Aug 23, 2019
Gestational Diabetes is typically diagnosed between the 24th and 27th week of pregnancy, following a sugary drink and a blood test. Pregnant people are naturally more resistant to insulin to help provide their baby with more glucose. In some though, their body stops responding to insulin or it doesn’t make enough insulin to give them the glucose that they need. When that happens, there is too much sugar in your blood. Gestational Diabetes means having to test your blood sugar frequently, it means that your baby's size will most likely be monitored more closely and it means that you will probably have a conversation with your doctor about a change in your diet and lifestyle for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Here’s what having gestational diabetes DOESN'T mean:
That you are gross, obese, unhealthy or any other mean, judgmental word.
Researchers literally don’t know why some people develop Gestational Diabetes. Many people that are average weight and health develop it and even if you are considered overweight or obese, it doesn’t make you necessarily unhealthy and it doesn’t mean you are less than as a person! And it certainly doesn’t mean you are gross or that you are at fault for your gestational diabetes. There are plenty of people that are overweight that do not get diagnosed with it during their pregnancies. Please know that while your risks may be higher if you’re overweight, you’re not exempt from getting it if you’re average weight and it’s not a guarantee you will get it if you are overweight.
That your baby will be a GIANT.
While, yes, having gestational diabetes comes with the risk factor that your baby could have an increase in birth weight, it’s not a guarantee. And the fact of the matter is, after you get diagnosed, your care provider will talk with you about ways that you can try and manage your GB but that’s all you can do is to try and manage it and take care of yourself. It may happen, your baby might have a larger birth weight, but you have zero control over the size of your baby. Many people with Gestational Diabetes give birth to babies that are an average weight. Rest assured, if your doctor is concerned with your baby’s size, they will say something to you and if you’re concerned you can always ask.
That you will HAVE TO have a c-section
Having a cesarean is a concern of many that get diagnosed with GB, but it’s not a guarantee that it will happen. Being aware of risks and options can be helpful and is important to some but living in fear will not help anyone. All you can do is take care of yourself, follow your treatment plan and trust the team you have in place and trust your instincts. Having GB does increase the risk for a cecarean because of the risk of having a larger baby. In this scenario, the doctor might talk with you about how they feel that a c-section is the safest option for you and your baby.
That you will have diabetes after your baby is born.
Most people’s levels return to normal after the baby is born but having GB does increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life but its not a guarantee. Many people don’t develop it later in life. Also, many people that have gestational diabetes during one pregnancy don’t necessarily develop it in their other pregnancies.
That you must deprive yourself during your pregnancy.
If you get diagnosed with GB, your doctor will most likely give you a list of foods to avoid and then a list of foods you can still consume, but in moderation. Most people can still have fruit, you just need to be aware of how much you are eating and to keep track. You should maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Not eating, eating less calories than you should and trying to lose weight will not help during your pregnancy. In fact, doing that can come with a lot of risk and can be dangerous. If you are craving something for dessert, there are a lot of delicious sugar-free treats you can try or if you’re out to eat, ask for a few forks to split the dessert. While seriously limiting your sweet intake is highly recommended, most people will be ok if they enjoy a small piece of cake on their birthday.
The reality is, Gestational Diabetes comes with risks like high birth weight, increased risk of cesarean and preeclampsia and more. These are important things to be aware of and its important to talk with your doctor about a food plan, medicine, exercise and other ways to manage your diagnosis. What Gestational Diabetes is NOT is a diagnosis that says anything about who you are as a person or a parent. There should be zero guilt or fault placed on a person diagnosed with this disease. It can be scary and hard to navigate, so a person in this situation needs empathy, support and understanding.