Are you getting ready to take your one hour glucose test or have you already taken it? If you know you have gestational diabetes already or want to know what it means to have it you came to the right place.
Everything you need to know about gestational diabetes and tips for managing it is right here in one place so keep reading!
You drink the Koolaid that has very little flavor but is a bit sweet and then you head in to take the glucose one hour test.
You are nervous like you are going to take an exam that you didn’t study for and you are afraid of failing it.
Then you get the call a day later that you did in fact fail, your heart sinks into your feet and feel numb inside.
In your head, you are thinking how could this have happened? What did I do wrong? Your worst fear or one of them has come true and now you aren’t sure what is going to happen to you or this baby you love so much.
I hear you momma, this was me just a few weeks ago and it was hard to hear, I felt like the whole world was crashing in around me and the tears wouldn’t stop pouring down my face.
You are not alone in this and you don’t have to be scared, you can do this!! Yes, it seems like a lot but it is a hurdle you can get over and I am going to show you the easy way to manage your blood sugar and tips to help you get through this.
Let’s start at the beginning and work our way through from prevention to your gestational diabetes diet. Yuck I know I said diet but it’s not as bad as you think, stay with me!
tips for managing gestational diabetes
When you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes you will have an appointment to see a dietitian to talk about your diet, how to eat along with using the glucose meter you had to pick up at the pharmacy.
Your doctor will go over any questions you may have on what this means about your baby’s health and the effects it can have on you.
I am not a medical professional so I am not here to diagnose or treat gestational diabetes, rather educate you and help you see that this is something you can handle and the easiest way to do just that.
You will be scheduled for monthly ultrasounds to make sure your baby is growing, poke your finger four times a day an hour or two after each meal as well as when you first wake up and have to turn in blood sugar readings each week to your doctor.
None of these things are a big deal just added precautions to make sure you have a healthy baby and a good pregnancy.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes? Here are the signs and symptoms that you may have noticed in your second trimester or start of your third.
This is what the American Pregnancy Association says to look for:
- Frequent Urination – Not just the usual having to use the bathroom but having to go more than every fifteen minutes.
- Unusual Thirst – Having thirst that simply can’t be quenched no matter how much you drink.
- Fatigue – Feeling super tired all the time and completely drained before you even start the day.
- Nausea – Feeling sick in between meals along with lightheadedness.
- Blurred Vision – You feel like your eyes are getting worse by the day and you can’t see clearly what you normally have been able to.
If you noticed any of these, they are telltale signs of being diabetic and no you aren’t going crazy!
These help explain why you feel like crap a lot and knowing what is wrong is half the battle here.
Once you know what causes you to feel terrible you can finally feel better by following your doctor and dietitians guidelines.
Can you prevent it?
Is there a way to prevent getting gestational diabetes? I would like to think that there is but in reality you really can’t.
In my last pregnancy, I did take fish oil and vitamin B6 along with vitamin D3 and I want to think that these helped me not get it last time but I was a little younger then as well!!!
Here are the factors that increase your chances of getting gestational diabetes according to U.S. department of health and human services.
- Overweight or very overweight
- Related to anyone with diabetes or type 2 diabetes
- Hispanic/Latino/African American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Older than 25
- If you had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy, stillbirth or miscarriage, or had a large baby more than nine pounds.
- If you ever had problems with Insulin or blood sugar.
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.
All of these make your chances of getting gestational diabetes higher than someone without them.
Know that you didn’t do anything wrong and even if you eat a healthy diet as I did you can still get gestational diabetes.
where should your glucose levels be?
Here are the normal sugar levels for pregnant women with diabetes.
When you are fasting such as when you first wake up it should be lower than 95 mg/cl.
Two hours after eating it should be less than 120 mg/cl and if your doctor wants you to check one hour after meals as mine does, it should be lower than 140 mg/cl.
The farther along you are in your pregnancy and all the changing hormones affect the insulin levels in your body and can make you more insulin resistant causing blood sugars to rise.
How to handle your diagnoses
It’s okay to freak out and cry for days over being diabetic, it can be very shocking and overwhelming for you especially with raging hormones.
