So today I attended my 3+ hour gestational diabetes class at the hospital. Honestly, I was a little bummed about attending since I wanted to attend a craft fair but I have to remind myself that this is important for my health and the baby.
The first half of the class was conducted by a registered nurse. She basically went over what gestational diabetes was and how it affects you and your baby. She also gave us the statistics of getting type I or type II diabetes after having gestational diabetes. We watched a video too. Then came the dreaded “finger pricking” lesson. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, esp. after going through fertility treatments in the past. The only thing that can get confusing is using the meter correctly – when to do a coding and when to do a control test. Let’s face it…it can be a little daunting. Of course we did a practice test so that we could learn how to use the lancet properly then use the meter correctly, esp. making sure you draw enough blood. We were also taught how to record our blood sugar levels in a little booklet. So we’re drawing blood 4 times a day. 1 draw is first thing in the morning (approx. 8-10 fasting), then 1 draw approx. 2 hours after the start of your meal. So, my first practice reading (after breakfast) was 85. I think the range is 90-120 for after meals. I asked the nurse what if you get a reading below the range like I did and she said that I could probably eat a little more. Oh, the nurse also gave us a chart showing our pre-pregnancy weight and our BMI (Body Mass Index). She suggested that if we have a high BMI we may consider joining Weight Watchers after we give birth.
The 2nd half of the class was spent with a nutritionist. We watched a video on foods and counting carbs. We went over a booklet that covers carbs, proteins, fat, free foods, etc. Basically, we learned about portion size/control and amount of carbs in your meal. We were given a basic meal plan telling us how many carbs we can have at each meal and snack. So for me, I can have 45g(3 carbs) at breakfast, 15g(1 carb) for snack, 60g/(4 carbs) at lunch, 15g(1 carb) for snack, 60g(4 carbs) at dinner, and 30g(2 carbs) for bedtime snack. Geez, it’s a lot of counting and recording.
I guess it is a matter of making this a habit. I think the hardest part is watching your portion size and reading labels. Believe me, the portions are smaller than you think. For example, 1 small apple (approx. 1-2″ in diameter) is 1 carb. That’s pretty small. I also didn’t realize that all breads are the same, whether white or wheat. 1 slice of bread = 1 carb. I’m sure it’s still better to eat wheat rather than white for the fiber benefits.
After the class, we were served lunch. The lunch consisted of lettuce w/dressing, fruit cup (mostly melons), meatloaf w/gravy, mashed potatoes, diet jello, skim milk, and hot tea. A packet of Equal was included. The total carbs for this lunch was 57g. Frankly, I couldn’t eat the whole lunch. I was hungry but let’s fact it hospital food is pretty bland. So I guess technically, I had less carbs since I didn’t eat my whole tray of food. So my blood sugar levels after lunch (2 hours after the start of lunch) was 93. That’s pretty good.
Oh, one more thing that I learned. It’s okay to have Equal or Splenda but not Sweet ‘n Low. Apparently, saccharin which is in Sweet ‘n Low can cross the placenta. Also, one of the handouts says not to have some other artificial sweetners like manitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. I think a lot of these sugar substitutes are used in pastries, cookies, and muffins that are considered sugar-free.
Since it’s the holiday season, they did say that they realize that we may eat some sweets but we were warned to limit them. Tough job!
So what’s the gist of all this, watch your portions, limit your carbs, and exercise. Oops, of course, monitor your blood sugar. I’ll keep you updated of my progress.