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What does Gestational Diabetes REALLY feel like?

(28 Posts)
bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:13:35

Just wondering as im blooming sure i have it.

im currently. 21 weeks

20 week scan showed babys belly is on the 95th centile (indication of GD apparently) Does this mean our baby will be big?

I'm tired, feel sick esp after eating, i feel like utter crap, headaches, blurry eyes, thirsty/dry mouth.

NOW - midwife says it doesnt mean i have it, they can also be normal pregnancy issues.

Questions,

WHY do they test at 28 weeks? whats special about that time in pregnancy?

What did YOU feel like with it?

how do i manage the way i feel without knowing if i have it or not?

Im seeing consultant tomorrow, who has already said previously shes testing me at 28 weeks. i will mention all this to her, however, im betting she says no test before 28 weeks.

Thank you.

Watto1 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:16:05

I felt absolutely fine with it. If I hadn't had the test (at 28 weeks) I would never have known I had it. Of course I was tired, but thats par for the course in late pregnancy.

Acunningruse Mon 29-Feb-16 16:20:45

Same, I wouldn't have known I had it, I was light headed and dizzy a lot but this is normal in pregnancy anyway. Lots of people I know have had big babies and not had GD

StinkyMcgrinky Mon 29-Feb-16 16:23:28

Same as PP, if it wasn't got the GTT coming back positive I wouldn't have had a clue. Felt no different, just normal pregnancy tiredness and aches and pain.

I'm now expecting DC2 and feel exactly the same as you and due to previous GD I'm undergoing regularly tests this time around and know I definitely do not have it (yet...there is still time!)

It's worth mentioning if your worried about it, do you have risk factors? I doubt they would prevent you from taking a GTT if you requested one

bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:32:03

Thanks peeps,

i should know all this really, with having had previous pregnancys. didnt have GD with them, BUT i certainly didnt feel like this either!

ive had
a stillbirth with DD 41+3 - 9lb 3,
emergency c-section with DS (growth issues)
Planned c-section with DD 8lb 4oz (all from previous marriage)

this pregnancy (IVF) - with new dh (well of 6 years)

Type 2 diabetes runs in the family.

whats so special about the 28 week mark? (as thats when im having growth scans from too, is that when baby starts piling on weight??)

HTKB Mon 29-Feb-16 16:32:21

Yup, agree with above, I feel totally normal. Would never have known. My blood sugars are awful too, I'm on hefty doses of both long and quick acting insulin and metformin.

You can have the test earlier, it's just they will always offer it at 28 weeks as well. So it will be repeated. The placenta can interfere earlier in pregnancy making the results inaccurate.

Panther79 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:34:19

As above ^^
I would never have known if I wasn't tested.
I was in fact quite bad in that I had to have the insulin four times a day plus the metformin tablets three times a day. I couldn't control my sugars overnight, it was always high in the morning and the consultant kept increasing the doses every week. However, I didn't feel any different and baby grew fine and was at a normal weight etc.
I had excessive fluid but it came down to normal by week 36.

Women are tested by week 28 as it is less common to develop gestational diabetes before this time. At around 28 weeks gestation your hormone levels are much higher than they were earlier in the pregnancy and are more likely to interfere with your body’s ability to process glucose. Diagnosis at this stage still allows time to manage and control your baby’s growth and wellbeing. That's what I read somewhere!
However, if you have all the risk factors for developing GD or have had it in previous pregnancies then you can ask to be tested earlier.

