A gestational diabetes diagnosis can be terrifying and even aggravating news to a pregnant woman already coping with any number of discomforts. You might find you are scared, confused, worried about its impact on your baby, and even enraged that you now must control your diet and prick yourself with a needle for numerous tests each day. Here are tips for coping with gestational diabetes.
Reacting to Gestational Diabetes
With my first pregnancy, I got my diagnosis of gestational diabetes a week before hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I’d already endured morning, noon and night sickness that went well past the first trimester. I was worried about how it might affect my unborn child, but the emotion I felt most strongly was sheer rage at the situation.
As I prepared a Thanksgiving dinner laced with forbidden delights like mashed potatoes, stuffing and apple pie, I seethed at my fate. I’d been up until 2 a.m. from a hospital visit for early contractions, and wasn’t in the best mood anyway.
As much as I had found pregnancy to be uncomfortable, at least I had known this was one time in my life I could add a few calories a day without concern. No more.
It was pretty depressing making my plate: turkey was OK, but I had to use a quarter-cup measuring cup for my mashed potatoes and stuffing. Even seemingly-innocent corn is actually high in carbohydrates and also had to be limited. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of jabbing my finger with a needle to test the affect my “splurge” had on my blood sugar. Ouch!
Putting Gestational Diabetes into Perspective
While my initial reaction was one of hostility, as I followed my diabetic diet, I was actually quite surprised. I found it hard to eat everything! I had a sudden surge in energy. On top of that, I actually started losing weight (which even started to become a concern). My morning sickness waned.
It really wasn’t hard at all. Sure, it was over the holidays. I almost cried one day when a co-worker brought in a tray of tempting cookies I couldn’t touch. My Christmas bonus at work was a jar of candy I couldn’t go near. But the diet really wasn’t restrictive. I ate a lot, I simply had to be sure each meal had a maximum number of carbohydrates, and that was balanced with fiber and protein.
The Bright Side of Gestational Diabetes
I only had to live with gestational diabetes for six weeks, but I had a newfound respect for those who have diabetes full-time.
By the end of my pregnancy, and even to this day, the gestational diabetes diet influences my daily life. Once you have gestational diabetes, you are at higher risk of getting adult diabetes later in life.
It’s simply a better lifestyle for eating. The popular Atkins Diet is effective, and it is essentially a diabetic diet.
When I got pregnant a second time, I was determined to avoid gestational diabetes. I went swimming at the local YMCA until my doctor said I couldn’t anymore (due to concerns about preterm birth and my pregnancy being with twins).
I essentially decided to follow the gestational diabetes diet before a diagnosis came (although there were definitely exceptions). With my history and the multiple pregnancy, even my doctor was shocked I didn’t get it the second time around.
In essence, gestational diabetes may sound horrible, even annoying. In reality, it isn’t that difficult and it could lead to a better lifestyle in the years to come.
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