Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

Gestational diabetes...anyone else struggling?

(72 Posts)
redhead78 Mon 17-Feb-14 11:35:02

Hi all,

This is my first post, so sorry if I do anything wrong!

Last week I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and today I have a scan to check on baby and a consultant appointment and I'm terrified they're going to try and put me on medication. I'm 28+2 and I've only been trying to control the GD through diet for 6 days and the information and advice I was given by the dietician and diabetic nurse was next to useless so I've basically been going through a massive process of trial and error and reading old threads on here to get advice on how to go about controlling it.

The last week has been a rollercoaster, both emotionally and in terms of my blood sugar readings and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the readings. For example, yesterday morning my fasting reading only went up by 1.7 points to my post-breakfast reading yet this morning, having had the exact same breakfast, it went up by 4.2.

I guess I'm a bit of a control freak and can't stand not knowing how different foods are going to affect me and, to be honest, it's getting to the point where I'm starting to get scared to eat anything because of what it might do.

I have so many questions and so was just wondering if anyone else was in the same position at them moment?

sparkle101 Mon 17-Feb-14 14:15:19

Hi

I had gestational diabetes in my last pregnancy. I remember the roller coaster of emotions well.

Unfortunately for me my base line reading when I was diagnosed was so high I was put on metformin straight away. Tbf the metformin was the best thing to happen to me, it really helped with my readings and steadying out the highs and the lows.

There seemed to be no reason why some foods affected me more than others, it was just a case of trial and error and seeing what happened.

Just bear in mind things like fruit juice, white carbs. And sorry if you're already doing this but make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before testing. I tested a few times and my sugars were in the high doubles until I realised I had eaten citrus fruits previously and still had the juice on my hands.

I was highly affected by rice, bread and other white carbs (bagels etc).

Please be assured you are in the best hands and they will do everything to maintain yours and the baby's health (involving lots of lovely scans!) Metformin is not a bad thing if it helps.

Also, have a look at the diabetes website, it will give you some ideas as to what foods are good/bad/indifferent.

Good luck

Oh and P.S the baby is so worth it at the end!!!!

Rosduk Mon 17-Feb-14 14:48:23

I've was diagnosed 5 days ago and feeling exactly the same as you. Hardly given any information and sent away learning through trial and error. I have cut all sugar out and literally all white bread, rice and cereals. I have been having porridge in the morning, oatcakes, hummus or ham and cheese/salad wraps for lunch.

I can't seem to tolerate many carbs in the evening except sweet potato so generally have stir fry/chicken and veg for dinner.

I'm finding it difficult emotionally as I lost a newborn premie last year (not due to gest. Diabetes!) but this diagnosis has really stressed me out. I'm hoping I just get used to what I can have and it gets easier!

Alibongo33 Mon 17-Feb-14 14:50:06

Hi,

I had GD first time round (but not second time round). Mine was controlled by diet only. This is what I ate and my readings were fine. Meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs, salad. Foods to avoid are fruit, potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, cereals, cook in sauces, puddings. basically anything sugar or carb. The body metabolises carbs into sugar when digested which is why savoury foods as above should be avoided. The diet is very strict but if you can stick to it you may avoid metformin or insulin injections.

It is not an ideal situation but uncontrolled diabetes can lead to the placenta deterioting quicker therefore usually induction is carried out before 40 wks. Also uncontrolled diabetes leads to bigger babies because the sugar in your blood stream makes them grow quicker particularly their head and abdomen as opposed to limbs. This then can lead to instrumental births or more sections.

Also I found it helped to take a walk after you had eaten to burn off any sugars.

All in all, whichever way the docs choose to control it, there are some good things to come out of GD. Extra scans, more medical care. Knowing you won't go overdue etc. And of course a healthy babysmile)))

SweetPea86 Mon 17-Feb-14 14:54:31

Hi ladies I hope you don't mind me butting in on this post but I have my GD tomorrow I'm so scared my BMi was 31 when fell pregnant and I've gain about 1 st 5lbs. Trying to make healthy choices.