Sorry you are having a rough time flowers

RB68 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:36:32

I felt sick after eating and generally physically utterly exhausted

What can you do - switch to eating less carb (not no carb) and no added sugar and avoid foods with high levels of sugar in

So brown rice bread and pasta
meat and fish no sauces but some butter ok
cut caffeine can help some people too
drink full fat milk and eat ff yoghurt
berries are ok for fruit - avoid fruit juices or smoothies

trouble with gestational is its not like traditional type 2, when you are pregnant your body needs 4x insulin as normal so your body is directing what is normally OK for you elsewhere. But if you eat a diet that needs less insulin ie meat and veg/salad and low sugar it could help but best bet would be to try and ask GP for a test sooner - 28 weeks is generally where the higher insulin requirement kicks in - but it can be earlier

Babies do tend to be bigger due to amount of sugar in the blood they have access to for food, but you might just have a big baby iyswim

RB68 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:38:15

Should say a family history of type 2 might be an indicator for gestational diabetes as well so if family have type 2 I would be pestering the GP as dates can be out too

CountessOfStrathearn Mon 29-Feb-16 16:45:22

With your history and I was being phoned for advice by your MW or GP, I'd be thinking about doing a GTT straight off. Yes, probably it is all just normal pregnancy stuff but you've got enough little red flags (trying to find a better way to saying that - clearly the loss of your DD isn't a little thing at all) to make me (diabetes doc) concerned.

If it was normal, I'd still want the GTT at 28 weeks, but it might well be that you just happen to have developed T2DM since your last pregnancy and I think that needs to be excluded.

It is an easy and cheap test to do (especially if, as in some trusts, the patient has to buy the Lucozade!)

MagpieCursedTea Mon 29-Feb-16 16:50:02

I felt quite sick after eating sweet foods before I was diagnosed with GD. I also had glucose showing up in my urine tests fairly early on. I was given a standard blood sugar test at around 20 weeks and that was fine. GD was diagnosed after the GTT at 28 weeks.
I was strict with my diet but still needed metformin and insulin to keep my fasting sugars down. I was induced at 38 weeks and DS was 6lb 3oz.
I'd push for an earlier test given your symptoms and your history. All the best.

bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:55:23

Thanks my lovelies,

will see what she says tomorrow afternoon x

bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 16:58:23

ps: if i was to keep eye on my sugar levels on my own, (by stealing one of my mums sugar machine thingys) what should the levels be and when?

how do you test? and how often? before food and how long after? x

HTKB Mon 29-Feb-16 17:00:49

With the massive caveat that you really really shouldn't be diagnosing/treating yourself for GDM...

Below 5.3 first thing in the morning
Below 7.8 1 hour post meal, that is from when you start the meal.

bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 17:04:52

HTKB I wouldnt do that, im going to see what consultant says tomorrow and see what she thinks. thank you for the numbers

HTKB Mon 29-Feb-16 17:07:02

(I would totally do the same, btw)

Dangermouse80 Mon 29-Feb-16 17:07:24

Had this in both my pregnancies. Same symptoms except I felt shaky and faint when my sugars went from high to low.
Worth mentioning that I passed the fasting test at 15 and 28 weeks. It was only picked up as they gave me a testing kit to monitor for two weeks.

wonkylegs Mon 29-Feb-16 17:14:22

I have GD (am 30wks) I was tested at 24wks as I'm on long term steroids (which is a risk factor), I wouldn't have known I had it without the test. Nothing that would outwardly indicate it, in fact no different from last pregnancy, I look huge but all my growth scans show baby growing exactly on 50th percentile.
My fasting level is supposed to be under 5.3, 1hr after meals it's supposed to be less than 7.8.
I've tried diet control but can't get my evening levels down due to the steroids dose so today they are starting me on insulin today, apparently metformin doesn't work as well with steroid induced GD but that would be the usual starting treatment.
I would speak to them about arranging your test as your family history is a def risk factor. The diabetes nurse said I probably didn't get it last time (despite being on steroids then too) because I was younger.

