Gestational Diabetes is something that I am all too familiar with. I had it not one but three times. I have never really been all that over weight 20 maybe 25 pounds over at my worst. Diabetes though runs on both sides of my family and since heredity is 1/3 of the equation I guess I was sort of doomed.
During my first full term pregnancy I had gestational diabetes but it was not so bad. As long as I watched what I ate everything was fine. There was no need for medication, I had to be really careful not to gain a lot of weight though. I was 30 years old at the time.
My second pregnancy was a different story. I had gotten pregnant again just 6 months after having baby number one. I had lost all of the baby weight from baby number one but for some reason the gestational diabetes was worse than the first time. At the time not a lot of hospitals specialized in gestational diabetes. I was sent to a hospital in down town Chicago for a gestational diabetes assessment and to get a treatment plan going. These days most hospitals have doctors and nurses on staff that can help women with gestational diabetes. If you doctor feels you have gestational diabetes they will refer you to one of these specialists.
It was determined that I would need to be put on insulin for baby number 2. I was given some education on nutrition, how to administer the insulin to myself, and I was told about the danger to the baby if I failed to take care of myself and eat right as well as take my medication. Exercise was also highly recommended especially walking. I did exactly what I was supposed to do, I pretty much cut sugar out of my diet completely, I took my medication which was a shot of insulin twice a day in to my upper thigh. I also exercised regularly. Baby number 2 was born 2 weeks early but was healthy and beautiful, and at a regular weight. Women with gestational diabetes tend to have large babies.
Baby number 3 came along several years later and I was 39 years old at the time. I had also gaiined some weight since I had, had baby number 2. Since I had, had gestational diabetes I was tested for it right away. They give you this awful tasting very sweet orange drink, then they take your blood sugar over a course of a couple of hours to see how your body reacts to it. I had gestational diabetes early on and like before I was sent to a specialist that treated women with gestational diabetes, and once again I was put on insulin. I also had to keep track of my blood sugars and I had to call them in to the specialists office every Friday. I forgot they would call me and lecture me.
Because of my age and because gestational diabetes gets worse with each pregnancy I had to keep upping the dose of insulin that I took. When you have gestational diabetes one good thing is that you will get at least 3 ultra sounds because they will want to regularly check on the babies condition. My baby was very healthy looking in all of the ultra sounds but he was getting very large. I am only 5 foot 1 and when I went in to labor 5 weeks early after checking to see if the babies lungs were fully formed which they were the doctor decided not to stop the contractions and I had a C-Section that day. At 5 weeks early my son was already 8 pounds 9 oz. He was not breathing when he came out but they were able to revive him. There was a mistake by the hospital staff that caused some damage to his foot but other than that he was a healthy normal baby.
Gestational Diabetes Risks to the Baby
Gestational diabetes can impair the proper grown of certain organs, that is why it is important to have extra ultra sounds, and more doctor’s visits then with a normal pregnancy. Birth defects and organ damage however is rare as long as the mom takes care of herself as she instructed to do.
The most common danger is the overgrown of the baby. This can make labor and delivery difficult. Usually this will result in a C-Section.
There is a danger during the birthing process of the baby’s blood sugar going really low after the birth because it is used to getting all that sugar from the mom.
If you have gestational diabetes don’t panic. All will in most cases be fine. Just be sure to listen to your doctor. Do what you are supposed to do. Walk at least 20 minutes a day. Watch your diet and take your medication religiously.
If you are not yet pregnant but plan on getting pregnant if you are overweight try your best to lose weight before you get pregnant to eliminate the risk of gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes be prepared to the fact that during any pregnancies in the future you will likely have it again and it will worsen with each unless you completely change your lifestyle and get down to your suggested weight, but you may still get it. Also keep in mind that as you get older it will combine with other risk factors. You may want to consider having all of your babies at an earlier age.
Don’t convince yourself that you are eating for two and over indulge. The more you keep your weight under control the better off your baby will be.
As long as you take good care of yourself chances are everything will be fine, but be sure to take this condition very seriously. Remember it is not only your health at stake but your baby’s as well.