2/15/2016

How to Survive Gestational Diabetes

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How to Survive Gestational Diabetes
Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that last month I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.

This basically means my body -- because of my pregnancy -- isn't breaking down food the way it's supposed to. So now I prick my fingers four times a day and strictly monitor the amount of carbohydrates and protein I eat.

I'm not gonna lie -- the diet, the routine, the fasting and finger pricking have been hard adjustments, but ones I'm certainly happy to make to ensure I'm not harming our baby girl during what is now considered a higher risk pregnancy.

When I was diagnosed a few hours after swigging down that glucose drink (Yep - my results were so high, they allowed me to forego the 3-hour test.), I immediately texted my twin sister who also had it during her pregnancy.

"OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS? DON'T FREAK OUT. IT'LL BE OKAY," she texted back.

I wasn't freaking out until then. Ha!

The following weekend, she took me to the store and aisle by aisle, she walked me through the diet changes she made.

And a few days later, my husband and I met with a diabetes educator where we learned how to manage my Gestational Diabetes without completely isolating myself from the rest of the family during mealtimes.

Over the past few weeks, I've learned there are lots of women in the same boat -- trying their darndest to manage their blood sugar through diet changes.

My Pinterest board for Gestational Diabetes exploded overnight [by the way, Pinterest is a great resource for those of you who are -- or know someone who is -- facing Gestational Diabetes], so I thought I'd offer my insight and tips on how to survive a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis via my blog as well:

1. Remember this diagnosis is not the end of the world.

Sure, it puts a damper in the donut cravings, and it's a bummer you can't reach in the freezer for a pint of your favorite ice cream. [Trust me. The struggle is real there, folks.]

But remember, this lifestyle change is hopefully only temporary, and it's the first of many times that sweet baby of yours will take top priority.

2. Don't get discouraged.

Easier said than done, right? If you've never had to monitor your blood sugar before and now you suddenly find yourself having to check your levels multiple times a day, it's easy to feel discouraged when you're not getting the results you want.

I've learned Gestational Diabetes involves a lot of trial and error. What works for some women may not work for you; if you find something that works for your evening snack and fasting levels, stick to it. If something isn't working -- and trust me, I've got a growing list of what doesn't work -- switch it up and try something new.
How to Survive Gestational Diabetes
3. Keep an open mind with food options.

I'm quite possibly one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. I'd much rather grab a monster bar or Snickerdoodle for an afternoon pick-me-up than a cup of yogurt or cheese.

But I've actually found some options I enjoy. It's not baked oatmeal or pancakes, but OikosYogurt with 1/4-cup of Bear Naked protein granola [get it HERE -- it's so yummy!] makes a delicious and filling breakfast.

My favorite snacks with a great carb-protein ratio include:
I'm a carb-lover so these days I'm missing my pasta, mashed potatoes and french fries, but I've been able to try new recipe options like "Mock" Garlic Mashed Potatoes made out of cauliflower. (My honest opinion: They turned out okay. The texture of cooked cauliflower isn't my favorite, but it was edible.)

I've also found some recipes we already love in our home work well with my diet -- Hallelujah! Tacos and Shredded Ranch Chicken on a slice of whole wheat bread with a side of grapes and popcorn have been staples around here lately.
How to Survive Gestational Diabetes
4. Find a support group.

It's easy to feel isolated during this time because your life revolves around a different diet and -- if you're like me -- setting an alarm on your phone to prick your fingers and check your blood sugar at specific times throughout the day.

Find other expectant mommas in a similar boat who can walk this road with you or lean on someone who has been there, done that.

Surrounding yourself with people who understand can make the world of a difference. Sometimes, it's nice to receive validation from others who can say from experience, "Yes. Gestational Diabetes can be really, really hard. But I survived, and you will, too."

5. Give yourself grace.

You will have bad days. You may wake up with awful fasting numbers. You may feel guilty about eating one too many crackers or apple slices. There will be days you feel frustrated at the thought of eating another slice of cheese or serving of yogurt. You may feel like it's completely unfair. You may very well get angry when you get a "test strip error" after pricking your finger for the second time. You may feel like a failure when your numbers still aren't where you're trying to get them. It's normal to want to throw your hands up and say, "All I want is a sleeve of Oreos and jumbo bag of Peanut M&Ms!"

Give yourself grace and permission to feel however you're feeling. Take the harder days in stride and know there are better days ahead.

Moms: If you've experienced Gestational Diabetes in a pregnancy, do you have any advice, tips or favorite recipes for those of us in the midst of it?

Related content:
Our Journey to Addison
Announcing Our Pregnancy
|Pregnancy| Is This Really Happening?
To The Woman Who Hates Being Pregnant

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