If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I was unlucky enough to suffer from gestational diabetes in both my pregnancies.
For those of you not familiar with the condition, gestational diabetes is diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. It affects women who haven’t been affected by diabetes before.
It means you have high blood sugar and need to take extra care of yourself and your unborn baby. This will include eating well and keeping active. Some women will be able to control it via adapting their diet and others will have to go onto medication such as Metformin and/or insulin.
It usually goes away again after giving birth and is usually diagnosed from a blood test 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy.
My gestational diabetes was diet controlled during my pregnancy with Amber and my blood sugar returned to normal soon after. However my gestational diabetes during my pregnancy with Harlow was more complicated. I was diagnosed earlier and was immediately put on Metformin due to my HbA1c levels being on the high level. HbA1c is your average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months. I can only assume that mine was so high because we were a few months into lockdown 1.0 and my diet had suffered due to emotional eating.
I was assigned a diabetes midwife who I would have regular calls and appointments with and I was given a food diary to fill in every day with a section to note down my levels after every reading. This worked really well for me, I didn’t have to adapt my diet too much and my levels stayed below what was required. However, my fasting levels were always hard to keep under control, apparently this is common in the later stages of pregnancy due to hormones (I think), so towards the end of my pregnancy I was prescribed a small dose of insulin to be taken at bedtime every night and to be stopped straight after giving birth.
I had my bloods tested again near the end of my pregnancy and my HbA1c levels were back to a healthy level and I was told that I could come off Metformin after labour too.
However, around 10 months after giving birth I requested blood tests from my GP to check my HbA1c levels again and they had risen quite dramatically, again I think due to emotional eating, and the breakdown in my relationship with my partner at the time. My diet was all over the place and my anxiety was at its worst. I was also struggling with nightmares from labour complications and low mood.
At this point I requested to go back on Metformin but I’ll be completely honest and admit that I would go weeks without taking it. I was in survival mode and found it all too overwhelming. Two young kids, a relationship breakdown, endometriosis and now this. I found it impossible to prioritise it all.
So at the start of 2023 I made a promise to myself to prioritise my health. I want to be in the best physical health for my girls, especially as a single mum. I struggle when I have an endometriosis flare-up and the fatigue levels me reaching for quick options for an energy boost, which aren’t always the healthiest choices.
I have the knowledge of healthy eating and nutrition but the behaviour change side is what I need support with, especially as an emotional eater. So I decided to invest in my health by signing up to the NHS approved Low Carb Program, after first discussing it with my GP.
It is aimed at diabetics, pre-diabetics and those loving with PCOS. It has been designed by a Dr and it focus on behaviour change as well as nutrition and exercise. There are weekly group meetings over Zoom with a health coach and also a weigh-in call over zoom, so great for accountability or if you’re someone like me who works better with emotional support.
Nutrition wise there are tonnes of recipe ideas, shopping lists and a section to input your daily meals to keep track on your carb intake. I think you are encouraged to have no more than 130g carbs a day to begin with, then you gradually reduce the amount. Some people will go down to very low carb, say 30-50g a day or keto level. I don’t t think that this would be manageable for me. You are also encouraged to have your HbA1c levels checked regularly as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
I only signed up this week so I am still navigating my way around the platform. There is so much to read! I can’t wait to keep you up to date on my journey.