Pre-pregnancy I’d like to think that I was a pretty healthy individual. I was juggling my solo acupuncture practice by day and competitively training in the sport weightlifting by night. (Do you see the pride that I struggled with tucked in between the lines?)
At 24 weeks into the pregnancy I had my glucose screening in the morning. That afternoon I got a call that started with, “Hi Evette, I have some bad news...” Oh geez straight to it, okay let’s get it...
"Your glucose levels are elevated and we will need you to do a fasting glucose test to confirm."
The blanket of panic draped over my head as it started to feel a little heavy. I was never good at any type of test and I guess this was no exception. I knew my diet wasn't helping with my sugar levels. I had my share of "morning" sickness and all I wanted was fruits, fruits, and bread. Again, that afternoon of the blood draws I was confirmed with gestational diabetes (GD). Embarrassment took turns with shame as my pride and ego made it very difficult to accept. I was an athlete that was in the gym five days a week for three hours at a time. My fundal measurements consistently measured smaller than average. And I was on the smaller side of gaining weight during the pregnancy. It took me requesting the numbers to move onward.
I knew nothing and all that I thought I knew were assumptions. I started with educating myself and learned that whether you are active or not, it doesn't matter and you can be at risk. Asian women happen to have a higher prevalence in GD. I’ve also read for some women, the body may start to properly regulate insulin again around 28 weeks.
Placental hormones effect the way mom’s hormones react to their own insulin as baby's body is producing their own insulin. Now the body isn't able to properly regulate glucose levels equaling an increase.
This may cause complications for you:
- increased blood pressure
- increased chances of a cesarean delivery
- risk of developing diabetes (Type 2) post pregnancy
Complications for baby:
- early birth
- bigger birth weight
- respiratory issues
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- risk of developing diabetes (Type 2)
I was scheduled for a nutrition class, which I believed would be a waste of my time (kind of was). Again, the first trimester and a little bit into my second trimester my diet was carb dense. This doesn't help for everyone, but cleaning up my diet habits immediately adjusted my glucose numbers. I still had to do finger stick tests up until my due date 3 times day in between working on my patients. I get the caution of wanting to monitor health, but it just seemed like overkill even with good consistent number readings. But I wanted to do my best for the little dumpling. Working out consistently on a daily basis helped me stay accountable for my choices, it feels good to be better. My diet reflected a loose keto diet, I still had to have my fruits. Baby "wanted" it.
Side note: I started to consume a lot more dairy than I usually ever do along. And this goes into another situation I’ve talked about in a previous post where I think my diet at the time contributed to Emma’s eczema and gut issues. In Chinese Medicine, an excess of anything- good or bad is not healthy. Her allergy and sensitivity tests showed positive to dairy, almonds, and certain vegetables all of which I consumed on an excess regular basis throughout the pregnancy. I’ve read that there are a handful of moms who have had similar situations and baby eczema, but could be a coincidence. Anyway, my glucose numbers were within normal range up until birth and Emma was healthy and safe. Something I wouldn’t trade for “nice” skin.
If you are dealing with gestational diabetes:
- You are not alone. I repeat, you are not alone.
- Don’t focus on getting fancy with meals and prep, just make sure each meal is balanced with protein, veggies, and simple carbs (chicken - zucchini - berries).
- I always skipped rice/potatoes/bread of all sorts and saved those carbs for fruits.
- Try to stop eating for the day around 7-7:30pm. I know this might be early, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we believe that the digestive system gradually slows down by the end of the day. Eating snacks and big meals late at night make it difficult for the body to break down when it is transitioning to detox and recover the body for the next day.
- When admitted to give birth your glucose levels will be tested before and after giving birth, as well as baby’s.
- The doctor will suggest to follow up on your glucose with testing about 6-12 weeks postpartum to make sure you haven’t developed diabetes.
- General acupressure points to massage: Kidney 3, Stomach 36, Large Intestine 11.
- Stay hydrated!
- Exercise always does the mind and body some good!!
- You are strong and willing, you got this mama!!!
If you have some easy/fun/something to look forward to recipes for fellow mamas going through GD, please share them!