I was diagnosed with this at 30 weeks, following a referral made after a routine urine test. I was devastated when I got the news and burst into tears, having pre Googled all the worst case scenarios and having a normal enough fear of needles. There and then I was given a blood sugar monitor and a long talk with a dietician who decided that I’d spend 3 days trying to manage the diabetes through diet. Initially doing the hourly thumb prick test and following the diet felt like a full time job and having to eat a restricted diet was torture to a woman heavily pregnant with twins and always hungry.
The following week I went back to the diabetes clinic and was told I’d have to start injecting insulin once a day. By this time I was calmer and had got used to doing the pin pricks so I took this in my stride. The needle is called a pen because this is exactly what it looks like and injecting into my thigh was really not too bad and not at all painful. Once I got used to the diet restrictions I found all sorts of things I could eat with just a little adaptation – vegetable curries substituting Dahl for rice etc. My blood sugar stabilised and I managed to get through an entire Christmas and New Year without so much as a chocolate or roast potato. Once I started maternity leave it was a lot easier because I didn’t have to excuse myself from meetings to go do thumb prick tests and pack up an entire days worth of snacks and meals.
Eve and Leah were born at 39.5 weeks weighing a small but healthy 5lbs each. I had a c-section (not because of the diabetes) and an insulin drip throughout my labour and delivery. The diabetes took about five days to disappear and once I got the all clear I ordered a portion of apple crumble and custard – hospital food has never tasted so delicious!
I know that I remain at a higher risk of developing full blown diabetes and this has certainly been a consideration in deciding not to have any more children. I have an annual check with my GP and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
After an initial few months of going mad for chocolate brownies and hot buttered toast, I started to follow a low GI diet which I don’t think I would have done otherwise so there’s a silver lining in that having gestational diabetes changed my eating habits and that of my family for the better. No one knows exactly why I developed gestational diabetes, type 2 does run in my family and having twins obviously pits an extra strain on your pancras, I also gained a lot of weight very quickly when I was pregnant and craved sugary foods, which had I known I was at risk I would have controlled more.
Leonie from East Dulwich, mum to Leah and Eve 4