Here’s What to Do if You Just Found Out You Have Gestational Diabetes
Finding out that you have gestational diabetes (GD) is an unwanted shock for most women who are diagnosed. Typically, after getting high sugar readings on the 1-hour glucose test a doctor will have patients complete a 3-hour test before delivering the bad news. While it can feel overwhelming to be diagnosed with a pregnancy complication, gestational diabetes can typically be managed and most women are still able to have the pregnancy and delivery they dreamed of. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, or are worried that you may be soon, check out the tips below for how to handle the news.
Take a deep breath. Finding out that you have gestational diabetes can evoke a lot of strong feelings. You might be scared about how it could affect your baby, upset that it happened to you, and worried about how it will impact your pregnancy and birth. You might also be really nervous about making the lifestyle choices that gestational diabetes requires. If you feel yourself starting to get overwhelmed take a few deep breaths, speak kindly to yourself, and remember that your baby is doing just fine right now.
Communicate with your doctor. When you hear that you have gestational diabetes you probably felt your mind racing with questions. “What can I eat?” “Will I need insulin?” “How will this impact my delivery?” The best person to ask is your doctor, and they’ll likely be more than willing to sit and talk with you about whatever your concerns are. When you think of questions outside of an appointment be sure to write them down or send a message directly to your doctor so that you get the answers you need.
Check in with your diabetes specialist. Often, when a woman is diagnosed with GD she is referred to a diabetes specialist. This diabetes specialist will provide education, support, and medication recommendations. They will also likely check in with you weekly or even several times per week about your numbers. Even though they are not your primary doctor it’s important to communicate openly with them and to hear the insight, knowledge, and advice they have to offer.
Check your numbers. One of the most intimidating parts of gestation diabetes is the prospect of having to prick your finger and check your numbers several times through the day. While doing so can feel scary at first it does get easier. To get started, take a deep breath, count to three quickly and prick your finger before you pull away. Checking your numbers isn’t pleasant but it provides really important information about how your body is handling GD.
Get your support people on board. Gestational diabetes requires a very strict diet. While the low-carb, high-protein diet can be challenging, it’s totally doable. It also feels much more do-able if your partner or support people are on board. Ask them to commit to the diet with you (at least when they’re with you) so that you can meal plan and avoid temptation together. Help them understand the importance of the diet by bringing them with you to appointments making sure that they understand why it’s so important.
Join a support group. One of the best things about social media is that it allows people who are experiencing the same thing to come together and support one another. There are a number of wonderful GD support groups on Facebook where women share recipes, celebrate each other’s successes, and provide support when members are facing challenges.
Know it’s worth it! Having gestational diabetes is a bummer. But, at the end of your GD journey, you’ll have a beautiful, healthy little sugar-baby (as they’re sometimes called in GD support groups) to show for it. Stay committed mama, and know that this sacrifice is a temporary one that you’re making out of love for your baby before they even arrive!