What I Wished People Knew About Gestational Diabetes - Blog-Tember Challenge

Day 20 - Something you wish more people knew or believed.

Since being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, 6 nearly 7 weeks ago, if I had a pound for every time someone has said to me, "Oh that's ok, you'll just have a big baby," well I would have a lot of money. 

It's a common belief that GD just means a larger than average baby, when in fact that's only the tip of the iceberg. Many GD babies are born a normal weight, if their Mum's are able to control their sugar levels. If I was to sit here day after day eating cookies and chocolate and not keeping my numbers in check then yes, chances are my baby would be large. (What is an average size baby anyway?!) My sister didn't have Diabetes and her babies were 9lb 20z and 10lb 1oz! 

Diet and portion control are so important when you're dealing with this illness. I've also been given the advice of "One slice of cake won't hurt".. It won't hurt me but every time my sugar levels spike higher than they should be the baby gets a load of excess glucose that he doesn't need. So one of slice of cake may taste like heaven, (trust me, I've dreamt of it) but in the long run is it really worth it? 

Once you're diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes you are classed as a high risk pregnancy and are monitored much more closely than a normal pregnancy. There is a reason for this. There are many complications that can arise from Diabetes during a pregnancy. Your placenta some times doesn't hold up as well, therefore you are normally induced slightly earlier than your due date. Polyhydramnios, which is excess amniotic fluid. Premature birth, the baby suffering from hypoglycaemia at the time of birth, jaundice, miscarriage and even still birth. 

The best way to avoid many of these complications is keeping your blood sugar levels in a normal range. It's easier said than done though. Gestational Diabetes is progressive, meaning that it gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. Some women try their hardest, they eat all the right foods, complete the recommended amount of exercise, drink pints of water throughout the day and still their numbers creep up. For this reason, they end up on medication or insulin. I'm one of these women. I am now on insulin with my breakfast. It doesn't mean that I'm eating all the wrong foods, it just means that my body isn't able to tolerate any carbs that early in the day. 
There seems to be a lack of education when it comes to Gestational Diabetes. Not just with friends/family/random people in the street, but with medical professionals too. It is treated too much like Type 2 diabetes, which is completely different but a lot of Mum's get the same diet advice that they would give to a Type 2 Diabetic and then wonder why they can't keep their sugar levels down. I think pregnancy is such a confusing time as it is, without the added confusion of dealing with an illness where the guidelines and treatments vary so much from doctor to doctor, midwife to midwife & hospital to hospital. 

This is what I wished people knew about Diabetes during pregnancy. What do you wish people knew? 

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