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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

milkybarsrus Mon 03-Sep-12 15:57:21

I had GD in last pregnancy, and my sugar levels were sky high, so was immediately told to take insulin 4 times a day. It was awful! I had to have long periods in hospital due to having placenta praevia, and found that though the hospital knew I was diabetic, the food was utter crap! One day they gave me sardine salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner! All at that lovely warm temperature that they dish hospital food up in. Carbs definately had a bad effect on me, as did fruit juices, basically you should insist on seeing the diabetic nurse who will give you a list of foods to eat/avoid. And though it is limited, you will not put much weight on, in fact, after the birth, I was exactly the same weight I was pre pregnancy! Baby born, no GD and baby was big even though he was born 3 weeks early. I hope you get the info you need, but if not, follow a diabetic diet, watch portions, watch carbs and avoice sugary stuff.

milkybarsrus Mon 03-Sep-12 15:57:59

* sorry should read AVOID**

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 17:17:00

Just chased up the dietician appt... was offered appt in October. They seemed nonplussed when I pointed out I would have a 2 week old bean by then... hmm

They are doing their best to get me in before then or at least some phone advice - I said they could even post me out some leaflets! confused Can get an appt next week if I drive out into Deliverance country ie tiny clinic in the sticks grin

I had gestational diabetes with my second and really upped my protein intake and cut out as many carbs and as much sugar as I could. It was only when I started looking closely at what was in food that I became shocked at how much sugar was in anything and even more shocked at how much better controlled it was when I ignored the fat content of food and instead just checked sugar and carbohydrate. After a lifetime of low fat diets, it was a revelation.

Breakfast became an omlette with a slice of wholemeal toast. I really love turkey bacon, and sometimes had that with veggie sausages for breakfast instead.
Lunch was chicken pieces and veg sticks with houmous, for eg.
Dinner was plenty of meat and veggies, but only a small amount of potato or rice etc.

Giving up chocolate was hard as I really love chocolate, but after a while it stopped bothering me as much. I ended up being incredibly healthy by the end of my PG.

I get checked every year with fasting bloods, but so far its not happened again.

I'm a bit shock at the help you're (not) getting though. As soon as I was diagnosed, they had me into a diabetic pg clinic where I saw a dietician and a consultant. They then scanned me and checked my diary and blood sugar levels every two weeks until I gave birth.

Angelico It's not as bad as you might imagine smile. Ironically I'm probably healthier now than I've ever been! I was always wanting to lose a stone or so (BMI was always around 24 after having first DC so bordering on overweight) and 'meaning' to do some exercise but never got around it either.

Was diagnosed with GD with DC3, but it didn't cause any problems with baby, etc and my blood sugars went back to normal straight after the birth. Like others have said, I had to then have my blood sugars checked annually, and three years on from DC3 being born my tests results came back as abnormal. Since then I've really turned my health around; I eat healthily (and do a bit of exercise now and then grin, and within a few months of the diagnosis I lost two stones in weight and now have a BMI of 21.

I will now have to stick to the healthy diet, because my diabetes means I am likely to need insulin as I get older, rather than controlling it by diet as I manage to now. But the healthier lifestyle I live now, the longer I can put it off. I was told by the hospital that if I carry on the way I am it could be 20 years + before I develop diabetes seriously enough to need insulin, whereas if I'd carried on eating crap it would happen really quickly.

BTW I didn't have risk factors other than being a bit exercise-shy and wanting to fit into a smaller dress size! One grandparent had diabetes, but that was about it.

I agree Keema. Not wanting to over-dramatise, but it is important that you are helped to keep your levels as steady as possible. Maybe it would be worth the drive for the next week appt?

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 21:15:45

Thanks for putting it in perspective badtaste and keema. Funny thing is I did find myself thinking, "Hmmmm, this could be a good wake-up call Angelico to stop eating crap - do you really want to have to do this finger jabbing stuff for the rest of your life???"

It's the unexpected that keeps catching me out sad E.g. have family staying and tonight we were supposed to go out to restaurant to eat. Had planned my low GI meal then for various reasons we ended up getting a Chinese takeaway. Got the lowest carb thing I could (chicken satay skewers) but fried rice I can only get away with about a third of a portion. Ended up 8.0 on the button - thankfully no more.

I swear after family leaves I am going nowhere for the last 3 weeks of pregnancy - just staying home making lentil soup!!!

As for advice or lack of it - I agree. They are doing their best to fit me in but I am definitely going to take the appt next week even if I have to drive cross country for it. I told them today that I'd been told to keep my blood in a certain range but no one had actually told me how to do that so everything is a bit trial and error - eating things experimentally, then testing my blood sugar. They were very sympathetic and doing their best to squeeze me in or give me phone advice - just obviously swamped. I asked if they didn't prioritise things like GD, given that it comes on fast and unexpectedly - and they said I'm an 'urgent case'. If it takes a month to see the urgent cases God help you if you're non-urgent! grin

androbbob Mon 03-Sep-12 21:17:00

Been there twice (DD now 10 and DS 5) and it never went away after DS. I get monitored once a year now (although that is overdue..). I managed diet controlled first time as late diagnosed and went on to have a CS at around due date - she weighed in at 10lb 14. she was ok and had her sugar level checked several times but no problems. Apparently they can feed off the sugar in your body which makes them grow large.

