Pregnancy Comes in all Shapes and Sizes: Diabetes and Pregnancy with TippyTupps
Thank you so much to Vicki for telling her story about developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy and how impacted on her pregnancy experience. Gestational Diabetes can develop at any stage of pregnancy and certain women are more likely to develop it for example – if you’ve had it before, you have an immediate relative with diabetes, you are overweight, you are of a certain ethnic background. During an antenatal booking appointment all pregnant women fit into the criteria for screening will be tested at 28 weeks of pregnancy for diabetes by a Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. Alternatively if during your pregnancy you have a couple of occasions of glycosuria (sugar in urine) or you have a large baby growing you will be offered the OGGT too.
Hi – I’m Vicki from over at Tippytupps: a parenting and lifestyle blog following me, my amazing daughter, gorgeous son, put upon husband and crazy cat. It follows our lives as we try and juggle everything that makes up the world of us! Helen has very kindly let me take over her blog to answer her TalkingMums questionnaire – thank you Helen!
“I’m a big kid who is simply trying to find her way through life with my amazing daughter, gorgeous son, wonderful husband and crazy cat.”
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.
Myself and my husband met when he was the boy next door. Yep, we are that cliché! I used to live next to his mum and met through her. Fast forward almost 12 years and we are married and live in a little village in North Wales along with our daughter who is two and our son who is currently 9 months old. We have a huge extended family though with three sets of parents, a plethora of brothers and sisters and lots of nieces and nephews that we try our best to spend time with!
Did you have pre-existing diabetes or was diabetes detected in your pregnancy?
No history at all, and in fact my first pregnancy was completely clear for Gestational Diabetes despite the fact I put on 5 stone with her. Yep, you read right….5 STONE. Eek!! Second time around with my son, I ate well and only put on 20 lbs the entire pregnancy but at 28 weeks at my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) it came back positive.
If diabetes was detected during your pregnancy, how did this happen? Routine screening due to BMI/ ethnicity/history or suspicions raised from your antenatal appointments?
I had the routine GTT test at 28 weeks due to a number of factors: my BMI (some of that damn 5 stone from the first time was just sticking around!), my father has type 2 diabetes and I had a high-risk emergency caesarean last time around so was under special care this time.
If detected in pregnancy how did you feel about the diagnosis?
I was very pragmatic on receiving the news and just approached it as one of those things to manage in pregnancy, such as taking folic acid in the 1st trimester. I was lucky that it was gestational and only had to deal with the condition for the remainder of my pregnancy; around 3 months. There are people who have to manage this condition 100% of the time.
Did you feel that you received adequate specialist care and advice during your pregnancy?
I did….and I didn’t.
There were a lot of people involved once I was diagnosed with GD. Midwives, consultants, specialists, dieticians and the diabetic clinic. Unfortunately, all wanted separate appointments which were on different days, often with 3 or 4 appointments in one week. Each group of medical professionals had their own opinions, each had their own advice and nearly every set was different. When I raised this with each set at the time, I was given a variation of “oh you don’t want to pay attention to that”. This made for a frustrating and confusing end to my pregnancy.
Did your diabetes affect your birth choices? If so how?
In the end no. But during those 3 months, I was told a variety of things: I would not be allowed 37 weeks, I would HAVE to have an induction etc. In fact, I had 3 separate section dates booked in by one consultant, 2 of which were cancelled by another as it was ‘unnecessary’ so I didn’t really know whether I was coming or going all the way throughout.
In the end, I was told that I could not go past 40 weeks plus a few days so I had a section booked in as I refused to ever have another induction again (you can find out why by reading my daughter’s birth story). However, that become redundant as I went into labour naturally at 39 weeks.
Please share a brief account of your birth experience.
I had a natural labour and things were going well until he just stopped moving down. An examination showed that he had moved breech during labour and therefore had to be turned around in my birth canal before he could make his way into the world. No amount of pushing was going to get him out with his head in my hip! So, in the end he was born via assisted delivery using forceps. If you love a good birth story and want to read more then you can find the full story here.
Did the baby suffer any complications following birth such as low blood sugars?
We’re really lucky that there was no impact on him at all. We had to have a series of tests after he was born to check his sugars and make sure that everything was ok and it was.
How has your diabetes been since you had your baby?
Completely gone (thankfully!). I need to have an annual check as those people who had have GD are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in later life. To combat this I am trying to make the changes I made in my last 3 months of pregnancy more permanent. I was lucky that I made it most of the way through by managing it via diet, though the last few weeks needed medication to help control my levels too. Those diet changes are what I am trying to embed into day to day life now.
What is your best piece of advice to someone else with diabetes in pregnancy?
Keep a detailed food diary alongside your blood sugar monitoring and really look for patterns as to what is making your sugars spike. For me strawberries, baked beans and white pasta were all HUGE triggers for me but I could get away with small portions of apple etc. Learning to understand how your body reacts to certain foods and respond accordingly will help you to control your levels.
If you would like to know more about screening for diabetes in pregnancy and the OGGT click here.
Have you read the other guest posts on diabetes in pregnancy? Read Kim’s from OddHogg and Eva’s from Captain Bobcat.