Can I just ask before you found out you had it did u have any signs of having it ?

I'm so scared about tomorrow

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 17-Feb-14 17:09:40

Me! I've been really good! My levels are higher than last week when I wasn't so good, and today, my fasting level was 4.1, had 2 slices of brown wholegrain toast for breakfast and went up to 9.1.
then I went for lunch at mcdonalds had chips nuggets and a MC flurry and when I tested after, my sugar levels were 7.1!!!

hubbahubster Mon 17-Feb-14 17:15:47

There seems to be a lot of scaremongering on the NHS about GD. I know there can be negative outcomes because of uncontrolled GD but IME midwives are all over it nowadays, there's no chance of even the mildest case getting through the net, so there's no need to worry.

I had GD in my last pregnancy, I'm monitoring my blood sugars in this one to keep a eye on them. My case was really borderline but like others have said, white carbs, fruit and yogurt (?!) seemed to me the main triggers for a spike in blood sugar. Good foods to eat were avocado and eggs.

I had absolutely no signs that I had GD – no increased thirst or feeling funny if I didn't eat. DS was born by ELCS at 39 weeks (not GD-related) at 39 weeks weighing under 7lbs, so he wasn't affected either.

I found all the extra appointments a bit of a pain on top of all the regular midwife stuff, but as Alibongo says, main thing was a healthy baby at the end of it smile

redhead78 Mon 17-Feb-14 18:06:37

You have no idea how much I appreciate everyone's comments. Being hyper-sensitive at the moment anyway they got the tears flowing again! It's just so nice knowing I'm not the only one going through this and that I'm not the only one to be upset about it. My poor hubby doesn't know what to do and feels totally useless!

I'm just back from the consultant and, as expected, they want to put me on metformin, which I still don't really want to do. I've got a couple of days until I can pick the prescription up so I'll see if I can get any more of a pattern in my numbers before then.

I already was trying to eat more healthily before my diagnosis but that included lots of cereal (as recommended by the dietician!) which, after diagnosis and with a blood test actually sent my sugars above 18! So I daren't try any other type of cereal now, just in case and breakfasts are either omelette with pepper, mushrooms and cheese or two slices of bacon, two scrambled eggs and one slice of toast (stoneground wholemeal is apparently supposed to be best).

I in no way claim to be an expert on the subject because I'm still learning with every meal I eat but from the (vast amount!) of reading I've been doing about it over the last few days the best advice I've found for when you're shopping is that when looking at the nutritional information try to go for things that have the lowest proportion of sugar as carbohydrates. Supposedly anything less than 25% of the carbs as sugar is supposed to be ok but at the moment I'm aiming for way less than that. So, for example, if there was 60g of carbs in it, the sugars should be no more than 15g. I've just been shopping and tried to put it into practice so will wait and see if it works over the next few days.

Like everyone else though I've totally cut out anything with white flour, potatoes, pasta, cereals and all the yummy things like cakes and chocolate. I tried a bag of crisps the other day as a snack and they seemed to be ok and I was also alright with basmati rice. The most confusing part is that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another!

Thank you again everyone so much for your input, it is truly appreciated and reassuring and
Rosduk: I know it's easy to say and I'm not exactly practising what I preach but try not to stress too much as apparently stress can raise blood sugars too! And one tip I have definitely found works for me regarding the evening carbs is replacing mashed potato (which I could eat for breakfast lunch and dinner given the chance!) with mashed carrot and swede instead.

And
Sweetpea: No, I didn't have the physical tell tale signs but I did have a slightly raised glucose level in previous samples. But none of the increased thirst, blurred vision or needing to pee more often (except when she's bouncing up and down on my bladder, obviously!)

Oh, and the one upside I've found is that I get extra scans so got to see the little one again today and it's almost definitely a girl smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 17-Feb-14 23:25:59

If it's any consolation OP, my dad has type 1 diabetes. Even with constant monitoring, injectable insulin and glucose tablets to balance him out, his sugars are still mental! its driving him nuts! confused

I had GD with DS2, and I also really struggled to find a diet that worked for me. There was a lot of trial and error, and a LOT of looking online for ideas.

