Easy Ways to Manage Gestational Diabetes & Who are at Risk of Getting it
Pregnancy is filled with happy milestones, as well as loads of tests to get done, one of which is the 75 Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. Pregnancy is filled with happy milestones, as well as loads of tests to get done, one of which is the 75 Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.
This is usually done between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy, but in some cases it's done earlier.
You will not be permitted to eat or drink anything for 12-14 hours prior to the test, so it is best to schedule the test for first thing in the morning.
Additionally, you should plan to have someone drive you to and from the test, since your energy levels may be low and there is a slight possibility you may feel light headed.
When you arrive, a nurse will draw blood to measure your baseline “fasting blood glucose level”. You will be asked to drink a concentrated solution of Glucose. You are not allowed to vomit, eat or drink until the test is completely performed. Your blood will be drawn and tested every hour for the next three hours.
I'm telling you, it wasn't fun. What was less fun for me, was discovering I had Gestational Diabetes, this round of pregnancy. I attended a seminar at Makati Medical Center (upon the advice of my endocrinologist) which discussed how to manage GDM via meal-planning and glucose monitoring.
BUT FIRST, WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF DEVELOPING GESTATIONAL DIABETES?
Here's a quick list, everything doesn't have to apply to you but you are already at risk if one of these applies.
Prediabetes (blood sugar that's elevated, but not high enough to be called diabetes)
High blood pressure
A history of gestational diabetes
A family history of type 2 diabetes
Hormone disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Being overweight, or gaining too much weight during pregnancy
Being older than 25
Being of African, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent
Previously giving birth to a baby that weighed at least 9 pounds
Previously having an unexplained stillbirth or miscarriage
In my case, I have PCOS, I'm older than 25 and I had a miscarriage before this pregnancy. I was careful with what and how much I eat and everything else but it wasn't enough. I discovered that for women who are already at risk:
I should only be consuming 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein, & 30% Fat.
The amount of calories I should have in a day is 1,800 (no more, and no less because either way, it will not be good for you and the baby).
I should only consume 56 g of sugar, 180 g of Carbohydrates, 135 g of Protein, 25 g of Fiber and 60 g of Fat.
Clearly, I wasn't too conscious of what goes into my food. I was mainly measuring the portions. Since getting diagnosed, I have been very watchful of every little thing.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T MANAGE GESTATIONAL DIABETES?
Well, aside from having a full-blown diabetes post-pregnancy, you increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, and fetal death.
If that isn't enough to make you panic and manage it right away, I don't know what will.
HOW CAN YOU MANAGE GESTATIONAL DIABETES EFFECTIVELY?
My Father-in-law is a doctor and he gave me a list of food and how many gram and % of fats, protein & carbs. I listed down the steps I took to make sure that my glucose levels GO DOWN TO NORMAL RANGE RIGHT AWAY. I didn't need insulin therapy since my glucose levels weren't alarmingly high and can easily be managed.
The good thing is, after a day or 2 of doing all these - my glucose levels became normal.
Prepare your meal plan & create a healthy carb strategy. Say goodbye to white rice, white bread, white pasta, etc. Other people pay a dietician to create theirs, I just did mine based on dad's guide.
Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day (every 2 to 4 hours). Spread out your carb intake.
Download My Fitness Pal PREMIUM. Yes, the Premium one so you can see the nutrition portions per type of food. Otherwise, I will never know that a cup of Red Rice has 14.1 g of Carbs, 4.1 g of Fat, and 1.3 g of Protein.
Stay active throughout the pregnancy (if in case you are allowed to go mobile).
And of course, MONITOR YOUR GLUCOSE LEVELS. I got 2 Glucometers but I preferred using the Accuchek Glucometer more and this is the best thing ever!!! It's so easy to use! Basically, I was advised to check my glucose levels before breakfast, an hour after breakfast, an hour after lunch, an hour after dinner, and an hour after snacks.
KEEPING AN EYE ON GLUCOSE LEVELS WITH ACCUCHEK GLUCOMETER:
The first thing I loved about this glucometer is that it is very handy. The other one I got was so bulky and was annoying to carry around (I have meetings at various places and eat out so I have to bring my glucometer with me).
The package comes with a pouch, test strips, lancets, the lancet holder, and glucometer.
It takes only a few steps to do each test. Just set-up the lancet, then insert the test strip. Afterwards, prick your finger (make sure you washed your hands prior to performing the test.
You only need a drop of blood on the yellow portion of the strip. Make sure to pump your finger prior to pricking to get that drop of blood out right away.
After 3 seconds, your glucose level will be displayed as well as the time you took the test.
Accuchek has a Mobile app which you can use to record all your tests. Another great thing about this glucometer is that it AUTOMATICALLY SYNCS the data via Bluetooth technology. I don't have to spend time plotting the details every test (and I prick 4x a day). I did that with my other glucometer and I just got overly annoyed especially when I do the test outside of the house.
You can also plot the food you eat every meal so you have an idea what is causing the spike in your blood sugar. The app also shows the trends over a week and your average.
For reference, here are the TARGET BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS for Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes.
The test above was my glucose level after 1 hour and the target after an hour is 140mg/DL... that means, I PASSED!!!
You can find the Accucheck Glucometer at Mercury Drug and Watson's.
I hope you find this post helpful. Now that I know better, I want to create more awareness, health is wealth after all. And, as a mother I cannot risk getting sick - I have my children to think of.
~ Mommy K