“You have gestational diabetes.” Hearing the news might come as a shock at first. The information you are provided might be confusing and overwhelming. That’s completely normal. Before you hop on Google and read everything you can about gestational diabetes, turn off the computer, put down your phone and take a breath.
When it comes to gestational diabetes it’s important to remember that you aren’t to blame and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Communicate with loved ones about the diagnosis and let them know your worries, concerns and feelings so that they can help you in coping with the anxiety you might feel and in helping to keep you on track. With a proper diet, exercise and, sometimes, medication, women who are expecting can help to control their gestational diabetes.
These tips and suggestions will go a long way in helping you to manage the complication:
Use your doctors, nurses and nutritionist
Your team of doctors, nurses and nutritionists are there, not just to support you, but to educate you as well. Having open communication with your support team will calm your nerves and allow you to feel as though you are doing all you can to have a safe, healthy pregnancy.
Embrace the change in diet
The quicker this happens, the easier it will be. Women with gestational diabetes should eat smaller portions more often. While sugary foods and sweets are typically a no-no, be aware that many carbs also include a lot of sugar. Stick with high protein, low carbs items and include salads and green veggies.
You will need regular physical activity to help control your blood sugar levels. Not only will this assist in helping your blood sugar, but it will give you added energy and promote a healthier, overall, lifestyle. However, listen to your body. It will tell you when it needs a rest. If at any time you feel dizzy, nauseous or overheated, you should stop immediately. Discuss exercise options with your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen.
As you’ll most likely be changing your diet with the help nutritionist, journaling may come in handy. It’s helpful to have a place to write down what you can and can’t eat, in addition to any questions you have between visits. Your journal will become a resource for you to reference and to be used during doctor visits to bring up topics or concerns you might have.
Get used to blood testing at home
This is easier than it sounds. Your doctor will let you know how often you should be testing and when you should test. This should become a habit. To create the habit, pair it with another event (before you make dinner, right before Wheel of Fortune, etc.) or set your phone alarm.
Keep your kit in an accessible place and keep everything you need for blood testing all together. Having it nearby will help you remember and make the testing process go by faster. Read the manufacturer’s instructions but also know you can ask your doctor for guidance, too. Here’s the easy part: Wash your hands, put a needle in the device, grab a testing strip, get the meter nearby, stick your finger, drop the blood on the testing strip, put a cotton ball on the place you stuck to stop any bleeding and then read the results.
It’s important to document the results to let your doctor know in the event that there are changes or if insulin needs to be added. Some test meters also come with a memory that logs your results and sends those directly to your doctor. Read reviews of different devices online and use the option that works best for you.
Shop – and snack – smart
With your new diet might come new snacks to get used to. Rather than waiting until you get a craving for your favorite go-to snack, plan ahead and buy healthy snacks so you resist the urge to make poor decisions. Try to keep healthy food around at all times so you have options and don’t burn out on just one kind of snack. Burning out usually leads to temptation of the things we shouldn’t be eating.
Keep your fingers happy
Pricking your fingertip can get painful. Try pricking on the side and avoid pinching or squeezing the skin. If you are unable to draw enough blood to test, try putting your finger in warm water for a couple of minutes or letting it hang down at your side a few seconds. Don’t bully just one finger, but instead use a different finger each time. Your log can be useful in remembering which finger you’ve used each time you test your blood. If everything you are doing still hurts, perhaps try a new device. Some require less amounts of blood and some will allow you to draw from other sites.
If you have worries or concerns and would like to discuss gestational diabetes and what it means for you and your new family, please don’t hesitate to call us at Burdett Birth Center. We are more than happy to work with you, and for you, to give you and your child the best care possible.