Here’s the nitty gritty, ladies! You can expect anywhere from one to all of these with gestational diabetes.
Everything is on a schedule, and it’ll likely interrupt your current routine. You’ll be testing your blood sugar at least four times a day, waking up just to test your fasting sugar at the right time, eating at every 3-4 hours, taking medication, logging the meal’s nutrition, examining your readings to determine what works best for you, and more. These are daily occurrences that hit you all at once and it can be quite overwhelming. You get stressed about it all, and then you get stressed about being stressed because stress affects your blood sugar too!
An Adjustment Period
Unless you are already eating six times a day, or eating a “clean” diet, you’re going to go through an adjustment period. You’re going to have cravings, on top of the ones you already have, but these cravings will likely be for the carb-filled foods you had to cut back on. – View a helpful Cravings Infographic here. – Additionally, you’ll be hungry before it’s time to eat again, and sometimes you’ll still feel full when it’s time to eat.
It’ll take days to weeks for your body and mind to adjust to these changes, just be patient and do what your body intuitively tells you to do. That means eat if you’re hungry, honor your cravings (portioning if necessary) and adjust as necessary based on your blood sugar readings.
At one point or another you’re going to be overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, angry, sick of it all, rebellious and more. You’re going to get sick of eating the same foods, feel like you have no options, not care, care immensely, be HANGRY, feel like you can’t eat out or attend a gathering, feel like GD is dictating your entire life, lash out at loved ones, curl up in a corner of self pity and much more! But guess what: it’ll last for only a few moments.
This is why the GD Facebook groups are so important. You can vent or wallow there and everyone understands and offers encouragement! Simply type “gestational diabetes support group” in the search bar at the top of your Facebook feed. The members also share recipes and ideas, and you can sign up here to be notified when I post a new recipe or meal plan.
Not Everyone will Understand or Sympathize
This is so important to know before it hits you like a brick wall. You may be use to getting great emotional support from your partner or family, then all of a sudden your partner oversimplifies the diet and what you’re going through and you feel alone. Again, the GD Facebook groups are there for support.
Unless the person has been through GD or is diabetic themselves, they’re not going to understand all that you’re going through. It’s mentally burdening to test your blood sugar four times a day, let alone the physical aspect of it. It’s stressful to meal plan for yourself separately from the rest of your household.
You’re pregnant, which is enough in itself. Mental health is so incredibly important, especially during pregnancy. Moms that have been in your position are willing to help. If you don’t feel comfortable posting on Facebook, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to meet you and help as I can.
On the Right Path
I feel like I need to include a positive here to kind of balance the other expectations. The positive is that this diagnosis has opened your awareness and placed you on a path to better health. GD is not just about hormones. It’s possible that you were an un-diagnosed pre-diabetic before pregnancy. This diagnosis has changed your eating habits which was necessary because pre-diabetics develop diabetes within five years, and up to 70% of mothers with GD develop diabetes withing five years after delivery. So continue on this path!
The information above is from Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily Nichols (affiliate link). It’s a great resource!