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Anyone else got gestational diabetes? Top tips welcome!

(357 Posts)
Angelico Sun 02-Sep-12 18:09:44

Hello all <waves>

Currently 35+2, got diagnosed with GD a couple of weeks ago after repeat GTT ('passed' the one at 25 weeks for raised BMI, seems to have come on around the 30 week mark). Got finger pricker etc last week so 6 days in to blood testing and aiming to control with diet only as due for CS at 38+4.

Have't seen dietician yet and struggling to find conclusive info online. Certain foods (pure orange juice, sweet stuff - even a couple of bites! - mashed potato) seem to send blood sugar high (highest reading ever today 9.3 after mash and literally 2 bites of DH's banoffee! confused). I was wondering what other people have found useful foodwise? Any good suggestions for meals?

A typical 'good day' for me (ie super low blood sugars)...

Breakfast:
Slice of brown toast with either cheese and beans or scrambled egg. No orange juice.

Snack (11am or 4pm depending on what I'm doing):
2-3 oatcakes with cheese / hummus

Lunch:
Bowl of leftover dinner from night before (see below) or homemade lentil and tomato soup with cheese and ryebread.

Dinner:
Steak stir fry with noodles, spag bol with wholewheat spaghetti, stuffed chicken with roasties and veg, oven cod in batter with oven chips and plenty of veg.

I would love to hear some other good suggestions for meals or any warnings about particular foods. Or if you just want somewhere to vent feel free to jump on board smile thanks

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 09:49:52

Bumping this as I'm sure I am not alone...

Would love some good breakfast ideas. This morning I had: 1 Quorn sausage, fried egg, 2 tblsps of beans and a slice of Burgen bread toasted. It was yum! Blood sugar 1 hour post brekkie: 6.9, well under the dreaded 8!

teaandchocolate Mon 03-Sep-12 09:58:12

Hello! I had GD and controlled with just diet. I found that nearly all carbs raised my sugar levels so had to be really careful. The main thing to watch out for, I found, was portion size, as even brown rice/pasta/lentils etc would send my levels souring so I had to eat really small portions.

For breakfast I usually had eggs, with veg or bacon/smoked salmon and one piece of soya & linseed bread. I definitely couldn't have any cereal. Sometimes could have low sugar fruit and natural yoghurt but it didn't really fill me up. I'd have a salad and protein and maybe ryvitta for lunch and for dinner mainly protein, veg and tiny portion carbs. I also swapped potatoes etc for celaeriac and you can try cauliflower mash etc (although I lost the will with that). Snacks were nuts, dark (min 70%)choc, ryvitta, cheese etc. Because obsessed with making chocolate sauce as a treat (dark choc, butter and cream). I am normal/low bmi so I upped the fat content of my meals as the dietician told me it slowed the absorption of carbs.

Its such a pain but only a short amount of time so defintely manageable. My DD was born at 39 wks and only weighed 6lbs 3oz so not affected. Although my levels never went back to normal (they were probably always wrong!) it was good to get used to the diet...although I've now massively fallen off the wagon!!

Best of luck.

Smicha Mon 03-Sep-12 10:23:54

You are certainly not alone Angelico! I was diagnosed with this about five weeks ago and after a few blips at first, I've managed to get it under control and although I was prescribed insulin in case I need it, I haven't yet used it.

Breakfast is toughest for me as I was a cereal eater before and now even one shredded wheat gives me a reading well over 9! So I generally have quite a high protein breakfast - cheese omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach is a good one for my readings. I have also been able to get away with a slice of soya and linseed bread with mackerel or with a hefty scraping of peanut butter if I'm in a real rush. A small portion of porridge sometimes works, sends reading up to the limit though, but the problem is it's so small it doesn't fill me!

Lunch, I generally have a huge salad with a chicken breast or piece of fish, maybe some avocado too, and a slice of rye bread. It's a PITA as I have to cook the chicken and fish the night before, but worth it as I feel full all afternoon. I find I can also get away with some full fat Greek yoghurt and tonnes of linseeds (for their laxative properties now I can't have lactulose or prune juice!!!) either immediately post lunch (if I'm not too full already) or as an afternoon snack.

Other snacks I find good are nuts, cottage cheese, no more than 2 oatcakes with philadelphia, banana, apple or just plain old cheese.

