Today I had a doctor’s appointment—my 29 week check-up. We’re just 11 weeks away from baby girl’s arrival! I can't believe it!
Today’s appointment was an important one— today they tested me for gestational diabetes. For this test, they give you a VERY sugary drink, and test your blood sugar levels an hour later, to see how your body has processed all of the sugar. It was like drinking straight snow-cone juice or something. And it made Eisley go crazy and kick around a lot!
Basically, if your blood sugar is between certain levels, they make you go for more tests. If it is above a certain level, they do not make you do more testing, but send you directly to the diabetes education center at the hospital to train you in the ways of diabetes. Well, my blood sugar levels were well above that marker— so they determined that I do, in fact, have gestational diabetes. What does this mean for me & the baby? Here are a few questions & answers (and my best attempt at answering them, considering I just learned about this today!):
What causes gestational diabetes?
Pregnancy itself is the cause. During pregnancy, the baby needs food from me—the umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta, and my glucose feeds the baby by way of the placenta and the cord. The placenta makes hormones that raise my blood glucose. Some women, like me, for whatever reason, cannot make enough insulin to cover this increased need for insulin during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is the result.
Has any harm been done to the baby as a result of this, up to this point?
No. Eisley is most likely very healthy. The reason they do this test at this point is because THIS is the point at which problems COULD occur if this condition goes untreated. I go early next week to the Diabetes Education Center—they will train me on how to check my blood sugar, how to monitor my diet, how to give myself insulin shots if needed, etc.
Will Eisley be healthy?
Yes, I can have a healthy baby! The most important thing is that I keep my glucose levels as close to normal as possible. I will probably have more frequent tests to check the heart rate, growth, and movement— they monitor these things more closely just in case, but in all honesty-- babies whose moms have gestational diabetes aren't any less healthy than babies whose moms do not have gestational diabetes.
What are the most common risks in delivery?
Eisley will most likely be a very large baby—that is the most common effect of gestational diabetes. So that means that the chances of having a c-section delivery are pretty high, and a natural delivery might be more difficult. This is the greatest disappointment for me. I am hoping to have a natural delivery, and now the chances of that happening could be lower if Eisley does turn out to be a bigger baby. I am not concerned about the health of Eisley or myself in the event of a c-section delivery (my doctor is very competent!). I had just hoped for a natural delivery experience. There’s still a chance that could happen, but I need to also start preparing for a c-section delivery just in case.
The baby could also have low blood sugar in the first few hours or days after birth. This is nothing to be concerned about, really. They know how to monitor and treat it. The chances that the baby herself will have diabetes after she is born are very very small.
The chances of these things happening are made smaller the better I keep my blood glucose levels under control. So although I HATE the idea of a restricted diet, it’s definitely going to be something I’ll work at so that Eisley (and I) will be as healthy as possible!
Will I have diabetes after the baby is born?
85-90% of the time, this form of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. They’ll monitor me for a couple of weeks after delivery just to make sure everything has gone back to normal.
This also means that in any future pregnancies I may have, there is a 90% chance of me having gestational diabetes again.
What will my day-to-day look like from here on out?
I will have to check my glucose levels somewhere around 4-7 times per day. This involves pricking my finger and testing my blood on those lovely testing strips. If insulin is needed, I’ll need to give myself a shot. I will also have to keep a very detailed log of those levels to show to my doctor.
I go back to the doctor in one week so they can check in on me again and see how my diet, exercise, and new regimen of checking my blood sugar has been working.
Just wanted to let you know what’s going on with us. I am not worried— you should not be either! This is just another fun adventure in pregnancy!