My healthy babies are now 29 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days old
I’d been pregnant a few times before. I had heard the term ‘gestational diabetes’ but it never applied to me. I didn’t even think about it. I went into my 1 hour glucose test with the twins expecting nothing but perfect results. When I failed everyone was like ”Don’t worry. Many, many people fail the one hour and go on to pass the 3 hour test. It’s quite common.”
After doing a lot of searching on the Internet I found that to be true. My doctor even said to me, ”You definitely will pass the 3 hour so no worries. You don’t have any family history, you aren’t overweight…you just don’t fit the bill for GD at all.”
I’m here to say there really is no true ‘fitting the bill’. Anybody can potentially get gestational diabetes during pregnancy, more especially if you are carrying multiples. That was my only risk factor for GD, and the only one I apparently needed. I failed my 3 hour test. This was the only complication that I had during my twin pregnancy. Looking back it wasn’t so horrific but at the time I was devastated. I hope I can help some others so they won’t freak out as much as I did.
Some facts about gestational diabetes
1. Carrying multiples increases the risk
I knew many other women pregnant with twins and the vast majority did not have GD, but it does heighten the risk.
2. GD affects roughly 4% of all pregnancies
That may seem like not many women to you, but when you think about how many pregnant women there are in the world at any give time you are NOT alone by far.
3. Most women who fail the one hour glucose test will go on to pass the second, fasting test and will not be diagnosed with GD
4.Properly cotrolled GD will not harm you nor your babies if you make sure to control your diet and take your insulin if it is prescribed to you
5. Not all women with gestational diabetes need insulin
Many to most are controlled by diet modification and exercise alone.
6. Fear of further complications
GD does not mean for certain that your babies will be born prematurely, overly large, and does not mean you WILL have any further complications during labor and delivery. I was not treated any differently in the hospital during the birth of my twins. If you don’t control your GD (gestational diabetes), complications can arise. So it is important to follow instructions, but please don’t bug out.
7. Uncontrolled GD can be dangerous
Never skip testing and always follow your doctor’s advice. Proper prenatal care during any pregnancy, especially a twin one is VERY important.
8. Being significantly overweight increases you risk of developing GD
9. Being over the age of 25 increases your risk
10. Being African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Asian increases the risk of developing GD
11. Women are routinely tested for gestational diabetes between weeks 24-28 of their pregnancies
12. A family history increases your risk. Also, if you have had gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy
13. If you have gestational diabetes you’ll probably be able to control your blood sugar levels with diet and exercise
14. Bigger babies
Improperly controlled diabetes can lead to larger babies, thus increasing the rate of cesarean delivery. My twins were the perfect weight so don’t assume this will happen.. just follow instructions. If you don’t allow all of that extra glucose to get to your babies, they will be of normal size. Mine were a bit over 5 lbs. and 1 was close to 6 lbs. at 37 weeks. Totally normal.
15. Postpartum blood sugar testing
Your blood sugars will be tested after delivery and at your 6 week checkup. Most of the time your blood sugars will be completely back to normal by then.
Glucose testing number’s chart
What are the physical symtpoms you may notice if you have GD?
1. Increased thirst
3. Increased hunger
4. Frequent urination
5. Blurred vision
6. Dry mouth
You may have 1, all, or none of the symptoms above and still have GD. Only your testing will tell you for sure as I didn’t really notice any symptoms myself. Pregnancy can cause many of the same symptoms, so testing is the only way to be sure. Never self-diagnose.
What is gestational diabetes REALLY?
In a nutshell it occurs when the body isn’t able to make and use all of the insulin that is needed for your pregnancy. Normally the body makes and uses insulin for energy without any problem, but in the case of gestational diabetes you are not producing enough insulin and the sugar builds up in your blood and it doesn’t get used by your body for fuel. This would explain the fatigue, but in a twin pregnancy you may notice that anyhow.
What complications are possible due to gestational diabetes?
(You are most at risk for these things if you do not manage your GD properly during your pregnancy)
1. High blood pressure during pregnancy, labor, etc.
2. Jaundice in newborns
3. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in your newborn(s)
4. Pre-term delivery
5. Excessive birth weight (macrosomia)
6. POSSIBLE future diabetes
However, if you lose the weight postpartum and go back to your former size or close, you have lower than a 1 in 4 chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. (Probably close to the same as the general population.. if not the same.) If you become or remain obese the statistics can be as high as 1 in 2.
Reading this scared me so bad, but I personally do NOT believe a pregnancy can ‘bring on’ type 2 diabetes later in life. I believe it may show itself during pregnancy and you may be diagnosed later, but only if you were going to be diagnosed anyway. A pregnancy can’t CAUSE permanent diabetes from all I know and what I believe. Don’t freak like I did over reading that. I simply find it not to be related and no doctor has disagreed with me to date.
I just learned I have gestational diabetes and I’m scared. What do I do?
If you look back in my pregnancy journal you will see I was completely devastated with the GD diagnosis. I honestly did cry my eyes out because I wasn’t educated on GD in the least. I couldn’t understand why I had it, and worried about the effects on my babies to be. I just felt like I couldn’t handle the diagnosis and felt broken. This was very dumb of me in hindsight now, but PLEASE do allow yourself to vent. It’s OK. Nobody wants to have gestational diabetes, but it’s not a death sentence or anything. Things can surely be worse.
Also admittedly, the thought of pricking my finger 6 times a day, changing everything about my diet overnight, running to extra doctor appointments, and walking a tightrope looking at my levels on a meter all day long made me scared and feeling overwhelmed. I googled and cried some more. Please do not do this. A happy outcome is most likely, and it is more common than you think. Never feel alone in this. You will do fine!
Talk to your doctor and ask questions. Don’t leave there confused or under-educated. He will explain things to you and also refer you to an endocrinologist and a dietitian/ nutritionist to help you stay away from the ‘bad foods’, most of which you will likely never know were bad at all, like me, and help keep your numbers in check. I learned A LOT about food by having GD. Most people will be able to get through this with only diet changes and some increased exercise. Others may need insulin.
I was on the borderline of needing insulin, but got my numbers close enough to not need it. My morning fasting numbers were still a tad high. I sort of think I maybe should have had a bit of it. Annie was completely fine at birth, but when checked, she had to have her blood sugars leveled out a little bit after she went over to the nursery. She was fine, and both babies came home with me after a smooth vaginal delivery. And a normal, 2 day, hospital stay.
It all may seem overwhelming but remember, it’s for such a short time when you think about it. In looking back I would say I over-reacted to the whole thing. Just make sure to follow all instructions to assure both you and your babies are happy and healthy, ask questions and demand answers. Don’t freak out. It is NOT forever, but your baby or twins surely will be! GOOD LUCK!