What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in pregnancy circles, but many people still don’t understand exactly what it is. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). It causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Some of the complications it can cause include increased likelihood of needing a C-section to deliver and your baby may be affected in ways like high birth weight, early birth, or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). One positive with gestational diabetes, as opposed to other forms of diabetes, is that your blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. However, once you’ve had it your chances of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was 26 years old and seven months pregnant with my first child. My mother had it with both of her pregnancies, which put me at a higher risk, and I spent the first five months watching what I ate, walking often, and doing yoga with a friend. As the pregnancy continued, I got distracted from my health as the stress over life changes increased.
After diagnosing me, my Obstetrician sent me to a specialist who taught me how to control my gestational diabetes with diet and exercise. I started learning about blood sugar levels, so I could know what was healthy, and I took my blood sugar level 3-4 times a day. It was an easy and relatively painless process, and I quickly learned how to find the best spots on my fingers. I learned how to control my diet by making a meal plan, prepping my food, and making careful decisions on what to eat and when. I also started going walking again, and I found that even short ten minute walks after lunch allowed me a little more wiggle room in my diet. All of these life changes were made easier by having the support of my family, my friends, and my co-workers.
Another change I needed to make in my life, was to find a way to deal with my stress that didn’t involve food and sweets. A friend recommended Dr. Michelle Chard, the amazing pregnancy specialist here at Active Family, and we could say that the rest is history. Dr. Chard helped relieve my stress and pain and her adjustments helped make the rest of my pregnancy comfortable. And even better, it started a relationship with a knowledgeable, friendly group of people who I now have the privilege of working with.
Things to Think About
Pregnancy can be a stressful time with all of new things that happen to your body, and with gestational diabetes there are not a lot of visible signs or symptoms, so it is very important to be in regular contact with your health care provider throughout your pregnancy. Being aware of how at risk you are for developing gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy related issues, and taking charge of your diet and exercise from the start are a great way to lower your chances of developing a problem. The majority of us use food to manage our emotions. Identifying your emotions and finding a healthy way of dealing with them whether it is exercise or relaxation such as a warm bath, reading a book or getting a massage can be so helpful in managing everything.
Abigail has been a CA at Active Family since Fall of 2016. She is married and has one daughter who is 2.5 years old.