Friday, May 1, 2009

Gestational Diabetes

Well folks I failed my glucose test again, which means I have to take the 3 hour test first thing Monday morning.  Basically I can't eat anything after midnight the night before.  I get a quick blood test as soon as I show up, this tests my 'fasting' glucose level.  Then I drink the sugar syrup and give blood every hour for the next three hours.  

If one of the 4 blood samples is abnormal then I might be encouraged to change my diet and exercise routine.  If 2 or more blood samples are abnormal then I will officially have gestational diabetes and probably start a treatment plan.

For those of you curious, gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women, the risk is higher with twins (surprise!).  While there is no concrete information on why non-diabetic women end up with this during pregnancy there are some theories.  I'll paraphrase what is documented on the American Diabetes Association website (feel free to read for your self at

Apparently certain hormones from the placenta block the function of insulin in a mother's body.  It's called insulin resistance and makes it difficult for a mother to use her insulin.  When insulin is not being used, glucose builds up in the blood stream instead of getting filtered out of the blood and converted to energy (must be why I'm always so tired).

On the plus side, if I have gestational diabetes it will most likely go away after delivery.  On the negative side, it could affect the babies in this last bit of development.  These high levels of glucose floating in my blood stream can pass the placenta and enter the babies blood stream.  Their little pancreases begin working overtime to convert this excess glucose into energy.  With too much energy stored it becomes fat, so the babies begin getting fatter faster which could lead to preterm labor.  It also could mean the babies become at risk for childhood obesity because there was too much insulin in their bodies at birth.  

I've already begun to alter my diet in hopes of passing the 3-hour test.  Dave's decided to join me on this diet (at least when he's home, I hear he ate pizza yesterday for lunch).  

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