Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gestational Diabetes & What I've Learned about Blood Glucose

Several weeks ago I took my first blood glucose test and failed it miserably. So I got the 3-hour test next and hoped I'd pass. But I failed it by quite a bit too. So I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes - and spent the next few weeks in denial. But it's true, I have it. I'm not that happy about it.

I tried to monitor my blood glucose levels by testing with my kit
-before breakfast
-1 hour after breakfast
-1 hour after lunch
-1 hour after dinner

My numbers started in the low 90s and then got as high as 179 but usually around 150 or so. Exercise really helps. I walk on a treadmill for 30 mins. or more and my levels would even out for the rest of the day.

I met with a dietitian yesterday and she educated me. I'm supposed to keep my level in the morning 90 or lower and the rest of the day 140 or lower. She explained that it's just for pregnancy and that it's not the same as regular diabetes. For one thing, breakfast should be almost all protein and smaller. I was making a smoothie but I can't eat very much fruit, esp. for breakfast.

I find I can't eat bread or even potatoes (sweet potatoes included) except in very small quantities. I thought beans were healthy, but they are also restricted. These foods are not that tough to give up. What I think is hard to give up is all sweets. But since following the plan I found I can eat 1 bite and my blood sugar is just fine. I'm now staying well within the limits, easily. I also don't feel tortured focusing on how I cannot eat what I want to.

I wish I had a good app or web site to track things. I don't like pricking my finger and remembering to test after meals but it does help to get feedback. It helps me stay motivated and it's interesting how dramatically diet and exercise influence things. Also, I'm surprised at how much protein I need.

My sister had gestational diabetes with just one of her 5 children (not the last one). She's been borderline diabetic ever since. That scared me. We're not overweight and we don't have a history of diabetes in our family. She's more active than I am and I exercise fairly regularly. We both eat healthy too.

I read a lot online about gestational diabetes and there's a lot of different information. My doctor and the dietitian and other people's doctors all have a slightly different take on it. I'm confident that with my diet changes I can manage it without drugs and hopefully not have to test as often. However, it's just 2 months to go. I'm so thankful it will go away.

While I don't plan to go crazy, I will ask for Sees Chocolate, a Frostie as soon as I can eat after Alexis is born. So if you come to visit me in the hospital, don't bring a lot of flowers, bring food!

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