I started off controlling it with diet, but ended up on metformin towards the end, which worked well. One thing that I found was that combining different foods helped, although at times it felt as though I was eating eggs with everything!

Also, stress and/or illness sent my numbers crazy. This meant that I could get entirely different numbers even when I was eating identical meals.

I know it's really scary and stressful, but be kind to yourself. You can't be expected to figure out a perfect diet instantly - what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. Make a list of your 'good' foods, and keep adding to it. Gentle, regular exercise can help keep your numbers low, as will reducing stress.

Enjoy your extra scans smile

redhead78 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:19:00

Luckily my prescription for the pills won't be ready for collection until Friday so I now have until then to try and control this with diet. Which I'm extremely happy about because today my readings have all been within target for the first time ever.

I don't know if I'm just being paranoid now or if it's just a total coincidence, but I've been taking my "healthy start" vitamin every morning as soon as I get up and this morning forgot and it was the first time my fasting levels have been anywhere near target. It, stupidly, never occurred to me until today to check what's in them but it turns out they do have sugar in so now I'm wondering if the time of day I take them could be affecting my levels! I'm questioning every single little thing that passes my lips now! So I'm going to try taking them later in the day when my levels have been more stable and see what happens...

Yoghurtget Wed 19-Feb-14 11:14:37

Had the first appt with the diabetic nurse yesterday and it's really getting me down too. I want to be excited and getting ready for the baby but I just feel really down. I was diagnosed at 31 weeks ( 3 weeks after the lucozade test) but haven't been offered the diabetic clinic until I am 33 +4 so no dietician, scans etc until then. It really concerns me as that's 5 weeks after the first high readings were seen. Also, how many times a day are you testing? I've been told 8- my fingers are bruised already.

redhead78 Wed 19-Feb-14 14:11:08

Yoghurtget: I know exactly how you're feeling and I'm really shocked that you're not getting more support from the diabetics team at your hospital. Although, maybe if they're not rushing you through it might mean your readings weren't too worrying and only slightly above what they should have been...do you know what they were?

If you've read my above posts you know that I'm new to all this as well so can't in any way claim to be an expert or a scientist but I can tell you what I've learnt through process of elimination and reading old threads on here if it will help you.

I have to test 4 times a day. Once when I get up (the fasting reading) and this should be less than 5.5 and then once an hour after each meal which should be less than 7.8. They gave me a booklet to record these numbers in but I've also bought myself a little notebook so that I can keep track of everything I eat at each meal with a note of the subsequent reading after it to see if it helps me identify any "triggers".

What I've found out so far:
Avoid like the plague - white bread - or anything resembling white bread, pasta, potatoes, cereal, fruit juice.

Make sure most meals are based around vegetables and protein with just a small serving of a "good" carb on the side (such as basmati rice, wholemeal pasta, cous cous.

Walking after each meal and before the next reading seems to help. SO if you can, even if it's just a ten minute stroll around the block, try and do some kind of gentle exercise between eating and testing. When it was pouring down the other day I was even marching on the spot in front of the tele with cans of soup in my hands!

My tips:
I can't tolerate many carbs at all at breakfast so I've been having omelettes bulked out with veg and cheese. In the last few days, however, I've found Tesco do a Stoneground Wholemeal Bread and I can tolerate one slice of that, toasted, with bacon and eggs.

Good snacks I've found are nuts (almonds especially), oatcakes or carrot sticks with cream cheese, houmus or peanut butter, and some of the "breakfast bars". NOT the Belvita ones, but the Weetabix equivalent don't seem to affect me. Boiled eggs are also good.

Lunches have been mainly wholemeal pitta bread stuffed (and I mean stuffed!) with ham, cheese and salad, or tuna and salad and then an extra bit of salad on the side for good measure. Or a box of salad with grated cheese and boiled eggs. Yet for some bizarre reason a bowl of homemade vegetable soup, even without any bread to go with it, raised my readings! There really doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it!

