Week 20: Gestational Diabetes – are you also diagnosed?

Health & Fitness Pregnancy Diary

They say that around 10% of pregnant women in the US alone are affected by Gestational Diabetes. I have not seen any data for the Philippines, but I suspect it will be around the same number. 

If you remember the Prenatal labs you need to have in your early weeks, I have mentioned that you will be tested for Gestational Diabetes around week 20. 

What is Gestational Diabetes? 

GDM is when your blood sugar level goes up as the placenta makes hormones that increase your blood glucose. 

It usually goes away after birth, but this should be taken seriously as it may affect your baby’s health, and you can develop Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

Your Oral Glucose Tolerance Test will tell if you have GDM as well as symptoms like: 

  • Excessive thirst
  • Hungrier than usual
  • Peeing than usual 

You are most likely to get Gestational Diabetes if you were/have: 

  • Diabetes history in the family 
  • Overweight before pregnancy 
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Diagnosed with Prediabetes

And other medical conditions that could complicate your overall health.  

So what happened to me? 

I got my OGTT result around 12 weeks as it was included in the package I took for prenatal labs.  

The result is already high – if not alarming. But since it was still early, my OB decided to repeat the test on my 22nd week. We disregarded the factors that I have PCOS and was already prediabetic. 

Come 22nd week, I repeated the test, and it becomes higher than the previous test. I was advised to see an endocrinologist on the same day. 

When the doctor saw my result, he asked me to check my glucose levels and come back the next day for recommendations.  

You guessed it right.

The results were not even GDM but a pregnant diabetic, meaning I have Type 2 diabetes even before I got pregnant. 

I was asked to take long-acting insulin to control glucose twice a day with “hopes” to maintain my sugar levels. 

A weekly check-up is required, plus daily monitoring of glucose levels. I am testing my glucose during the following times: 

  • Before Breakfast
  • Before Lunch
  • Two hours after lunch 
  • Before Dinner
  • Two hours after dinner

Imagine how many needles and blood I have to go through each day. The goal is to have 80 mg/dL before meals; 120 mg/dL or less two hours after meals. 

IT WAS CRAZY

Mine spikes at 345 mg/dL two hours after dinner, and I tell you, it is depressing. But I am also guilty because I do not have to control my food as much as I want to. I let the hunger and cravings take over. 

I was eating spaghetti and rice. Eating on time is also my problem as I eat at the earliest 10 am or worst at 2 pm. 

How to manage Gestational Diabetes 

As simple as it sounds (but extremely hard), here are some tips that will help you (us) manage your glucose levels. 

  • Trade refined sugar and carbohydrates to a more complex one. NO WHITE RICE/PASTA/BREAD and DESSERTS. 
  • Eat at least 6x per day – three main meals and two snacks.
  • Choose high-fiber carbs like Quinoa, Red Rice, Adlai Rice, even cauliflower rice.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. The more colorful it is, the better.
  • Exercise to use the “sugar” energy for at least 30 minutes a day 

If you are not yet pregnant and is trying to stay active and watch out for your glucose levels, GDM is no joke, as it can lead to preeclampsia and other dangerous pregnancy complications. 

I am scared and stressed about managing it, but shall I update you on my journey? 

Have a safe pregnancy, momma! 

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