DS was another matter as was diagnosed earlier with it. Insulin again which was ok and lots of blood testing which was a pain eventually - run out of places - went up all sides of fingers on both hands! He as a planned CS at 38+6 and was 8lb 8. He struggled with maintaining body temp and struggled to feed so spent a long 26 hours in SCBU while I was elsewhere. No lasting effects though, but a worrying time for me - esp as hormones all over the place.

Just something to consider may happen, though it was probably as I had been diagnosed earlier so he had longer to become dependant on the sugar.

It is surprising how much food is laden with sugar and I agree with the other poster that said about high fat foods not being too high in sugar. The low fat stuff I seem to recall has all the fat removed and replaced with sugar and carbs, which is just sugar in another form.

There are several diabetic forums that have advice for GD - from real diabetic people!

I found that commercial chinese food had a lot of sugar in it and moved to eat more curry! I became very healthy when I had to monitor everything I ate. When she was born I have to admit I slipped off the wagon as I could eat chocolate again, but have got back on it again now!

One thing to be aware of is that sizing scans are not an exact science. Babies of mums with GD that isn't controlled properly can be very large and I was told that DD was on the 98th centile for size at around 36 weeks and that she was going to be a big baby. When my little 6lb12-er arrived it was a bit of a shock as I'd stocked up on large babygro's and had to send DH on a mercy mission to buy newborn stuff. grin

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 21:52:09

androbob do you have any links to good forums? Funny thing was I got diagnosed after a night in hospital due to weight loss / ketones / severe dehydration - I was starving while bean merrily sucked the life out of me! confused

Keema I've been told the same about the bean - that she is really big, already about 6.5-7.5 lbs at 35 weeks. People keep saying, "Who cares? You're having a CS, it's not like you have to squeeze her out!" but I'm more worried about her having blood sugar problems as there is no SCBU in my hospital and we would ended up separated for at least 24 hours if she needed special care sad

androbbob Mon 03-Sep-12 22:00:25

This is the webiste of the forum I find of most use:

here

You don't want to know what I did.
I got so much conflicting advice and everything my dietician told me the consultant contradicted.
Hence being on shedloads of insulin by the end (started at 26 weeks) and just dialling up a few more units for some birthday cake [facepalm]

I'd handle it entirely differently now though.

rumtumtugger Mon 03-Sep-12 22:03:17

I had it with dd and had to cut out all carbs to keep my readings low enough. I got creative with the veg box and made alternatives, e.g. mashed cauliflower 'rice' with curry, meat & 3 veg instead of potatoes. Had 5-6 smallish meals a day, of about 400-600 calories each, with a decent helping of protein and limited carbs, as suggested by the Low GI diet. The best thing I did for my readings was to do 10 minutes of exercise after each of my larger meals - that for me involved clutching a couple of tins of beans and doing step-ups in time to MTV! This way I was able to have the odd carby treat e.g. half a mince pie or a couple of roast tatties (can you tell I had GD over Christmas?). Good luck - it's not fun, but you could look at it as a new diet paradigm for a fitter and healthier you (unlike me who binged on cake post-partum and am now heavier and more unfit than I was at 9mo pg)!

Angelico Mon 03-Sep-12 22:14:04

A good link pinched from a post on forum recommended by androbbob. Good explanation if a bit shock confused about future prospects of type 2 diabetes.

<Sighs> Probably better to know your enemy I guess confused.

blonderthanred Mon 03-Sep-12 22:35:42

Hi, I was diagnosed with GD a couple weeks ago and it has felt like my whole life has revolved around it since. My problem is mornings, my readings are 5-6 the rest of the day but are resolutely at 8 every morning despite diet, metformin and insulin. I am increasing my dose each day to try and get to a lower score but my body's just resisting. It's so frustrating. I've tried different breakfasts: porridge, toast+PB, toast+egg (all whole wheat/unsweetened) - no difference.

When I went to see my consultant last week I had some ketones so he told me to eat more carbs so I've included some at every meal although obvs no sweet stuff (miss juice so much).

Also quite concerned about the birth as now I'm on insulin they will want to induce at 38wks. But no-one will talk to me about that at the hospital. Thinking of going for a CS to avoid all the worry.

Sorry I have no tips but thanks for starting the thread, it's really interesting to read others' stories.

Ozziegirly Tue 04-Sep-12 06:23:01

I had GDM with my first pregnancy and was just diagnosed on Friday with my second (at 26 weeks). I'm in Australia and they are really "strict" - my readings have to be between 3.8 and 6.8, everyone is tested (I have no risk factors), but the support is great, I have already seen a diabetes educator and have a dietician referral in case I need it (probably won't as I had it last time).

