Monday, 1 November 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Gestational Diabetes - Part 1

As I am becoming an old hand at this gestational diabetes (GD) malarky I thought I would tell you a bit about it.  Part 1 will tell you all about how it effected my pregnancy with Star, and Part 2 will fill you in on how it is this time with some facts and figures and hints and tips I have picked up.

When I was expecting Star I was diagnosed at 28 weeks after glucose was found in a routine pee sample.  The diagnosis is confirmed by taking a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) whereby you drink a sugar solution and have a blood test 2 hours later to check your glucose levels.  To say I was in shock was an understatement.  I couldn't understand it.  I was not overweight (I had a BMI of 25 at 39 weeks!), I had no family history of diabetes (the two biggest risk factors), and  I ate a diet Gillian McKeith would be proud of .  I was a fit and healthy person.  This shouldn't happen to me.  I felt like a failure.  My body had let me down when I needed it most.

I was put on the GD care path at the antenatal clinic at the hopsital, and allocated the obs and gynae consultant specialising in GD.  She explained to me that I was one of the unlucky ones but that 'older mothers' are a risk factor in themselves and at 39 I fell into that group.  I was issued with a finger prick blood testing kit ( I am/was needle phobic) and told to test my blood four times a day, first thing in the morning, and 1.5 hours after breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Each test was to be recorded in a diary had a target figure that my blood shouldn't exceed.  I was also given dietary advice which I found most frustrating as I have studied nutrition myself, and already ate an exemplary diet.  There was no junk food, cakes and biscuits that I could cut out.  Thankfully, after a week of finger pricking induced trauma and near breakdown,  my knowledge and existing diet stood me in good stead as I was able to manage the GD with just a few tweeks here and there.

Monthly visits ensued for growth scans, blood tests, to have my diary of test results checked and to see the consultant.  Everything was fine until 36 weeks when a growth scan showed a slightly higher level of amniotic fluid than the norm.  I was then referred to the day assessment unit 3 times a week so that they could check Star's movements to confirm that he wasn't getting distressed.  He wasn't and therefore they were happy to leave him be until I was 39 weeks (by their dates but that's a whole other story- grr) when he was safely delivered by elective c-section.  He had no problems at all, had an agpar of 9 and required no special treatment.

I had a further GTT when Star was 3 months old which, thankfully, confirmed that it had indeed been GD and my blood levels were now within the normal range.  They did warn me however that I was almost certain to get it again should I become pregnant be continued in Part 2