Runner. Slender. No junk food. These are not the traditional characteristics of someone with diabetes, and I was so shocked when I first received my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis that I insisted on being retested. My doctor used the Glucose Tolerance Test, the three hour test, and I willingly rescheduled my life twice so that I could get an accurate result.
I was out of state, attending my grandfather’s funeral, when I got the final results. My glucose levels on the test, were in the high 100’s and even tiptoeing into the 200’s, with the cut off for “normal” falling in the 125-140 range. I needed to take action.
I devoured every resource I could find on Gestational Diabetes so that I could have a healthy baby.
- Mayo Clinic
- Baby Center
- National Institutes of Health
When I finally had my appointment, I had already been testing my sugars for two weeks, and as a result of my dietary changes, my tests were in a normal range. Bristling at the demeaning manner in which I was spoken to (Do you know what a carbohydrate is?), I declined future meetings with the diabetes specialists and continued to be in contact with my obstetrician.
My husband and I both appreciate healthy eating, but when we looked at our regular diet, it was carb heavy. I loved cooking pasta casseroles, having bread with every meal, and often indulged in noodle-based Asian dishes. We had to adjust our diet to be richer in proteins and whole grains. Whenever I ate typical loaf bread or potatoes, my glucose numbers rose accordingly. If I consumed sweet potatoes and beans (especially lentils), however, my numbers remained stable. In my third trimester, my iron levels dipped, so we also added in iron rich foods. One of our favorite meals became skirt steak, beans, and kale.
A Typical Day
Breakfast (17g carbs):
A small portion of whole-grain flat bread with almond butter
Snack (12g carbs):
Fage 2% Greek Yogurt with fruit
Lunch (20-25g carbs):
Leftover meat and beans
Snack (6-10g carbs):
Carrots and almond butter
Dinner (25-30g carbs):
We also switched from dairy milk to coconut milk, as I would still get the calcium I needed with a small fraction of the sugar.
By the end of my pregnancy, my doctor no longer even asked me about my numbers, since my weight remained stable (I only gained 17 pounds during my entire pregnancy) and the glucose numbers had continued to fall into a normal range.
At 41 weeks pregnant, I delivered a healthy baby boy, naturally, without an epidural. He weighed just over 8 pounds and was 20.5 inches long, a perfect, wonderful little miracle. Immediately after delivery, my glucose numbers returned completely to normal, with my morning numbers falling down to the low 70s.
Two weeks after delivery, I fit back into my regular jeans, and we have continued to be conscious of our diet. While I no longer count carbs, I remain aware of them and am, in fact, ten pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant.
While I did not know this would happen, and while all I wanted while pregnant was a hamburger, with bun, and some fries, I am grateful that I now lead an even healthier lifestyle than I did before pregnancy.