treating patients with gestational diabetes (we can call it “GD” for short).

I called my husband right away so I could tell him the news and let him know what we needed to do.  I was cool, calm and collected for the first half of the conversation… but the tears eventually had to make an appearance.  I was worried, upset and mad.  How could this possibly happen to me and baby???  I eat healthier than anyone I know and there’s no way that I’m close to overweight even considering the weight I’ve gained so far with this pregnancy!

We met with the dietitian on Wednesday and she quickly explained that GD is not necessarily caused by unhealthy eating habits, but instead it’s my pancreas that’s to blame.  Evidently, a pregnant woman’s pancreas needs to produce 3 times the amount of insulin that a normal woman’s pancreas produces when not pregnant.  So, my pancreas just isn’t handling the pregnancy as well as it should and therefore isn’t producing enough insulin.

The diet for GD is surprisingly much more strict than I ever imagined it could be.  It consists of 3 small meals and 3 large snacks for each day. Each meal and snack must have at least 1 ounce of protein (1 oz = 1 egg) and the amount of carbohydrates allowed ranges from only 30-40 grams per serving (30 grams = 1/2 bagel).  Sugar is totally out… absolutely no candy, no cake, no ice cream, no yogurt, etc.  Luckily, small amounts of fruit are allowed, but only after lunch time and it must be consumed along with a protein (like cheese, that goes well with fruit).

I have to test my blood sugar 4 times each day.  Once when I wake up (my fasting glucose) then three more tests are done 2 hours after each meal.  Believe it or not, this part I actually enjoy.  I look forward to when it’s time to test my blood and get excited to see what the number is based on what I did or didn’t have to eat for my last meal.  I blame this on that nerdy scientist in me!

Today is day #3 on my new GD diet and for testing my blood sugar.  So far, I have 10 readings that are well below my target blood glucose level and only 1 reading that was actually higher than normal/average levels.  My one bad blood test happened 2 hours after eating Subway!  I was in a rush yesterday and starving… so in a pinch I thought Subway was my best option.  I had a veggie sandwich (avocado, spinach, tomato & cheese) on flat-bread with Sun Chips.  I must have completely blown my limit of 40 grams of carbs because my blood sugar level was 135 when I tested 2 hours after eating.  That’s an entire 15 mg/dl above the maximum blood sugar level of 120 that I’m supposed to be under.  Dang!

So, I obviously need to really watch what I’m eating and make sure I’m sticking to this new diet for GD.  In most cases, women who develop GD during pregnancy will be completely free from any issues with maintaining blood sugar levels once the baby is born.  I’ve already been told by my doctor and dietitian that I can stop testing my blood and go off my diet after delivery!   Woohoo!  I already can’t wait to have just the tiniest bit of dessert when this is all over… and until then, I’ll definitely be dreaming of cake and ice cream and all things full of sugar and carbs! 🙂


20 comments on “So, I have Gestational Diabetes…

  1. Oh no! That stinks. =/ Props to you for staying on top of things, though, a lot of people can’t manage without their sweets & carbs. If it makes you feel any better, I’m starting plasmapheresis on Monday (basically plasma transfusions, swapping my blood plasma with donor plasma). Hopefully I’ll get some relief from the itching and get my bile acid levels under control. So I am totally with you on this complicated pregnancy business. *sigh* Enjoy the rest of your weekend though!

  2. […] i have my glucose tolerance test tomrrow… i’m nervous, especially after tiny, little kearney got her GD diagnosis. i’m a mtn dew drinker, i drink at least one a day. selfishly, if have […]

  3. Oh man!! That is a bummer. And thanks for the info – I had no idea that’s what happened with you failed both tests. Take care!!

