Cassie’s experience with gestational diabetes
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Cassie talks with Diabetes Queensland about her personal account with gestational diabetes. After being diagnosed and feeling upset that there would be complications through her pregnancy, Cassie’s journey includes the changes she and her partner made and the outcomes they experienced.
What was your first reaction to being diagnosed with gestational diabetes? How did you feel right away, and did that change at all as your pregnancy went on?
To be honest I was quite angry and upset when first diagnosed. We had already had difficulties through the pregnancy and I was upset to think there would be more. As I adjusted to the changes though, it became much easier and I realised it wasn’t as restrictive as I had first thought! I actually ended up enjoying it, as I was eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (which we didn’t before due to cost).
What worked for you to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range? Did you do exercise, or change some of the foods you ate?
I made a lot of changes to my lifestyle and so did my partner. We had to completely overhaul our sleeping routine, our eating routine and I had to add in exercise. We went from sleeping from 2am to 12pm to 11pm to 7 or 8am. We went from eating 1-2 meals a day and snacking on chips/lollies/chocolate to eating 3 very well-balanced meals and snacks! I added in some exercise (10mins of walking on the spot watching YouTube after meals usually, or housework) and tried to drink plenty of water. I did end up on insulin for fasting numbers, however my meal numbers were always within range.
Where did you get your information from about gestational diabetes?
Most of my information came from the internet to be honest. I did get some basic information from my hospital team however I found much more informative studies etc online. I have always been very good at sourcing information so I enjoyed doing it.
Did your doctor or diabetes educator talk to you about medications like tablets or insulin? If you took them, how did you find it? (About 40% of women with GD take medications for it)
I was able to do an information session on insulin once it was prescribed for me. They explained how to inject, how to store etc. I was given plenty of time to try and help my fasting levels with lifestyle changes first. Next time, I would just take the insulin straight away, as it was much less stressful and for all the effort I put in to change my fasting numbers nothing worked. Honestly, injecting insulin was easier than the finger pricks! It was simple and effective.
Did you find any positives to the diagnosis? Like getting more frequent scans or feeling more motivated to take good care of yourself?
I did lose a lot of weight. At 34 weeks I was under my pre-pregnancy weight! I honestly felt a lot better overall. I also learnt a lot about food, how it works in your system, how its processed. I still look at the carb content for everything I pick up in the supermarket. It’s fascinating stuff! More frequent scans were also wonderful.
What would you say to another woman who’s just been diagnosed?
It’s not your fault. You didn’t cause this. Doing your best to manage your GD will lower any risk to baby. Don’t stress about scans, they are often very inaccurate. Follow the diet, but don’t be too strict on yourself. It’s honestly not as awful as it feels to start with.
My biggest tips would be:
- Always balance your carbs with plenty of protein, good fats, and fibre. These help reign in the carbs.
- Get a good sleep and eating routine worked out.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise for 10 mins after each meal.
- Always wash your hands before testing.
- Track EVERYTHING!