Diabetes has affected my mum, nan and myself and is often in the back ground of my mind. Diabetes also affected members of Lee’s family but it is my own very strong maternal line that causes me to stop and think.
I had heard of gestational diabetes as my mum had it when pregnant with my little brother. I knew some of the symptoms and risks, which was good, as like mum I had gestational diabetes in all three of my pregnancies and it caused each of my pregnancies to be closely monitored.
Gestational diabetes can be indicated by sugar being present in the urine – which is why the regular wee checking takes place throughout pregnancy. If you are at risk you will have a GTT at 16 – 18 weeks and again at 28 weeks. If the blood test comes back positive you will usually see a dietician to give advice.
Having diabetes in pregnancy can cause a big baby and blood sugar complications for the baby once she/he is born. Unfortunately it can also cause stillbirth – which is why gestational diabetes must never be ignored. For me it caused big babies and having lots of fluid surrounding the baby.
Dylan was my biggest baby and when pregnant with Erin I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes early on. It meant I had extra growth scans as I was always measuring a good few weeks bigger than I should be. The diabetes also led me to feeling very tired and I suffered with back and pelvic pain. With the added in very low blood pressure it left me feeling pretty rotten most of the time.
The gestational diabetes was closely monitored and at scans I was told the Erin was getting bigger and bigger. However I didn’t need a scan to point this out – I hadn’t seen my feet for months!
At 37 weeks I took a phone call from the dietician asking me to come straight to the hospital as my sugar levels were too high. As I arrived for this appointment (on my own) I was horrified to learn that I had been scheduled for a C Section for less than a weeks time. No one had told me! But it was written clear as anything in my hospital notes. I’m not sure how they thought I would turn up for an operation I knew nothing about. The dietcian suggested I pop around to the maternity ward to see if they knew anything. As I arrived the hormones got the better of me and I ended up crying my eyes out, to a bemused receptionist. I was rambling like a drunken woman about how I didn’t know what was happening. Thankfully just then the consultant who looks after the diabetics wandered past. He asked what the matter was and quickly took me to a private room. He was excellent and agreed with me that I could have a natural delivery as I had given birth to a big baby already. He over wrote the previous consultant who had planned the section. A C section was something I really wanted to avoid as I had delivered Dylan and it had been relatively straight forward. Therefore it was agreed I would be induced at 38 weeks and try a natural delivery.
However I was warned she would be at risk of shoulder dystocia as she was so big and if that happened I would be forced into some eye watering posititons whilst they dislocated her shoulder to get her out. True to form at delivery Erin got stuck, the emergency cord was pulled by my husband for the second time during the labour and the room was suddenly full of doctors scrubbing up, peads arriving to take care of Erin. I just remember thinking to myself I am not having them ‘pop’ her shoulder and with one almighty push, which seemed to catch the doctors by surprise, I released her like a cork from a bottle!
My big bouncing baby arrived and was actually a little smaller than her brother – but she was two weeks early and Dylan arrived on his due date.
Suddenly the pandemonium of the previous few minutes subsided as the doctors all left my room! Erin was checked over and thankfully didn’t have a blood sugar problems atall. The rest is history, but gestational diabetes does leave its mark. My mum developed diabetes as a result immediately after having my brother. I, have so far kept it at bay but know I am now a high risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore I do try to keep my diet healthy – even if I don’t always succeed!
You are at risk from gestational diabetes if:
- you’re overweight, with a BMI (body mass index) above 30
- you’ve given birth to a large baby, weighing more than 4.5kg (9.9lb), in the past
- you’ve had gestational diabetes before
- you have a parent, brother, sister or grandparent with diabetes
- your origin is south Asian, black Caribbean or Middle Eastern, as these ethnic groups have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes
If this applies to you make sure you speak to your midwife.
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