For evening meals, if you like your potatoes, try replacing them with mashed carrot and swede or with roasted sweet potatoes instead. I haven't really changed our evening meals that much, just changed what we have with them. So we have things like chilli (bulked up with yet more veg!), pork stroganoff, chicken in mushroom sauce, cheesy vegetable and sausage bake, but I now make sure that at least half the plate is veg...get ready to prepare and chop more veg than you ever have in your life!

Oh, and randomly semi-skimmed milk is better than skimmed in tea or coffee!

I hope all of this helps you. As time has gone on I've realised how little advice/information I was given at the diabetic clinic. Things like does a high reading at breakfast still influence the other readings taken later that day? Or should your levels drop immediately below the recommended levels or do they take a while to stabilise? All things that as a complete novice who was very upset and a bit in shock at the time of the appointment I had with the nurse didn't even think of asking. I now think (although in no way claim to be a scientist!) that yes, a high breakfast reading does impact on other readings that day, although if you eat properly they shouldn't be as high and no, the levels don't drop immediately back into "acceptable" levels but do take some time to stabilise. My readings were all over the place for the first week but now, on days 8 and 9 they have been a lot more stable and very close to, if not within, the targets set.

I'm sorry this has turned into a mammoth post but it's a subject that's very close to my heart at the moment and if I can help one person feel more hopeful and less like I was feeling for all of last week then I'll be happy.

My one final piece of advice (until I think of something else at least!) is try not to let a high reading get you down too much. Just keep a diary of what you've eaten and see if you can identify what might have triggered it. But on the other hand, try not to get too excited and hopeful when you have a low reading either, because if the next one is higher again it just hurts all the more!

hubbahubster Wed 19-Feb-14 15:08:02

My tips for testing – use the sides of your fingers, not the tips – less painful. Alternate hands from day to day, and obviously use a different finger for each test.

Remember that your body is in flux with pregnancy – I often get varying readings with identical meals! Don't be too hard on yourself smile

Yoghurtget Thu 20-Feb-14 08:42:25

Thank you all so much that's really helpful. I am going to try the exercise as I gave not done much if that! I did feel there was a lack of info, apart from the NICE guidelines that had all the frightening potential complications ( or that's what jumped out to me.) My readings were low, just over the threshold, 7.9 for the first test, then normal resting, 8 on the second test. I suggested that it could be managed very easily with food as I was only just over but the nurse didn't agree saying I may still need insulin.

Do you know why mums with GD "don't go overdue" which I have read on some forums? Is it because baby wants to come early or that you're induced early?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 20-Feb-14 09:48:24

I've been told ill be induced if I get to 39 weeks on diet control or 38 weeks if I need metformin. I think it has to do with a number of things including the baby getting too big, the risk of pre eclampsia and the chance of the placenta failing. I could be wrong though.

curiousgeorgie Thu 20-Feb-14 11:15:09

Cut out as many carbs as you can, don't eat sugar.

Only drink water.

It was seriously the only thing that worked for me!

redhead78 Thu 20-Feb-14 11:38:02

My readings at the GTT test were 10.2 fasting and 13 two hours after the horrid sugar drink. This morning my fasting reading was 5.4 (under my target for the first time ever smile ) and my post-breakfast reading was 6.7, well under my 7.8 target. So if I can control them and get them down that much just by altering my diet, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to when your inititial readings were much lower.

Apparently the further along in pregnancy you get the less efficiently your body processes the insulin it produces so over the next 8 weeks or so it will probably get harder to keep my readings under target and I will probably end up having to take metformin, which is fair enough, I just didn't want to take it after only a week of trying when I knew that I stood a good chance of the food changes working.

I've been told that if I can control my levels through diet they would probably let me go to the full 40 weeks but not beyond that, but if I have to go on to metformin then I would probably be induced at 38 weeks. Eek, that means that I could potentially have a baby in less than 10 weeks time! I think the main reason they induce you is because of the size of the baby as mine was in the 95th percentile for size at my scan on Monday and, obviously, the bigger the baby, the more traumatic the birth is likely to be!

