Gestational Diabetes: 3 Musts for a Healthy Baby

Syeita Rhey-Fisher
Syeita is a teacher, author, writer and advocate for educational equity.

Aug 20,2016

 “Pregnancy is a process that invites you to surrender to the unseen force behind all life.” – Judy Ford

“HOMESTRETCH!” I yell at the top of my lungs after finally reaching the 9-month, full term stage of my pregnancy.

This pregnancy, number 3, has been the roughest. You would think I would have been an expert by now, but the words that describe my journey are… overwhelmed, jubilant, exhausted, invigorated, over-it, apprehension and eagerness. I fall within that 10% population of women who have gestational diabetes. Despite having multiple pregnancies with the same high-risk factor, each pregnancy have brought on its own new discoveries, challenges and adventures. I am fortunate enough not to have ever needed insulin. However, I still follow a strict controlled diet, test my sugar 4 times a day and urinate on a strip each morning.

I have to admit, with my extremely busy schedule I did not initially follow everything I was supposed to do consistently and religiously. It wasn’t until the third trimester that the threat of giving birth to a gigantic baby scared me into compliance. Other risks also include high blood pressure, preeclampsia and a greater chance of having a C-section. These are the 3 things that helped me during my multiple gestational diabetic pregnancies…

  1. Correcting my eating habits: I was given a personalized diet plan to follow after receiving the results of my glucose testing. I eat smaller portions 5 times a day. The portions are sugar-free (obviously), contain a limited amount of carbohydrates, a protein and a vegetable. I have to stay away from juices, caffeine and drink lots of water. 
  2. Staying active: For most pregnant woman this means exercise in the form of walking. For me, it meant constantly running up and down the stairs taking care of my 3-year old and 13-month old. It also meant picking up my students, teaching, bringing them to specials, lunch and out for dismissal.
  3. Keeping brain stimulated: I did ALOT of reading and writing, mostly for grad school (I wanted to finish prior to my newborn arriving). The rest of the reading and writing was for pleasure and around things I am passionate about; it has been therapeutic. I also joined Reader’s Legacy which provided me an additional platform for me to express myself through article writing.

As my hormones increased, these three things helped me to keep my emotions and sanity in check. It also meant a happier husband.  Even more significant, I never had a bad blood pressure reading despite the amount of stress I was under teaching, completing grad school, taking care of young children at home and all of the requirements to keep my gestational diabetes under control. The above is what worked for me.

Additional bullet points about my gestational diabetes experience…

  • The worst part: not being able to eat ice cream (it is a double strike because of the carbohydrates from the milk and the sugar).
  • Greatest fear: having a 9lb+ baby
  • Hardest part: remembering to eat or test sugar 2 hours after each meal, especially when you fall asleep from fatigue.
  • Greatest joy: each time the baby moves
  • Biggest surprise: a cracker can be more harmful to me then a piece of bacon

 

So what are the results of my 3 gestational diabetic pregnancies so far?

Pregnancy 1: girl, born 5lbs 13oz, vaginal birth, healthy, no diabetes for baby or me after birth
Pregnancy 2: girl, born 7lbs 4oz, vaginal birth, healthy, no diabetes for baby or me after birth
Pregnancy 3: boy, expected in a few weeks, keep me in your prayers!

 

Have any questions or want more details about my experience with gestational diabetes? Leave me a comment.

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