Week 28: Testing Positive for Gestational Diabetes

How I'm changing up my routine as I head into the third trimester.

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I’m in the home stretch now. Just about 12 weeks (plus or minus) until I can finally meet my baby boy Finn! The main overriding themes right now are continued low back pain, and being sleepier than I have been.

To help with the low back pain, I’ve employed an array of various pillows when I sleep. I don’t have the one many pregnant women seem to use—the full body pillow—but I do have the fantastic Boppy Pregnancy Wedge, which really does help me sleep better when I stick it under my belly. Besides that, I’m using my usual memory foam pillow under my head, and a regular cheap bed pillow between my knees. Although it’s a bit of a physical feat everytime I need to roll from one side to the other to arrange it all just-so, the pillow variety is keeping me comfortable enough to sleep through the night at the moment.

My naps have increased in length and frequency. Now, it seems that I need a good 3 to 3 ½ hour nap at least 3 times a week. On the other days, I don’t nap at all. But when I do feel tired, it’s almost like I’ve been hit with a tranquilizer dart. Must lay down NOW! I am behind on some things I really need to get done, but I am not being too hard on myself about it. Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy the rest now, so that’s what I’m doing.

A bigger piece of news to report: At 26 ½ weeks, my health care provider had me take the GTT, or glucose tolerance test, for gestational diabetes. I’ve been feeling so great that I really couldn’t believe it, but my test came back positive—just barely. Apparently, I’m just over the line into having the diagnosis.

What exactly does this mean, I wondered. According to the American Diabetes Association, many pregnant women get it and it often starts occurring around 24 weeks. Although they aren’t sure exactly why it happens, one theory is that hormones from the placenta block the action of insulin in the mother’s body, so glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar) can’t leave the body and be used as energy as it should.

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Gestational diabetes doesn’t cause any birth defects in the baby; however, if it goes untreated or is poorly controlled, it can force too-high levels of glucose through the placenta to the baby. This makes baby’s pancreas work overtime (mom’s pancreas is already doing this) to produce more insulin to eliminate the extra blood sugar, and the extra energy is stored as fat. Possible future health problems, including breathing problems and a risk for childhood obesity, are two concerns.

The R.D. at the hospital recommended eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and staying away from all-carb meals such as oatmeal or bowls of cereal (I can have a small amount as a snack if I want, but its best if eaten with a protein and a small amount of healthy fat). Increasing exercise can also help. I was instructed to check my blood sugar with a finger prick monitor three times a day and jot down what foods I’m eating so I can figure out what to eat more of and what to stay away from.

I am still walking quite a bit, but need to do the prenatal videos more! I find that I like them when I do them, especially the prenatal yoga, but I have a very hard time getting myself to do them. Early on in the pregnancy, I was loving water aerobics, but stopped going to save money on the gym membership. I was happy to find that my local community center offers water aerobics 6 days a week, and a membership there is about half the cost of what my gym membership was, so I’m signing up this week.

Changing up my routine is also helpful. Since the weather is warm, James, Anwynn (age 6) and I headed 30 miles west of Oregon last weekend for a 2-night camping trip at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Camping at 7 months pregnant—some call me crazy, but it was a lot of fun. We did a two-hour hike through the park’s winding trails up to the top, where we could see gorgeous Oregon greenery for miles. Just being out of my usual element was nice, and I got a great workout. At the same time, we helped Anwynn get started earning his junior park ranger badges.

In the last two weeks, James and I finished up the Hypnobirthing classes and are continuing the home practice. Now that I have gestational diabetes, my desire for a water birth may not come to pass. They usually don’t allow it, although at my hospital (OHSU), they are currently looking at revising the policy to state that if you have it, but it’s well controlled, you can still do a water birth. They should have a decision on that very soon, so all hopes are not dashed just yet. If I am unable to give birth in the water, I can still labor in the tub and just get out for the delivery. Hypnobirthing affirmations include one that says “I am prepared to calmly meet any turn my birthing may take.” The relaxation techniques I’m practicing will help me no matter how I ultimately deliver.

For now, I’m focusing on going back to water aerobics, staying indoors a lot to beat the heat and continued massive spring cleaning/nesting efforts. Before I know it, the next 12 weeks will fly by and he’ll be here!

Read more: Here's what's happening during Week 28 of your pregnancy >>

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