Bizarrely (and I'm not suggesting that it would work for everyone!) I treated myself to a Freddo frog chocolate bar yesterday - I know it's only 2 mouthfuls of lovely Cadbury's, but it was better than nothing! - and it didn't have any effect on my bs levels. I'm not going to start pigging out on chocolate, but at least I know I can still have the occasional treat and not feel like it's going to damage my baby in some unmentionable way!!!

herecomesthsun Thu 20-Feb-14 13:43:23

Hi, also had gestational diabetes, another benefit was that I put on very little weight during pregnancy and progressively went to lower weights after my children were born. It is also a heads up re risk of developing diabetes in later life, so increased awareness now could mean better health later.

I had to cut out all cereals and pretty much all bread to get low enough morning sugars. Greek yoghurt and berries were my breakfast friends, with a sprinkling of almonds. That or bacon /mushrooms / tomato/ egg in some combination. Avocado pear/ cheese sticks/ nuts are good snacks.

I have been low carbing since I had my daughter 2 years ago and it seems to be the right approach for me. Of course, you wouldn't want to be going extreme low carb while pregnant or breastfeeding. However, I found that the standard dietary recommendations for diabetes didn't really work for me, I was fine with getting carbs from veg like sweet potatoes and carrots and squash, rather than having a mandatory portion of empty carbs like rice or pasta or potatoes.

Good luck!

herecomesthsun Thu 20-Feb-14 13:45:19

Oh yes, the 10 minutes exercise after every meal, I remember that!

bramblyhedgebaby Thu 20-Feb-14 15:47:02

My brother is type 1 diabetic and my fil is type 2. fil is on metformin now and it has really helped as it helps to balance out your sugars. the reason your sugars are reading differently is because your body uses them up at different paces. wholegrain cereals etc are long acting sugara so are used up in small doses whereas fruits and white cereals such as rice are full of fast acting sugars so used up very quickly indeed. also dont be too scared about your readings just yet - changing your diet plays havoc with them for a few days and it can take well over a week for them to settle.

hope it gets easier soon

I just failed my GTT at 29 weeks after measuring 4cm over at 28 weeks. There's lots of useful information re diet on here so thanks to previous posters for that.

My appointment at the diabetic clinic isn't until next week and all I have been told so far is that my results were 'a shade' over the cut-off. I just phoned the midwife now to find out what my actual numbers were and both the fasting and 2 hour results were 5.3.

Is this not a bit odd? It looks like my sugars were higher than they should have been for fasting but my body then dealt with the Lucozade as it should have? They said they double checked with the lab and it's correct. confused

herecomesthsun Thu 20-Feb-14 19:15:44

re having a little bit of chocolate, a couple of squares after a meal is supposed to be less likely to raise blood glucose than a random chocolate snack, and plain chocolate - high % cocoa - may be better tolerated than milk chocolate.

Your palate acclimatises to having less sugar, which also helps.

moomin35 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:17:34

Can anyone tell me when they should check (or indeed if they will) me for gestational diabetes? I'm 25+5 and so far there has been no mention of it. How will I know if I have it or not?

marshmallow2468 Thu 20-Feb-14 21:31:36

I had it, was tested at about 28 weeks. I had no physical symptoms, just family history. It was entirely diet controlled. Hellish at times, but I managed with just a few meltdowns! Breakfast was usually one slice of soya and linseed bread with peanut butter, or bacon and eggs. Lunch was oatcakes and cheese, ham, salami, salad, houmous. Dinner was meat and veg, but usually no carbs. I couldn't tolerate cereals, rice or sweet potatoes at all. Indian takeaways were fine, so treated myself to plenty of them. Without the rice or bread of course.

It was awful at times, but I managed. I was induced dead on 40 weeks, ended in a c-section, but no idea if things might have been different without diabetes.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now