Friday, June 11, 2010


I have to admit: as much as I was dreading sitting through the gestational diabetes education class, it was actually rather interesting. Very well done. I was afraid that it was going to be two and a half hours of "Don't eat cake. No, seriously, don't eat cake." Instead, they actually taught us the biological mechanism that causes gestational diabetes, how it differs from normal Type 2 diabetes, and walked us through some very practical GD diet advice. Not bad.

I mentioned in my last post that I didn't fully understand why I had even been diagnosed with GD, since I only failed one of the four tests, in a rather odd way, and even the American Diabetes Association says that you need to fail two of the tests to be diagnosed. When the nurse teaching the class put up info about the test, confirming that it takes two fails to be diagnosed, I had to ask, so I went to chat with her during the break. Here are the somewhat frustrating things I learned in that conversation:

First, she told me that the OBs in my clinic are "more conservative than most" and made their own policy to diagnose GD with only one failed test. So at any other clinic, I'd be considered healthy. Second, she admitted to me that she had noticed my test results in particular, because they were so borderline. After looking at my full history and test results, she is fairly convinced that I don't have GD. (She even said, "The one factor that I've seen produce results like yours is stress. Have you been under any stress lately?" And I burst out laughing.) But then she gave me the "better safe than sorry" speech, and said that as long as I was already there, it would be best to continue to monitor me for the rest of the pregnancy. Which, yeah, I assumed would be the conclusion, but it doesn't make it any less annoying.

I've only been following this GD diet for two days so far, so I'm not ready to draw any far-reaching conclusions, but I've found my initial reaction to be somewhat surprising. I thought that I would really really hate following the diet. A lot. I've barely eaten any desserts since getting pregnant, but I have been surviving on fruit. And during my pregnancy with LL, I had horrible food aversions to chicken and beef, so I pretty much survived on carbs. Also, I've been craving milk lately. But, with the GD restrictions, a big glass of milk fills just about my entire carb quota for a meal, and I'm not allowed to have fruit with breakfast or before bedtime. Really annoying. Still, other than the milk and fruit, I've found the limits to be not too bad so far.

The part that's annoying the hell out of me is that I have to time everything. Three meals and three snacks each day. At least two hours between each of those, but not more than four hours. And I have to test my blood sugar exactly one hour after each meal.

The problem with this schedule? Almost every single hour, I have to be sitting down somewhere, either to eat or to test. An hour after I start eating breakfast, I'm usually in the car commuting to work. But I can't test my blood sugar while I'm driving. So, I either need to sit around at home for an hour so that I can test before I get in the car (which makes me very late to work) or I have to eat really early in the morning, which makes me throw up. My afternoon snack almost always needs to happen while I'm driving home from work, but I can't find any "allowable" snacks that are easy to eat in the car. If I wait to have the snack until I get home, it pushes dinner into LL's bedtime. And even if I manage to be able to eat dinner when I want, testing an hour later is even more problematic, because that's when I'm putting LL to bed. I can't hold a toddler in my lap, read him a story, and test blood sugar all at the same time. And the testing that needs to happen while I'm at work is hard, because I need to sneak into abandoned conference rooms to get some privacy, often walking out of meetings to do so.

If I were convinced that all this work was for the good of the baby, then I'd happily do it. But you know what? I don't have GD! I was given guidelines for where they want my blood sugar to fall at various times, and they also mentioned what "normal, non-GD" results would look like. Admittedly, I only have two days worth of date on myself, but still: my results so far all look completely normal. Even though I've been pretty sloppy about counting carbs.

I have a follow-up appointment with the nutritionist next week, and I plan to grill her on whether I can ease up on the dietary restrictions a bit. Maybe monitor a little less often. We'll see.


  1. I really hope that they let you ease up the restrictions soon. I also hope that this doesn't sound offensive, but in my expereience you will very quickly learn to test your blood sugar on the go. The monitor I had was tiny - maybe the size of 2 blackberries and fit easily in my purse. If you bring alcohol swabs (you can buy both if they gave you a huge monitor at almost any drug store) you can test just about anywhere. I routinely would turn my back in class and test quickly while students were working on a 5 minute group project. By month 9 I was perfect comfortable testing my blood sugar standing in a rush of at least a hundred people waiting for their trains in Penn Station and waiting in line to board a plane. It really does get easier, and YOU should not feel like you have to leave the room. If I were in a conference room with other people, I'd politely warn people: "I need to check my blood sugar. If the sigh of blood makes you queasy, would you turn away."

  2. Yeah, it sounds like they are being way too conservative. I hope they ease up a bit soon.

  3. I hope they do loosen things up for you a bit. It sounds like a pain in the ass! I would be horrible with GD...all I ever eat are carbs.

  4. Rachel -- the not testing in public thing is more about me; I'm just not comfortable doing it in front of other people. It doesn't help that none of my coworkers know that I'm pregnant, and I don't want to answer questions. My husband has been known to faint at the sight of blood, so I can't even do it in front of him. And even if I was okay with doing it in front of whoever, it DOES take two hands, so I couldn't do it in the car.

    Mostly I'm just whining, though, because I resent the diagnosis. Blech.

  5. 8 to 9 days? Seriously? I was SO hoping that it would be less.


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