Dinner, pretty much anything with a small portion of wholegrain rice works well for me (although wholegrain rice is so expensive - £4.99 for a kilo in my local Tesco!). Couscous has also been a 'good' carb and wholewheat spaghetti, but in all cases a much smaller portion than that recommended on the packet. I combine one of these with perhaps a tomato-based curry, chilli, spag bol, stir fry, or piece of meat and I stick some veg alongside everything whether it goes or not (eg some mange tout or green beans with a curry). Gets quite repetitive, but I've only got another 4 weeks to get through!! I find mash is not good as you generally end up eating more than you should because it's been mashed up, but also as the carbs have already been broken down massively by boiling and then mashing, it doesn't take long for them to release their energy, hence the high readings they produce. Slow release carbs are the key, so the less cooking and boiling you do of them the better. My dietician also said not to eat anything made of white flour, but I know some don't recommend being that strict.

One thing I have done is cut sugar out completely, so not even any bites of DH's sweet treats, and aside from the benefits for the baby, this has made me feel really bright and awake! I do miss it, but figure that the one bite I might be able to manage really isn't going to satisfy my craving. Sometimes berries and cream fills the hole when I need it! Oh, and fruit juice had to go for me - orange juice almost sent me into a coma!!

Wow, that was an essay (you can tell I'm on wind down as it's my last week at work!). Hope it's useful.

TittyWhistles Mon 03-Sep-12 10:36:34

I had GD last pregnancy and I have my GTT next week so I'm a bit nervous.

My nutritionist last time emphasised the importance of eating a carb each meal which i think now is slightly skewed and through following that adivce I ended up not managing my levels ad being put on insulin.
Now I know more about it, I am really only eating complex carbs early in the day, no fruit at all and having a completely carb free evening meal as this was when my levels used to peak.
So far all tests have been clear so I'm hopeful I won't have it again.

There's a lot they don't tell you, that Metformin has horrible side effects like painful stomach aches, nausea, gas and bloating. And that the insulin injections can cause itchy, hivey allergic reactions at the site of injecting. Hopefully you won't have to go down that route!

Ps they say almonds help to lower blood sugar levels, and ground almonds can be used instead of flour in most things.

I also controlled with diet. Breakfast was either porridge or toast with either egg or peanut butter.
Lunch was a sandwich with salad and 1 piece of fruit. I had to drop my usual orange juice.
Dinner I just adjusted regular meals to make more veg and less carbs. For snacks I would have things like hummus and veg sticks, oatcakes, malt loaf, sugar free flapjacks etc.
I switched to Burgen soya and linseed bread as it was the one recommended by the dietician. As a general rule go low GI.

And don't worry, small changes make a huge difference. It doesn't have to be a big deal!

Also, anything mashed is worse than anything whole so swap mash for new potatoes. Where possible use sweet potatoes.

Smicha Mon 03-Sep-12 10:59:46

Englishgirl do you have a recipe for sugar free flapjacks? I love flapjacks!

I'm on my kindle so I can't link but it's on the delicious magazine website. It uses pureed dates instead of sugar. I have a really sweet tooth so when I knew I had gd I started searching the internet for pudding recipes. The diabetes uk website has a recipes section too.
They are really good, I haven't switched back to my old recipe even now I've had the all clear.

Look for low GI foods - low carb, high protein & fat content, basically. If you eat carbs, make sure they're complex not refined, so oats, wholewheat bread/pasta. Boiled potatoes are better than baked or mashed.

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 11:41:05

Some brilliant advice - thank you! Still amazed I haven't seen dietician yet when they've gone to the trouble of giving me testing kit etc but didn't give any dietary advice beyond "Don't eat Special K it's full of sugar!" confused Smicha it's funny reading about the shredded wheat as that was one thing someone recommended to me. Maybe it varies from person to person. I seem okay with fairly hefty amounts of non-sweet carbs (bar mashed potato) but even a bite of anything sweet is bad news.

Does / did anyone else find it is much easier to be in control of blood sugar when you are at home? I finished work last week thankfully but was away over weekend and silly things like there only being white bread at my parents' house sent BS up. Think I'm going to stick to home as much as possible for these last few weeks.

Just had an oatcake and peanut butter. Oatcakes are my friend smile

Anyone had GD and it didn't go away? While I think this is quite a healthy way to live I wouldn't want to have to go without sweet stuff forever more...

