March 16, 2015
Whether you call it hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP), or morning sickness (MS), adding a diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GD) is the worst. Especially if one also has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What was particularly furstrating for me was the lack of information on HG/NVP/MS and GD. Here’s what I found to be useful.
Thing One: Nausea affects your blood sugar. The days I felt sick were the days I had borderline highs. Just remember that a borderline high is okay. It may not be great, but it’s not terrible. Give yourself a break.
Thing Two: The biggest effect of my PTSD is that I didn’t (okay, don’t) sleep well. There was a correlation between how poorly I slept and my fasting blood sugar being high. (Again, borderline. I figured as long as it stayed under 100 on those days that I was fine. See the last sentence of Thing One.) If I woke up at 2 and never fell back asleep, my fasting sugar was almost always 95-100. If I did fall back asleep and woke up closer to 4:30 (when I’d take my anti-nausea meds and my fasting sugar), it was below 95.
Thing Three: Be your own advocate. If you only have borderline highs, and you’re still nauseated, and your doctor wants to start you on meds (as opposed to controlling your GD by diet alone), insist that your nausea be treated first. Chances are good that getting your nausea under control will allow you to control your GD by diet alone. You kind of have to be able to eat first. Crazy, I know.
Thing Four: If you haven’t tried B6 injections yet, do. They may not work for everyone, but they definitely worked for me. The pain is worth it. (And be prepared for it to hurt. It feels like a wasp sting. And sometimes the sensation lingers. Consider yourself warned.)
Thing Five: Figure out what foods you can both stomach and that won’t raise your blood sugar. Then plan to eat the same thing. Every. Day. Yes, it gets old, but you only have to do it until you have the baby. Fruit was my enemy. But I could do pasta and rice. I ate rice porridge for breakfast every morning and homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner just about every night. (Mac & cheese is both carb and calorie-dense. That meant I could have a small serving when I felt sick in the evenings.) My bedtime snack was a packet of reduced sugar Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal. Yes, there was many an evening that I choked it down. Snacks were frequently a rice cake or graham cracker with goat cheese or cheese and crackers. (The fact that I couldn’t stomach raw veg made things a bit more awkward.)
Thing Six: Contractions may cause your blood sugar to spike. The two days before my C-section, my mac & cheese appeared to have turned on me. But that was also the time of day that my contractions became worse and more frequent. I did try to find if there might be a correlation. Yes, anecdotes do not equal evidence, but forum discussions showed I wasn’t the only person having this experience.
I hope this helps. If nothing else, it’s proof that you are not alone. If you have any helpful advice for other women with GD as well as HG, NVP, or MS, please share in the comments. What worked for you?