You also really need a good dietician, one who specialises or at least has a good knowledge of pregnancy diabetes, not just normal diabetes. It's really important that when you're pregnant you DO eat carbs for the baby.

I made the mistake the first time of just cutting out carbs as that kept my readings low, but got warned by the dietician that this was totally the wrong thing to do, as the baby really needs those carbs, so if I couldn't eat a "normal" portion without high readings then I had to have insulin (which I did by 32 weeks).

Some tips I found were making sure you eat a decent amount of fat with carbs, as this helps to make them lower GI. So, for breakfast, cereal was ok if I added some brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and full fat milk. My dietician says the best breakfast is scrambled eggs on 2 slices of wholegrain toast, with a couple of rashers of bacon or some mushrooms.

Lunch I have a big salad with some protein, and a wholegrain roll spread with avocado, followed by a no sugar jelly with berries (this is LOVELY!)

Dinner is something normal and healthy (chilli, roast chicken, grilled fish, the normal), with a small portion of carbs followed by yogurt (full fat) and more berries.

So far my readings this pregnancy have been low, but they started low last time but got worse and by 32ish weeks I couldn't even have 1 slice of bread without sky high readings, hence going onto insulin.

blonderthanred Tue 04-Sep-12 08:34:51

Yes that sounds like what I've been told Ozzie. It was quite confusing at first because the consultant who told me I had GD said I'd have to 'cut out carbs completely' - once I'd seen the specialist team they set me straight, especially when the ketones showed.

Although the official guidelines in the UK are below 7.8 after eating, in practice if I have any readings of 7 or more they are flagged up. I don't know if others have found that.

Angelico Tue 04-Sep-12 08:38:54

Blonder that's a bit of a nightmare with the breakfast stuff. I know one thing they did tell me was some women need to eat a lot of protein at breakfast to kind of kick start everything. Hope it settles.

Ozziegirly funnily enough my breakfast this morning was a ham and mushroom omelette and a slice of Burgen toast smile It was lovely actually! Your diet actually sounds really nice, might experiment a bit with the yoghurt and berries as it would be nice to have something sweet. Just cautious because of the 'orange juice effect' but then as 'badtaste' said it's basically pure sugar conveniently wrapped in water for instant absorption! grin

I have noticed that with the protein upped you really can cut down the carbs and not be hungry. I was never a great meat eater but am making more effort with things like steak, chicken, Quorn etc. Before I would always have had 2 slices of toast, even if I was having beans or scrambled egg but am realising it was just a habit, rather than because I need it IYSWIM.

Off to diabetes clinic this morning. If they roast me over my occasional high reading I will be pointing out that I am stumbling round in the dark 'experimenting' with different foods. Highest of last week was 9.3, a few 8s but mostly in range. FX for no insulin!

Angelico Tue 04-Sep-12 08:39:58

Eeek blonder x-posted! I've had a few higher than 7 so looks like it will be a roasting after all... confused I was told at first appt to stay below 8.0.

Smicha Tue 04-Sep-12 09:07:10

Good luck at the clinic! And don't worry too much as my highs were mainly around the 7.9 or 8 mark and nurse said I was borderline for insulin use and up to me whether to use it if I felt I was hungry. Like you I'm filling up on protein, but still eating sufficient carbs, so haven't used it yet. I have 36 week scan today and then clinic and consultant appointment so should find out if and when they may induce. Eeek!

keema I was also told I would be having a big baby and was advised to have an induction. I went ahead with induction at 38+2, induction failed and ended in emcs at 38+6 and a very average 7lb 5oz baby. It was frustrating as it was a very difficult induction and labour and ds ended up being only a week early!

angelico try not to worry too much about baby's sugar levels after the birth. If you control them well now you are doing the best thing you can do.

Smicha Tue 04-Sep-12 10:28:46

Just re-reading some posts and realise that I had ketones when I saw the community midwife last week, but she just told me to drink more fluid! Naively I didn't realise it could be GD related. Another question to add to my list for the consultant this afternoon! Getting a little bit worked up about my appointment now.

I also just got an 8.0 post-breakfast reading so I'm really frustrated. Foolishly I had porridge (weighed the oats, made with water - usually get around the 7 mark). Wish I'd had an omelette now but am so bored of eggs!! sad

Tidypidy Tue 04-Sep-12 10:49:48

Blonder your morning reading could be high because you've had something around bedtime which has kept your blood sugar high overnight. My son is Type 1 and he is often a bit high in the mornings when he's had milk at bedtime even though he's had insulin for it. There's also something called the Dawn Phenomenon where sugars rise naturally in the morning to get you going but I'm not sure if this applies to GD or just to Type 1. If you've run out of finger space for testing you can always use your toes - as long as you can still reach them!

Tidypidy Tue 04-Sep-12 10:51:58

Smicha ketones can be a sign of dehydration not necessarily linked to diabetes so drinking water would help to 'flush' them out.

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