January 26, 2010

Boy Was I Wrong!

My apologies for not posting sooner about the gestational diabetes diagnosis but I wanted to wait until after my second appointment with my nutritionist to make sure I had a good understanding of what I was dealing with.

It all started with this post. I was feeling VERY defeated, mostly because I had a very misconstrued idea of what gestational diabetes was. I thought it was my fault, I thought I had done something wrong, and worst of all I thought I had failed.

Last Thursday I had my first consultation with my new nutritionist. First off she took my weight (up almost 15 lbs) and my blood sugar (73) both of which were normal. Then she taught me how to use my new glucose monitor - good thing it's pretty easy and (fairly) painless since I'd be doing it 4 times a day; fasting before I ate breakfast for the day, then 1 hour after each breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My new best friend.
Photo Credit

Here's some information I found from the American Diabetes Association that I found really helpful:

"Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes in the United States each year.

We don't know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother's insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother's body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.

Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.

How gestational diabetes can affect your baby

Gestational diabetes affects the mother in late pregnancy, after the baby's body has been formed, but while the baby is busy growing. Because of this, gestational diabetes does not cause the kinds of birth defects sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes before pregnancy.

However, untreated or poorly controlled gestational diabetes can hurt your baby. When you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas works overtime to produce insulin, but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels. Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do. So extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood glucose levels. This causes the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.

This can lead to macrosomia, or a "fat" baby. Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth. Because of the extra insulin made by the baby's pancreas, newborns may have very low blood glucose levels at birth and are also at higher risk for breathing problems. Babies with excess insulin become children who are at risk for obesity and adults who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Since my blood sugar levels were only slightly elevated at both my 1hr and 3hr glucose testings my nutritionist hopes we can keep my blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone. I'm very thankful for this because if things are too abnormal or can't be controlled with diet and exercise alone then I'd be forced to give myself insulin shots! Let's hope we can keep things in check! I am to eat about every 3 hours and include protein at every meal and snack and I have been following a 2000 calorie diet of 6 meals a day that look like this:
  • Breakfast = 30 grams of carbs
  • AM Snack = 15 grams of carbs
  • Lunch = 45 grams of carbs
  • PM Snack = 30 grams of carbs
  • Dinner = 45 grams of carbs
  • Evening Snack = 30 grams of carbs
I've never been one to follow a strict diet or count carbs and calories so when I first read my plan I questioned how in the world I'd be able to do this. I'm also supposed to test my blood sugar 4 times a day which I have to tell you is mildly annoying but if these things are the least I have to do to keep myself and Baby GB healthy then I'm not going to complain and I'm going to stick to it. Lets just say I have a new appreciation for those nutritional labels!!! :)

When I get up in the morning before I eat anything I have to test and my number has to be below 95. I also have to test 1 hour after each main meal and my number needs to be below 130. Two high numbers in a row and I am to call my nutritionist.

The first night I had all my information my testing didn't go so well - I ate what I thought was a fairly healthy dinner and I went over 130 - I immediately knew this was going to take a lot more work so I vowed day 2 would be better and it was. I did research, I started tracking every bite I ate into my Sparkpeople.com account, I went grocery shopping for healthy and low carb food options and my numbers have been in check for the last week.

I had my follow up meeting today with my nutritionist where she went over what I've been eating and where my numbers have been for the last week. All is well! She was very impressed at how seriously I was taking it and how well I've been doing. She weighed me again and I'm actually down 4 lbs?! Not that I'm trying to lose weight but that was shocking to me that even while Baby GB is growing (I feel like my belly sticks out further every day now) that I still managed just by eating right to lose weight. She did mention that I should be trying to get about 300 more calories than I've been allowing myself and that I should be exercising more. But other than that I'm on track and as long as my numbers continue to be normal I shouldn't have to meet with her in person again. I do have weekly check in's but I just have to e-mail her my numbers every Wednesday.

I honestly have to say I was 100% completely wrong about GD - I was convinced I didn't have it, that the glucose testings were wrong and that I was already eating healthy. I wasn't - but now that I am I feel great! Its amazing how much more energy I have.

With that, I will leave you with what thebump.com says Baby GB is up to this week... we are now 31 Weeks!!!

Baby's now the size of a squash!

Baby's going through major brain and nerve development these days. His irises now react to light, and all five senses are in working order. (He won't pick up anything from his nose until after birth, though -- smell is transferred through air, not amniotic fluid.)



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