Smicha Mon 03-Sep-12 11:48:44

I'm amazed you haven't seen a dietician, how do they expect you to manage your levels without advice?! It was the dietician who gave me my blood testing kit.
As for shredded wheat, I think some people can handle it as the dietician was the one who told me to try that or one weetabix, but it would appear I'm one of the unlucky ones!

Shagmundfreud Mon 03-Sep-12 12:11:13

I controlled well with just diet but ended up eating a very narrow range of food, namely fish, eggs, green leafy veg, the odd red pepper and tomato, nuts, meat and a splash of milk in my tea. My 'treat' was the occasional half cup of brown rice! No bread. No oats. No pasta.

on the plus side I was very skinny once I'd given birth. (didn't last long once I got my hands on the hob nobs.....)

BarbaraWoodlouseGoesForGold Mon 03-Sep-12 12:29:26

Have a read of this thread, there's another one somewhere too that inspired this one. Some great tips on there.

Good luck. I do remember how overwhelming and stressful the experience was at the time. Now I mainly remember how slim I was after giving birth grin

I am tested annually under my PCT and am 2 years clear of diabetes. Though they do a fasting blood, which was never a problem with me, rather than a GTT which I find odd.

I definitely enjoy way too many carbs and sweet treats these days, but I did learn a lot about what my body likes and doesn't.

happynappies Mon 03-Sep-12 12:41:56

Really interesting thread. I was diagnosed last Thursday at 36 weeks, and have since seen the diabetes specialist mw and got the finger clicker tester thingy. I've cut out the obvious sugar and cakes chocolate etc, and have been eating muesli for breakfast (with a tiny bit of orange juice diluted with loads of water). My reading was 5.8 this morning 2 hours after breakfast, so am quite encouraged. So far I've been eating normal(ish) meals, just not snacking in between on the usual rubbish that I have been eating. I don't think carbs have had too much effect on my readings, but its early days, only been monitoring a couple of days so far. Am hopeful that when I see the consultant on Wednesday my readings will look ok, and they'll let me go to my due date. Its a horrible thing to have to contend with isn't it?

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 13:22:13

Fantastic thread Barbara thank you, will read it in full later on.

Shagmund I doubt I'll be skinny post-birth! smile I'm a size 16 pre-pregnancy which probably explains in part why I got GD (being an old codger of 35 prob doesn't help either and do have a few relatives with type 2 diabetes, all of them admittedly overweight --like myself--).

Happy really hope things stay on an even keel for you! My one piece of advice for you (with my vastly longer experience ie 7 days in grin) is not to get complacent - watch out for the random unexpected stuff. I always dilute orange juice with water but it still sent my BS mad and I find being away from home / facing temptation (e.g. birthday cake on Sat night) makes it harder. The first few days I was testing my BS was so perfect I was like, "These people are crazy hmm, I don't have GD!" It was when I got a bit cocky and thought I could have a couple of bites of DH's dessert / small piece of cake / slice of white toast that BS suddenly went high and I realised "Ah-ha! This is not normal!" confused lol

Also there is a girl on my AN thread who has it too and she is finding that it is getting worse with every week - so foods she could eat comfortably two weeks ago are now sending her BS v high. This is what's worrying me as I can eat comfortable amounts of sensible carbs at the minute but apparently you just keep getting more insulin resistant. Last week all my breakfast readings were in the 5's, last few days they are in the 6's... Still CS 3 weeks tomorrow so hopefully can keep a lid on stuff, fingers crossed! grin

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 13:22:52

Oh - and did anyone else feel like they were running out of finger to prick?! And it's only been a week!!!

Not read whole thread so apologies for repeating others smile. I had GD and have since developed diabetes.

My top tips:

Porridge for breakfast to set you up for the day (unsweetened or with artificial sweetener). Or wholemeal toast with peanut butter.

Try to cut out white carbs (white bread, pasta, rice, etc) as much as possible. Eat plenty of Low GI foods (wholemeal everything!).

Eat plenty of protein - chicken, lean red meat, nuts & pulses.

Cut out obvious sugars, and avoid fruit juices and some fruits. Bananas are full of sugar so I avoid completely, but some fruit is ok - cherries have a low GI so they are fine and are actually beneficial for diabetics to eat.

