Gestational Diabetes: Round 2

In my previous post, I talked about my first pregnancy and my GD diagnosis. Well, here I am in my second pregnancy facing good ole GD again. I fully expected it this time around. In fact, I spent about two weeks prior to my 1-hour screening eating all the carb and sugar loaded things I knew I wouldn’t be able to have for the rest of my pregnancy. I’m not sure my OB would approve of this approach, but I love me some macaroni and cheese and I was not going to miss out on it one last time!

When the results of my 1-hour screening came back and I was wayyyyy over the upper limit, I knew it was official: GD Round 2 had begun. I convinced my doctor to simply let me skip the 3-hour test and diagnose me based on the 1-hour screening. The first time around I’d been devastated at the diagnosis. This time, I was able to shrug it off and move forward. I’d already eaten all the carbs and junk in the house and gone “GD Grocery Shopping” for the first week. I had the benefit of having been down this road before to know what to buy and what to avoid.

I’ve also allowed myself to do a bit more experimenting diet-wise this time. My first go-round, I was sure that one high sugar reading would cause irreparable damage to my baby. This time, I know better. One or two times a week, I’ll throw in a new food that, in theory, should be okay (high protein, low carb) and see what effect it has on my blood sugar. I have about a 50% hit rate with new foods. I try not to get too excited about any of them as there is a pretty good chance, I won’t be able to eat them again, but it is worth trying. When and if I get a high blood sugar reading, I know that my next meal needs to be very high protein and extremely low carb.

I should add the caveat that I’m lucky to have never actually experienced a high (> 120 mg/dL) blood sugar reading. I define (for myself) high as anything over 100. I do this because I know that as the pregnancy progresses it gets harder to control GD with diet. I also know that if I eat a food that typically causes a greater than 100 reading and I’ve accidentally combined it with another food that generally yields a greater reading, I’m at risk for actually experiencing a high blood sugar reading. This is simply my approach and by no means the way it should be done. You do you!

Luckily, this time around the keto diet is all the rage. The goal of the keto diet is to put your body into ketosis where instead of burning glucose for energy, it burns fat. Therefore, the approved foods are extremely low carb and low sugar which is perfect for GD. Unfortunately, they’re also high in fat. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the ease of a guaranteed low carb/sugar recipe. I have no intention of going full-on keto, but have found there are tons of keto recipes on Pinterest and it really lessens the complexity of weekly meal planning. I usually find a couple recipes that look good and make those for dinner. My husband isn’t a huge carb fan, so he doesn’t get upset and my toddler just doesn’t eat anything, so he’s always unhappy with dinner.

I’m only a few weeks into GD, but I feel like an old veteran at it. In some ways, I like the forcing function it has on my diet. I find it easier to stick with a diet when something external is forcing it on me. If you place a dozen cookies in front of me, normally, I’d eat at least half (I’ve got a killer sweet tooth), but once I get the GD diagnosis, it’s almost as if the cookies don’t exist. Sure, I get the occasional sugar craving, but I also know that the longer I go without sugar, the easier it is to turn it down.

If you’re facing your own GD diagnosis for the first time, know that you’re not alone, it’s probably temporary and the diet does get easier. Experiment a little with new foods and if you’re dying for something sweet- check out all the keto desserts!

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