Finding Out You’re Pregnant...and Diabetic

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Congratulations! After seven years of trying to conceive, you and your husband are finally expecting. You are pregnant! This is one of the happiest days of your life, even happier than your wedding day! You have created life, just the two of you, together. You are both so elated, jumping up and down and squealing with joy that you almost miss when the doctor says, “But…”. Suddenly the room gets quiet. What could possibly be standing in your way? You and your husband are both relatively healthy adults. I mean, besides your occasional bouts of low blood sugar, and the little bit of weight you have gained over the last few months, everything is fine. So you thought…

Why is the doctor looking at you like that? He doesn’t look scared, which is a relief, but more concerned. You try your best to stay calm, your husband finally just going for it, “What’s the problem Doc.?”  The doctor then, looking you right in the eyes, says, “I am sorry, but some of your lab work came back abnormal.” What lab work was he talking about? I thought we had only checked on the status of the baby. “Is something wrong with my baby?” you ask, almost in tears, worried that you may not be pregnant for long. He says, “No, not yet, as long as you listen and take what I say next very seriously.

He explains to you that you are not simply hypoglycemic like you had previously thought. You are diabetic. You are pregnant and diabetic. All of a sudden, thoughts start racing through your mind. How is this going to affect my baby? How is this going to affect my pregnancy or my life after giving birth? Am I going to be okay? Is my baby going to be okay? Your husband is hugging you, holding you, trying to stay calm for you. The doctor then proceeds to tell you that everything will be okay, that your baby will be okay, and that you can have a normal pregnancy. You just have to follow a steady meal plan, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood sugar throughout the day. This is not a death sentence. It is merely a wake-up call.

The next few months were rough. They were full of morning sickness, unsatisfied cravings, and lots of needles. The morning sickness you were expecting. You’d have to be in denial to think you were going to somehow bypass that one. What you were not prepared for, was how hard it was going to be to have to ignore all of your cravings. Even though you had never been one to even crave chocolate or junk food on your period, for some reason during this pregnancy, that is all your body wanted. Your dreams were filled with chocolate rain and pools  of jello. Your thoughts were of pizza and pasta, and all of the different ways you could prepare them. The reality though, was that you were not able to eat any of those. Maybe at most a little, tiny, almost non-existent portion of whole grain spaghetti, followed by some lean protein, and mountains of veggies. Carrots and kale became your best friends.

Even harder than having to ignore your cravings, was having to stab yourself multiple times throughout the day. Before you ate, 1-2 hours after you ate, and before you went to sleep. Your fingers felt like they were going to fall off. Word of advice, make sure to use a different finger each time! Trust me, it will save you a lot of pain. I will say that even though having to watch your diet, going for nightly walks with your husband, which you did religiously, and having to monitor your blood sugar may have gotten annoying at times, it was a thousand times better than the alternative. The doctor had warned that if you did not get a grasp on your diabetes, that you would have to be on insulin, and that you would not be able to take oral medications while you were pregnant. There was not enough evidence to support they were safe yet. So, keeping to a healthy lifestyle was your best bet.

Eventually the big day came... and went. You and your husband were now the proud parents of a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Her weight and height were perfect, and you were able to have a natural birth, with no complications. This would not have been possible without the encouragement you received from your doctor, your husband, your friends, and your family. They helped you stick to a routine, ignore those awful cravings, and even offered to test your blood sugar for you when you were not feeling well. Thanks to them, and your hard work and dedication, you were not only able to make it through your pregnancy, you were able to get your diabetes in check, and even keep off most of the dreaded baby weight! You go, girl!



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By Lauren DiCamillo of Expecting Parents Alliance of America

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