When you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, one of the first things you do is hop on Google and try to unravel what this will mean for your pregnancy and birth. A lot of the time, the search results are not reassuring.
They say you’ll need insulin, that you’ll need to be induced or have a C-section or deliver early (because your baby “will be big”), that your baby may need special care in the neonatal intensive care unit, and all sorts of other things that you weren’t planning for. Before you get sucked down the rabbit hole of possible outcomes, interventions, and the anxiety that comes with them all, hit the pause button.
These are NOT inevitable for all women with gestational diabetes. I repeat: these are NOT inevitable for all women with gestational diabetes.
Unfortunately, women and providers are expecting the worst of the worst. Perhaps they think that you’ll take the diagnosis more seriously if you’re aware of the consequences of uncontrolled blood sugar, but sometimes it creates more stress over an already stressful situation (and guess what stress does? It drives up your blood sugar!).
My colleague, Parijat Deshpande, an expert in high-risk pregnancy understands this first-hand. She not only helps women navigate and cope with having high-risk pregnancies, but she dealt with it herself.
Gestational diabetes was her 7th complication and in an interview we did, she shares her frustration in how her gestational diabetes was managed. Like so many other women, Parijat did not feel she was given the best information on GD to make informed decisions. I was cringing just listening to her story.
In our interview, we tackle some of the most common myths that women–and their doctors–have about gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes does not need to leave you feeling helpless or misguided.
There’s a more empowered way to navigate your way through pregnancy with GD. We’ll share how and why it’s so important to take a mindful approach. We also share tips to help you find the most supportive healthcare provider, so you can get the high-quality prenatal care (and respect of your birth choices) that you deserve.
Check out the interview on the Delivering Miracles Podcast with Parijat Deshpande, Episode 40 on iTunes or here.
How to Manage Gestational Diabetes Without Fear – Interview Highlights:
- You did not necessarily “do” anything to cause gestational diabetes–a number of risk factors are completely out of your control.
- Why asking “Why me?” and searching for reasons that you were diagnosed is often counterproductive.
- The reason you don’t necessarily need insulin. (psst: it’s not the primary way GD is managed!)
- The reason most women with GD will NOT have a big baby.
- Why there are always exceptions to the rules. Don’t assume you’re a statistic.
- How maintaining normal blood sugar levels puts you in control and lowers your chances of complications and interventions.
- The top 2 things you need to do when you’re first diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
- Why choosing a good provider who respects your choices, is supportive, and gives you all the information (pros and cons) to make any–and every–decision you face in your pregnancy and birth. (i.e. informed consent)
- Why staying off Google for information on gestational diabetes is probably best. Fear mongering is almost never empowering nor offers actionable information.
After listening to our interview, I hope you’ll feel that you can manage gestational diabetes without fear. It doesn’t need to be so overwhelming and terrifying. In fact, there’s a lot to feel empowered about.
When you have the right information, you can make evidence-based decisions on your care– on everything from your diet and lifestyle choices to your birthing options.
You can manage gestational diabetes without fear.
You can handle this. You can do this. You still have the power to make choices and take control of the trajectory of your pregnancy and birth. Own that.
Also remember that gestational diabetes is on a spectrum. Some women have very mildly elevated blood sugar that’s easily managed with lifestyle changes. Others may have preexisting blood sugar issues (prediabetes or type 2 diabetes) or maybe have significantly elevated blood sugar that requires more medical management. A small proportion of women will have uncontrolled blood sugar. Because all of these scenarios fall under the umbrella of gestational diabetes, the same worries and cascades of interventions may be placed upon women, even in cases where they may not be necessary.
The goal is normal blood sugar levels and if you can maintain that for the majority of your pregnancy, your likelihood of facing complications or requiring extra interventions are low.
Before you go, I’d love to hear from you.
- If you have gestational diabetes, what are your biggest fears?
- What information do you wish you would have been given at the very beginning to better manage your blood sugar and/or advocate for yourself?
Let us know in the comments below.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with GD or are finding it hard to maintain normal blood sugar when following the standard gestational diabetes diet, be sure to go through my FREE video series on managing gestational diabetes. Check it out here.
Until next week,
PS – Here are a few links we discussed today:
9 Myths About Gestational Diabetes
Evidence on Induction or C-section for Gestational Diabetes (Evidence Based Birth)
Does Gestational Diabetes always mean a Big Baby and Induction? (Evidence Based Birth)