Week 21: Gestational diabetes

By Published On: July 25th, 2014

Instead of waiting until the 24th-28th week, when I have […]

glucoseInstead of waiting until the 24th-28th week, when I have to be tested for gestational diabetes, my body volunteered to have it at 20 weeks.

Thankfully, since I have a history of this, I’ve been preparing. I knew with this baby my time would be limited. So, I did what any rational thinking mother would do: I ate as much candy, cake, cookies, and cupcakes as humanly possible, knowing our time together was short-lived.

What is gestational diabetes?
Abnormally high levels of sugar in your blood during pregnancy.

Why does it happen?
Because sometimes Mother Nature just sucks.

How does it happen?

  • Hormones produced by the placenta help prevent mom from developing low blood sugar by resisting the actions of insulin.
  • Over gestational time, these hormones cause higher blood sugar levels.
  • In an effort to lower these levels, the body makes more insulin.
  • If the pancreas can’t make enough insulin, blood sugar levels rise, resulting in gestational diabetes.

[End mostly factual human biology lesson, provided by a person who took it twice in college]

How do you know if you have it?
Between 24 and 28 weeks (until delivery) your doctor will test your urine samples.

If you’re like me, and have sugar in your urine, you’ll hang your head like a puppy who piddled on the 17th century Persian carpet. Then go downstairs to the lab. There you’lldrink a super sugary drink to see: A. how quickly the sugar is cleared from your blood and B. your tolerance for how much sugar you can consume before puking.

If your blood sugar levels are high after the one-hour test, you’ll have to take the three-hour test. This is the same sugary drink as the one hour test, but you get to go three hours with nothing in your stomach but 40,000 liquified pixie sticks.

You’ll be scored.

There’s a range you want to fall in.

I forget the exact numbers.

Note: After this test during my last pregnancy I bought a cinnamon roll and a caramel macchiato. I am not a role model.

Will it go away?
It generally disappears after delivery. So, you may reward the fruits of your labor by eating carbs with a side of carbs topped with sugar, sprinkled with carbs, and be totally fine.

For me, gestational diabetes has been weird. With borderline levels, I seem to be able to have a smidge of ice cream, but a bowl of Cheerios sets off an air raid siren that sends a message to my doctor by way of Morse code—or carrier pigeon, whichever is covered under my insurance policy. I’m hoping to avoid the three hour test this time by watching my glucose levels and amending my diet now.

Regardless, I have only 18 weeks left to worry about it. Then I can enjoy a heaping helping pile of carbs, sprinkled with a side of sugar.

All joking aside, gestational diabetes is serious. High blood sugar can affect the development of your baby and increases the chances of blood sugar issues after birth.

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