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Gestational Diabetes

November 2, 2011

So I’ve been diagnosed with GD and frankly, it’s a pain in the arse. I did the obligatory blood sugar test a couple of weeks ago (the old fashioned way here in Myanmar of course, which involves fasting then drinking vast amounts of sugar and having a blood and urine test after an hour and then two hours. Like, yuck and double yuck). Funnily enough I’d had an inkling that things weren’t entirely right as I just kept feeling a bit peculiar, waking up one memorable night feeling dizzy several times – which is quite a feat when you’re lying down. Plus the mysterious headaches had been persisting, despite having decided they were postural and thus self-medicating with massage and yoga (no osteopaths here).

In any case, the inestimable Dr Helen confirmed the diagnosis and off I went to buy a glucometer and test myself 4 times a day whilst keeping a food diary. ‘Room for improvement’ was the diagnosis and this time it was me that was packed off to Bangkok courtesy of the insurance people, though I didn’t get to travel business class like Pete. I did however get to stay in the 5-star Pan Pacific Residence thank you very much, and saw the endocrinologist, dietician and obstetrician at Samitivej Hospital, which is rapidly becoming our second home.

I’ve come to terms with it now, but initially I was very upset. More along the lines of ‘not something else I have to deal with’ than anything else, though there was an initial burst of ‘I’ve let my baby down’. It’s not very researched, GD, but around 1 in 3 – 4 women get it and they don’t always know why, though weight and age are a contributory factor and if you put a lot of weight on in the first and second trimester it’s generally Not a Good Thing. Though frankly, with Alfie I put on almost 30kgs and didn’t get it, so who knows? A couple of days after the diagnosis I got a bit cross with my body for letting me down like this, but then realised that it was all part and parcel of the general feeling of being too old for this pregnancy lark. Perhaps my body is telling me something.

The upshot is that I am managing my diet and because my measurements are borderline I don’t need to take insulin just yet. It’s just a healthy eating thing, low GI and low fat and no sugar and 30 mins of exercise a day, which is quite an ask for a heavily pregnant lady. I suddenly want to sit on the sofa and eat chocolate all day.

But by far the biggest implication for us is that I will almost certainly have a C-section and Dr Sankiat won’t allow me to go past 38 weeks, as diabetes is very wearing on the placenta, apparently. If you don’t manage it all that sugar ages the placenta quite rapidly so it can’t really make it to 40 weeks. Plus, the main symptom of GD is big babies, so taking all that in to account, we’re in for an elective caesarian. And that, for some reason, I find most upsetting of all.

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