I cried for a week and finally started to get a handle on it after talking to my doctor and my boss at work who had it when she was pregnant.
Your mind may go to the worst case scenario, you need to reel that in and know that in most cases the worst thing happens when you don’t follow the doctors’ diet instructions and you end up not controlling your sugar.
If you do as you are instructed and your glucose level isn’t controlled by diet then they will give you medication to help control it.
Only the most extreme cases have to take insulin shots everyday so don’t freak out.
Tips on what to eat
Let’s get down to what you should be eating now that you have gestational diabetes.
You will need to eat smaller meals five times a day, that means breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner.
The upside to this is that you will have less heartburn at night and throughout the day and will start to have more energy and feel better. At this point all of this is good!!
You may feel like you can’t have any carbs or bread, even sweets but this isn’t the truth.
The term everything in moderation fits here!! You can have your cake and eat it too just make sure you eat a little piece and (by little I mean a tiny portion like 1″ by 1″ or smaller) eat it with your meal not separately.
You can have pasta and carbs but small amounts with more vegetables and protein than carbs on your plate.
food that helps stabilize glucose and blood sugar
Eating nonstarchy vegetables will help to stabilize your blood sugar, they do not contain carbohydrates which can raise your blood sugar levels.
- Bean Sprouts
- Salad Greens – leafy ones like lettuce and spinach.
Some fruit has the ability to stabilize your blood sugar as well, these fruits are listed as follows.
Eat whole grain and high fiber foods, they will fill you up more than the starchy alternatives and keep you from having really high blood sugar.
- Eat dried beans
- Black beans
- Brown rice
- Whole grain high fiber bread
Serving sizes and how much you need of each food group
Here are the number of servings you need each day of vegetables, dairy, protein, fruit, and grains.
Each day you need at least 180 grams of carbohydrates that means about 30 grams for breakfast, 30 at snack time, 30-45 at lunch, another 15 for a mid snack and 45 to 60 at dinner.
Note that these can vary depending on your pregnancy and dietary needs, your dietitian can give you more information on what you need.
Vegetables: 6 or more of these – 2 cups raw leafy vegetables, 1 cup raw vegetables, and 1/2 cup cooked vegetables.
Dairy: 3 servings – 1 cup of 1% milk or fat free milk, 3/4 of yogurt, 1 cup of soy milk that has calcium.
Protein: 6 or more servings – 1 ounce of chicken, fish, cheese or lean meat, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1 ounce of nuts, 2 tbs of nut butter or peanut butter, 1/2 cup of tofu.
Fruit: 2 servings – Unsweetened fruit, limit dried fruit as it has a lot of sugar to less than 1/4 cup, 1 cup melon, 1/2 banana, a small apple, 1/2 strawberries or blueberries, and any other colorful fruit.
Grains: 7 servings – 1 slice whole wheat bread or tortilla, 1/2 cup cooked beans that were dried, 1/3 cup cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta, and 1/2 cup of potato such as sweet potatoes.
This gives you an idea of your daily needs and the dietitian will give you a more detailed list of things to choose from for each food group.
Final thoughts and tips for managing gestational diabetes
Being pregnant is hard enough without having to worry about having high blood sugar and all the testing and extra precautions you have to take now.
After testing for a week or so you will come to know the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and find what works for you so that you don’t feel dizzy or sick.
On the bright side at least you have a solution for the fatigue you have been going through and can do something to make it better!!!
If you stick with smaller healthy meals and keep your blood sugar even you have nothing to worry about.
Yes, it’s hard to have to go through all of this extra stuff right now but you will feel better!!
If you have been struggling with being tired for most of your pregnancy you will notice that keeping your blood sugar under control will help you have more energy and feel a thousand times better than you have been.
Space out all your meals and snacks and try to eat them at the same time every day.
You will get sick of eating the same food over and over so try to mix it up a bit each day so this doesn’t happen.
Remember that all of this is for your baby, when it gets tough don’t forget this.
You want your little one to have the best start and following the plan your doctor and dietitian set for you is the best thing you can do for your baby.