  4. I am so glad they have testing that catches these things. I know it has to suck, but what a lucky baby to have you taking such good care of yourself! 🙂

  5. I really am so sorry that you have to endure this, but it sounds like you’re doing a good job managing it so far! Even though you failed after the healthy Subway lunch, I’m sure it taught you something and will just help you more down the road. The good news is — only 9 weeks left, yay…and 7 weeks for me thank goodness! haha

  6. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about this!! Keep your head up…baby will be here before you know it!! Be sure to pack some candy bars in your hospital bag =]

  7. Sorry you have to go through this….but if it means a healthy baby, then it’s all worth it!! My mother in law had GD when she was pregnant with my husband but didn’t have it for her second pregnancy. So perhaps on your second baby (assuming you plan on a second baby) you will be in the clear. Either way, hang in there, your time of pregnancy is coming nearer and nearer to the end!! I understand your frustration and anger. I would feel the same way since I try so hard to be healthy with my diet and exercise. Only 9 weeks until you can eat a well-deserved dessert! 🙂

    • That’s definitely one of my biggest fears with this… having GD for later pregnancies too. They say you have about a 90% chance of developing it again with the next pregnancy. But, maybe I’ll be lucky and end up like your mother-in-law!

  8. I’m so sorry you have to deal with all of this! It seems like you’re keeping a really positive attitude about it though and working through it. At least it’s for a short while and soon enough you’ll be meeting your little boy and this will be in the past.

  9. Becky–I failed my 1-hour glucose test, so I’m tucking my tail between my legs and heading in first thing tomorrow morning for my 3-hour test. I could very well be in your boat…keeping fingers crossed (and trying not to stress out over this too much).

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this… honestly, I really didn’t take the news very well when I found out I failed that 1-hour test. Hopefully you are in a better mindset than I was at that time.

      I’ve heard that it’s actually pretty common to fail the 1-hour test, but much less common to fail the 3-hour. So, I’m thinking the odds are in your favor that you’ll pass this 2nd test! I’ll definitely keep my fingers crossed for you though. Good Luck tomorrow!

      • Thanks for the encouragement! I also had a tough time when I found out I failed the 1-hour test. I felt pretty devastated. I took the 3-hour test this morning, and oh boy! That is no joke! I felt extremely sick for the entire first hour or more. It felt like I was going to puke and pass out. I was so hot and dizzy too….did you feel this way during your test? I’m just glad it’s over and now I can move on. Whatever the results are, it’s out of my control. I won’t find out results until early next week.

      • Yes, actually I did feel pretty much the same. I spent nearly the whole 1st hour in the bathroom trying my hardest not to puke, then the nurse actually made me lie down for the 2nd hour because I looked so pale. I felt way better during the 3rd hour… it was weird, like I got some crazy boost of energy somehow?!?!

        I don’t know for sure what that all means, because I actually passed the first two blood tests. It was the 2 hour and 3 hour tests that my blood sugar was too high.

        Oh, and I majorly crashed when I got home from the test… shaking, hot sweats, nauseous, and I actually had to eat my lunch while I was laying down because I thought I was going to pass out! It was pretty scary really.

        Don’t worry about what the results are until you hear for sure… just be glad you are done with that stupid test!!! Blah 😦

      • Oh you poor thing….but I can relate to how you felt. I had NO IDEA how hard this test was going to be. I thought it would feel similar to the 1-hour test, but NO WAY…
        During hour 1 felt very similar to your hour 1. I wasn’t in the bathroom, but I was in a private room in a recliner chair violently shaking, dizzy, sweating bullets, and extremely nauseous (I felt like I could’ve puked too). I was to the point of tears most of that hour because I felt so awful. I knew there was no way I was allowed to puke because I didn’t want to have to re-test!!

        During the end of the first hour and into the 2nd hour, I talked to my mom on the phone while lying down in the recliner chair and the distraction seemed to really help me (rather than focusing on how sick I was feeling). In hour 2 I did notice that I no longer felt like I was going to pass out or die.

        Then in hour 3 I was talking to my sister on the phone while I sat in the recliner (again, distraction was very appreciated). At that point I felt pretty decent and I was just excited that I was almost done.

        Since I’ve been home I have felt a ton better, but by no means “normal”…..I spent the entire afternoon lying on the couch feeling no energy and crummy. I finally forced myself to get up and go to the gym, but that was kind of a joke. I barely had any energy to power through a workout, so I kept my level pretty easy and short.

        I’ll keep you posted on the results. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not going to worry about the results until I hear back. I will eat cake at my baby shower and not worry:) Have a great weekend!

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