Angela Bezdel, 30, is pregnant with her third child. Angela’s suffered from gestational diabetes in all of her pregnancies and at a recent hospital appointment doctors told her, she probably shouldn’t have any more children and that she should consider sterilisation.
“I’ve had gestational diabetes in all my pregnancies but in the past I’ve controlled it with diet and exercise. This time it’s worse, so I have to use insulin to control my blood sugar. When I went to the doctor my BMI was 31, which I know is obese but I thought it had to be 35, or over, before they carried out the glucose tolerance test (GTT). I was wrong…
“When they told me I had gestational diabetes in my first pregnancy I was really shocked. There’s no family history of the condition and I had no idea that I might have it but it was quite easy to control, using diet and exercise. Now I’m in my third pregnancy it’s definitely worse and it’s harder to control; the amount of insulin I need is going up by two units each week and that’s because the baby is getting bigger.
“When I was 28 weeks pregnant the doctors estimated that the baby – we’re having our third girl – was already 9lbs 4 oz, so I was booked in for a caesarean section at 37 weeks. Is she was left until 40 weeks she’s be enormous!
“If I didn’t take insulin I’d feel terrible and I wouldn’t be able to work or look after my children. I drive to work but I have to test my blood sugar level 45 minutes before I drive anywhere – if I had an accident and I’d not tested myself to check my blood sugar the DVLA could take my license away.
“My husband and I had thought about having four children but because I’ve had GD three times my consultant has talked about sterilisation. I’ve had three caesareans now – three major operations – and apparently there are risks associated with having another one; my anatomy has moved around inside, so if they had to cut me open again there’s a risk that the surgeons could damage my other organs.
“I can’t say that I’m not disappointed – I wanted to have a big family – but when a professional says that you have to take it seriously.
“At the moment I’m testing myself four times a day. With two toddlers and pregnancy brain it’s easy to forget, so I’m constantly setting myself reminders on my phone.
“I weigh just over 16 stone 9lbs at the moment and I’m 5ft4. Between my last two pregnancies I managed to get my weight down to 11 stone – I used to go jogging a lot and ate well – but my weight crept up again and by the time I got pregnant I was 14 stone again.
“The doctors have suggested that because I’ve had GD three times there’s a higher chance of me developing Type 2 diabetes in later life and that’s something that I don’t want. I’ve just turned 30, so that’s a scary thought and it’s made me determined to lose the weight after the baby is born. This time there are no excuses…”
“Most people have the GTT at 28 weeks pregnant but I’m having it at 26 weeks,” says Jemma Smith. “I don’t have any of the signs of gestational diabetes (GD) but my sister has had it in all of her three pregnancies, so my GP wants to check.
“I get to the hospital first thing in the morning and have a blood test at 8.30am to check my fasting blood glucose levels – how much sugar was my blood before I’d eaten anything.
“After the blood test I have to drink a sweet, sugary liquid that doesn’t taste of anything. After a boring and uncomfortable two-hour wait – I’d fasted for 12 hours and was starving hungry – all I want to do is to go home and eat…
“Because my sister has had gestational diabetes three times I know a bit about the condition the risk of being induced is higher and then there are the regular blood tests, which are a real pain.
“I get my results four days after the test. My blood glucose reading after taking the sugary drink was 10.1 mmol/L, which according to my midwife means that I have got gestational diabetes.
“I burst out laughing when my midwife tells me the news. I’m really shocked, I really didn’t think I would have it. I thought it was purely based on BMI – which clearly it isn’t as mine is completely normal, I don’t fit any of the other signs – I didn’t previously have a big baby (my son was 6.7lbs) and parents don’t have diabetes, it’s just my sister. I ask to be referred to a to find out why…
Seeing the consultant
“I see a consultant at the hospital and after that I feel a lot better – I was worried about having to be monitored all the time and having to use insulin but the consultant tells me I should try to manage my diabetes with diet and exercise.
“The advice is to cut sugar out and keep fit but apparently it’s still ok to have a little square of chocolate now and then, so it isn’t all bad.
After 2 weeks
“I’ve been monitoring my blood glucose levels at home every day for two weeks now. The test is simple and it comes in a kit – I have to prick my finger with a tiny needle and put a drop of blood onto a strip of paper. The paper slots into the blood glucose meter and gives a reading.
“My results are generally fine – although I have a high reading after eating cereal in the morning, so I’ve gone back to just having toast.
“I have my first growth scan since being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and the results show that the baby is slightly bigger than she should be – she’s creeped above the line she was on the growth chart. I’m told that she might be growing bigger because of the diabetes and I’m booked in for another scan, which is in three weeks time.
“My weight is still fine and, despite the growth scan, my bump is measuring fine so hopefully I will be able to control it but I’ve been told that if I’m big-for-dates at 36 weeks, I’ll have to see a consultant and they’ll decide if I’m induced and if she’s coming early or not.