Wednesday, February 27, 2008
GD and me
So I thought I should maybe update the whole blood sugar situation for anyone who was concerned. Here goes:
They screen everyone for gestational diabetes between 24-28 weeks. Basically you have to drink this sweet orange drink and then they check your blood sugar an hour later. If it is too high, it means that you may have gestational diabetes and that they need to test you further.
*Note to CNA who poked my finger--It's really not a good idea to tell a pregnant woman that she has "failed". We are already worried about failing-- as mother's-- as women, we do not need to hear those words verbalized.
I failed my first test. It was too high. So I had to go back to the doctor and do a three hour fasting glucose tolerance test, which is exactly what is sounds like. They test your fasting blood sugar, then you drink some more orange stuff that is twice as sweet as last time. They kindly admonish you that if you feel like vomiting to please try not to, as it messes up the test. Then you sit in a dizzy nauseous haze for three hours while getting a vial of blood drawn each hour. I have no idea why a whole vial is needed to get a simple blood sugar, or why they have to send it to a lab, and make you wait a whole day to get the results, when they have those neat little machines that do it so fast (hmm? wonder why health care is so expensive).
So if two out of those four blood sugars are too high based on a pre-set range of values, you have Gestational Diabetes, which means your body doesn't make enough insulin in it's pregnant state, or is resistant to using it properly. From what I have read, pregnancy hormones naturally suppress your body's insulin utilization as a way to ensure that the baby gets enough calories to grow (so your insulin doesn't hog all the sugar and dump it into your cells before it can get to the baby). Also, it seems you need something like 2 to 3 times more insulin to keep up with the physiological changes of pregnancy (so why do you suppress it? Like morning, sickness this makes no sense to me). And some people have a either a genetic or fat-induced predisposition to having some insulin resistance already. So put 'em all together and you get Gestational Diabetes. Usually it goes away after pregnancy but if you do have it, you are much more likely to get type 2 Diabetes later on in life. GD is not good for the baby's health for a whole bunch of reasons, all of which I am acutely aware, seeing as I work in the place where the ones with really bad problems end up. I'll spare you the details, but google it if you are curious.
So back to me. One of my levels was above the cutoff point and one was borderline. So though I do not officially have GD, my doctor is still having me check my blood sugar to make sure things are OK. Which equals poking myself several times a day, and carrying around one of those stylish little black pouches with the necessary supplies. Oh and staying away from sugar. Duh.
Don't feel sorry for me, I already feel sorry enough for myself.
No actually its really not too bad. And actually my blood sugar has been rather on the low side of normal, which kind of makes me wonder if I was ever really in danger, or if anyone who drinks a super sugary drink on an empty stomach would have high blood sugar? ( I am sure we could have a whole discussion on whether screening healthy people leads to unnecessary interventions). So I don't need insulin or anything like that. I just eat a normal healthy diet and check my blood sugar, which so far has been fine fine fine. At any rate, it's kind of good to be watching things and have the reassurance that at least in terms of blood sugar, I am not failing my child. (Take THAT CNA.)
It's also kind of a wake-up call that I need to be extra careful about food and health in my life. We have a strong familial tendency towards diabetes so it doesn't hurt to be cautious.
So there you go.