Don't let yourself go too long between meals - my favourite is peanut butter on an oatcake (or three smile).

When I had GD the dietician told me if I desperately wanted something sweet, I could have anything now and again as long as the % sugars made up no more than a quarter of the % total carbs. Ie 60% carbs is ok as long as only 15% of those are made up of sugars if that makes sense....

I followed that rule and found some things (1 chocolate chip brioche when I needed something naughty, comes to mind) followed the % carbs rule and didn't affect my blood sugars.

A diabetic diet is really just a healthy diet that's good for anybody to follow. But I would push to see the dietician ASAP smile

PS OP having just read your last post, I would avoid fruit juice completely - its basically diluted sugar in water so the sugar goes straight to your blood stream.

happynappies Mon 03-Sep-12 14:46:31

Thanks Angelico, I must admit I was starting to think maybe a bit of x wouldn't hurt, as readings seem ok, will stay on the straight and narrow just in case, really don't want early induction!!

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 14:58:04

Badtaste thanks for that. Sorry you went on to get diabetes sad Did you have a lot of risk factors? And when did you get full diabetes or did the GD just never go away. I know one girl who didn't shake it but they have told her she was probably diabetic for a few years pre-pregnancy and just didn't realise.

happy I shall travel the 'straight and narrow' road with you. Doesn't help that we have visitors tonight and have just left out a lush Baileys cheesecake for them to have after dinner - and I won't even be able to have a bite <weeps>

teaandchocolate Mon 03-Sep-12 15:08:44

My GD didn't reallly go away in that my sugars were still high when tested 3 and 6 months later - I've been diagnosed with 'pre-diabetes' although I think I probably always had it (as have pcos). I'm not yet diabetic though and so the NHS isn't particularly interested, I just have an HBA1C test every year or so and so far those levels have been within the normal range. I'd say I'm 'mindful' of my sugar levels but its hard maintaining such a strict diet. And like you say the NHS is obsessed with us eating carbs so the dietician I did see said I was being too strict.

I think generally the diet I followed when pregnant was good as I didn't realise that seemingly healthy food (eg. muesli with dried fruit) was awful for my sugar levels and that I'm better off eating high fat, low carb food. Its trial and error though as everyone's different in terms of what you can tolerate.

Exercise is also very good at bringing levels down. So if I eat something particularly bad (especially when I was pregnant) I'd go for a walk or do some exercise afterwards.

FWIW cheesecake isn't the worst thing you can eat as its high fat (well it wasn't for me anyway)!! But I feel your pain as I LOVE sweet things!!

Tansie Mon 03-Sep-12 15:23:21

Just skim reading as this is in 'Discussion of the Day' grin

Make sure you get checked for diabetes from now on. I gather you are at a considerably higher risk of getting it if you have GD. A good friend finally was diagnosed earlier this year after rather a few 'symptoms' having had GD 11 years ago. She is bitter that there was no screening program put in place, but, it could be said that, as she knew the risk, she would have been wise to seek her own yearly test, but there you go.

happynappies Mon 03-Sep-12 15:39:55

Its strange how variable the diet advice is (when you finally get it!). I was told muesli was good, and that a 'small' glass of orange juice was fine. It has been a real up and down few days, to begin with the 'shock' of the diagnosis, and feeling really fed up about no more chocolate, then feeling more positive about getting to grips with the diet, and feeling ok about blood glucose levels, but more worries ahead when I meet the consultant, wonder what he will say about the birth... on the one hand I don't want to take any risks, but on the other hand my mw said I had been 'unlucky' with the timing of the GTT so late in pg (36 weeks) when a lot of women apparently are not coping so well with sugar generally. Apparently if I'd seen someone today at 37 weeks the Trust's guidelines stated 'do nothing' but because I saw the specialist midwife yesterday at 36+6 I have to monitor blood glucose etc etc, and probably be induced. Ah well!!

tansie I don't know if things have changed but I've been told I'll have a test every year now?

I would agree with pushing to see the dietician. She gave me a really helpful leaflet that highlighted the best and worst things to have in each food type. For example, potatoes. Sweet Potato - best, boiled potatoes - ok, mash - avoid. I found it really useful as it meant I could largely still eat my normal meals but replaced bad options with good ones.

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