Youremywifenow Mon 29-Feb-16 17:46:58

I feel it. Generally exhausted but I can feel when my blood sugars get too high. I test to confirm, but I just know.
I feel dizzy and my hands feel puffy and heavy and I need to sit down. Oddly, it feels like you need something sweet to boost your energy but the opposite is true, have to walk it off or run up and down stairs until it goes down.
I found out when I got tested at 28 weeks and until I was treated - metformin and insulin- I was having 2 naps a days and just couldn't function. In the mornings my hands would be really stiff and couldn't really move them properly.
I'm 35 weeks now and feel so much better with the drugs. The extreme tiredness has gone.
I was never tested with my first pregnancy as BMI wasn't high enough but from the symptoms this time round I know I had it. He was 10lbs and had to have EMCS as he was just too big to come out. His head was on 98th percentile (41cm). He was 2 weeks late and I clearly should have been induced at 40 weeks. I think it took a while to go as well. I couldn't move my hands and feet properly for a few months after.
This one is measuring just over 50th percentile and I'm having a section at 38 weeks.
My consultant said they miss about 20% of cases who are never tested.

It should be below 5.5 after fasting or before meals and no more than 7.5 after. Even with drugs, my morning level is generally between 5.5 and 6.5 i can't get it below that unless I sleep in and test late morning before eating anything. I did eat one haribo at work and it sent me to 10 and had to give myself a shot of insulin. Other than this, what I eat doesn't seem to make that much differnece it never goes too high after meals.

minipie Mon 29-Feb-16 18:00:51

I had GD (not very severe, diet controlled) and felt fine.

The reason they test at 28 weeks is because pregnant women's blood sugar levels naturally change during pregnancy. They have done research on what the levels should be (before and after a glucose challenge test) at 28 weeks. They haven't done the research at other stages of pg so if they did the test earlier/later the result is not so reliable. (Although if your sugar levels are off the scale then probably you have GD whatever stage you are at!)

In your position I would follow a low blood sugar/low GI diet. What worked for me:

- no sugar
- no cereal
- no bread, mash, baked potatoes, white rice, cous cous
- no very sweet fruit eg mango, ripe banana, pineapple
- make all meals mostly protein, fat and veg rather than starchy. So most meals are just meat (or eggs or cheese) and veg, with either no starch at all or a teeny tiny amount of brown rice, al dente pasta or new potatoes.
- you need substantial snacks between meals to keep blood sugar levels even rather than spiking at mealtimes. But they must be protein/fat based not starchy. Nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, avocado all good examples.

Apologies if you know all this already!!

bessie84 Mon 29-Feb-16 18:06:54

minipie wow thanks for that - everything i eat :-/

i was just going to ask what everyone else / doesnt - yikes. x

Youremywifenow Mon 29-Feb-16 18:32:41

Should have added that when i was first diagnosed I tried to control through diet. I cut out all carbs and sugar for a week and it made no difference as it is my fasting level which is the issue. They told me to start eating more normally again as I had ketones in my urine from doing what is basically the Atkins diet. It did bring home how much sugar I was eating and I felt the withdrawal. I watch what I eat now but not neurotically.
I can eat pudding straight after meal and it my levels are fine.
I think it varies from person to person. I can't eat carbs in the morning but later on in the day is fine. It seems really unhealthy that I can eat bacon and eggs for breakfast but not muesli.

minipie Mon 29-Feb-16 18:34:08

Sorry!! It is tough but it gets easier after the first week when your body stops craving the sugar and high GI stuff. And if you go hard at it to start with, you may find you can relax it a bit after a few weeks (do trial and error with the blood tester thingy) as your hormones may have recalibrated and the GD eased off. And it's only for a few months while pg - virtually everyone finds their GD disappears after birth.

Of course you may not even have GD! Obviously speak to your medical team before doing anything drastic.

minipie Mon 29-Feb-16 18:36:22

Yes and as youaremywife says it varies from person to person.

The thing that made most difference to me was having a biggish snack between meals, if I forgot I would get a spike no matter what I ate.

bessie84 Wed 02-Mar-16 08:33:22

thanks all. HATED my consultant appt. my regular consultant didnt turn up, was waiting 2 hours, they lost my notes, eventually saw 2 male consultants (one thyroid specialist as i have dodgy thyroid) they both just spoke over me. i give up x

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