I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) on my 29th week of pregnancy with Marcus. Honestly, I kind of expected it because I knew I wasn’t eating healthy and my weight was increasing fast. Blame it to bottomless iced tea whenever I dine out and all the chocolates my mom brought from UK during my second trimester. I remember every time Mike or my friends will ask me where I want to eat I would always say “where there’s bottomless iced tea”. I could drink 4 glasses every time we eat, mind you. I also remember grabbing a candy bar every day from the fridge. Bad bad pregnant mommy.
When my OB told me I have GDM, I wasn’t surprised but I still feel bad about it. It sucks more to find out about that one week before Christmas! I mean c’mon! Christmas is the time where everybody gets a free pass on sweet pastries or desserts and all the carbs on the table! There I was sitting at the doctor’s clinic, being told to watch my diet and to avoid sweets and carbs. Ugh.
So what is gestational diabetes mellitus?
According to BabyCenter.com, gestational diabetes mellitus of GDM “is a type of diabetes that women get during pregnancy. About 2 to 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.”
What are the causes of GDM?
During pregnancy, the hormonal changes in the body can cause the cells to be less responsive to insulin that the pancreas secretes. The body may not be able to catch up with the increased insulin demands during pregnancy, thus causing the blood glucose level to rise. If that happens, hello GDM.
If the expectant mom has a personal or family history of having diabetes, then GDM may most likely happen as well.
Diet is a big contributing factor for having GDM. Pregnant women are advised to eat healthy food and stay away from too much sweets. Admittedly, I was complacent with what I was eating during my second pregnancy. The only thing I really gave up was coffee whilst I was binge eating on everything else.
What are the complications if an expecting mom has GDM?
While most women with GDM still deliver healthy babies, if not managed well it may lead to several complications to the babies such as excessive birth weight, preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycemia and diabetes later in the child’s life. Moms may develop hypertension or preeclampsia or may develop diabetes later in life.
After pregnancy, will I still have GDM?
The good news is GDM may only be present during pregnancy. After pregnancy, the moms undergo the glucose tolerance test six weeks post partum. In most cases, they are cleared of diabetes. However, in some women, GDM still persists after pregnancy in which they will continue medication as prescribed by a specialist.
How did I manage my GDM?
My doctor asked me to monitor my blood sugar level using a digital glucose meter. I bought Accu-Chek Active at Watson’s for Php1,795. It comes with a lancing device and lancets. How it works is you have to prick yourself with the lancing device and put a small amount of blood on the lancet and place it inside the reader. Now here’s a tip, set the lancing device to 1.25 so it won’t be too painful especially if your pain tolerance is low (like me).
I was asked to check and take note of my blood sugar level before and after meals. She gave me a schedule to follow: M-W-F, check before meals. T-TH-S, check after meals. Sunday, she told me to pray. Seriously, she did. I did this for two weeks and when I showed her the results, she was happy that I was able to manage it well and to continue monitoring until I give birth.
I changed my diet completely. One thing about me is when my doctor tells me what to do and what not to do, I can follow and adjust easily. I initiated a low sugar diet. Well actually I just eliminated all possible sweet treats like chocolates, iced tea, juice, cakes, etc. Imagine the torture when my cousin brought a box of Purple Oven revel bars during our family reunion. Inhumane! Haha.
I also learned to look at the sugar content of food items that I buy at the grocery. Yes, I am one of those people who actually look at the nutritional value of juice cartons, cereals boxes, biscuits packs, etc. I would normally drink cranberry juice but after finding out that it contains 30-45g of sugar per serving, I stopped. If you want a fruit juice with the least sugar content, buy Healthy Balance Blueberry Juice. It’s the only juice drink that has less than 10g of sugar per serving.
Fruits are good alternatives to sweet snacks but you have to be cautious which fruits have high sugar. Berries have the least, as well as melons. Fruits with medium sugar content include oranges, bananas, apples. Fruits with highest sugar content are mangoes and grapes. You can check out this site to know what fruits you can eat.
I stopped eating white bread and substituted it with wheat bread. I have also removed rice from my diet. I sometimes eat brown rice if the dish is begging for rice (like kare kare). Veggies have been staple in my diet especially green leafy ones.
Oh and when you have GDM, DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF. You have to eat. You just need to know what you should avoid eating. :)
I did research how to control and manage GDM without medicines. I looked up to reputable sites. I also was not shy to ask my OB what I can eat and not eat. I am just glad that she is very accommodating to my questions and would always reply to my inquiries despite her super busy schedule.
You can manage GDM without having to take medication. All it takes is the right diet, a little discipline and lots of will power. I assure you, the rewards will outweigh the sacrifices. :)
I was tested for GDM again six weeks post partum and I am happy to announce that I am cleared of it! However, I have decided to stick on my habits by monitoring what I eat and control my sugar intake. It’s so much better to feel assured that I am healthy. Healthy = happy!