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Ask Jamie: Gestational Diabetes

Posted Sep 18 2009 10:42pm
Jill asks:

I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with a singleton and just found out I have gestational diabetes. Can you tell me more about your experience? What are some good foods and snacks for keeping my sugar level in check?

Gestational Diabetes can be pretty scary and it is definitely an issue that will require more doctor's appointments and monitoring. I am currently going to the doctor two times per week for non-stress tests and weekly ultrasounds to make sure that the babies are doing okay despite my high blood sugar levels. I test my blood sugar four times per day and I am on two shots of long acting and three shots of fast acting insulin per day. My insulin is increased at nearly every appointment as the placentas grow larger and make it more and more difficult for my body to process glucose.

In some ways, I feel lucky that I experienced infertility as it has put everything else about pregnancy in a different perspective for me. I am more than willing to do whatever I have to do -- be it drive two hours to appointments, stick myself with multiple needles and lancets, etc. if it means ending up with healthy babies.

I only failed the original glucose test by 1 point so I was very hopeful that I would be able to control my glucose levels by diet alone, but that has not been the case at all. Many times I feel sick after I eat and so that has made it more difficult for me to gain weight. I thought pregnancy was suppose to be a free for all buffet but that definitely has not been the case.

As far as eating, it quickly became obvious that I am a total carb addict. I've really struggled to find good sources of protein and fat to add to my diet. Some foods that I've found keep my glucose levels in check include all meats and cheeses, hard boiled eggs and colby jack cheese, a small apple with peanut butter or cheese, celery with peanut butter, mixed nuts, etc. I've also been drinking a lot of smoothies. I've been making the smoothies with sugar free Carnation instant breakfast. (Example: 1 cup crushed ice, 1 cup milk, a whole banana, and 5-6 Tablespoons of the chocolate powder and blend. I also do the same thing with vanilla and strawberries). The smoothies taste sweet and gives me quite a few calories, vitamins, and protein. The instant breakfast has a lot of protein and vitamins which seems to balance the sugar from the milk and banana while keeping my numbers in range. Fruit without some type of protein source really makes my numbers spike.

I love sweets and desserts so limiting them and my beloved peppermint patties has been very difficult. I eat a ton of sugar free breath savers to work on that craving... Mike and I recently discussed the number of mints I've eaten this pregnancy and it is outrageous. I've literally eaten hundreds of them.

Have you experienced gestational diabetes? What was your experience like? What were some good foods/snacks that you ate during that time period to help regulate your blood sugar? What advice do you have for others dealing with gestational diabetes?

Friday's Feature at Sticky Feet PartDeuxis Ask Jamie. Feel free to email me or leave a comment with any question you would like for me to answer. Anything is fair game!
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