Diabetes Week

Diabetes Week 8th – 14th June 2020

Everyone’s experience of diabetes is different, but we’re united by a common goal – building a better future. Help us paint #TheBigPicture this Diabetes Week. The triumphs, the setbacks, the daily routines and unexpected turns.

Diabetes UK, Diabetes Week 2020

#TheBigPicture of Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes Week 2020

I am supporting Diabetes Week with Diabetes UK and will be sharing #TheBigPicture of gestational diabetes.

Throughout this article there are lots of hyperlinks to explain certain aspects of gestational diabetes in much more detail should you wish to read more.

The setbacks – GD diagnosis

You receive ‘that’ letter or phone call and what may have been the perfect pregnancy could feel completely shattered. Or additional complications to an already difficult pregnancy may feel like the last straw for you.

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Gestational diabetes diagnosis comes as a shock for most and along with it so many feelings of upset, fear, guilt, anxiety and confusion “Why me? I thought my diet was healthy? Or maybe I caused this by eating all those things I shouldn’t have? “… STOP!

Although gestational diabetes diagnosis will FEEL like a set back, it is actually a POSITIVE!

Gestational diabetes is a condition that CAN be controlled and managed as long as it is diagnosed and monitored, unlike so many other conditions that cannot be impacted.

A gestational diabetes pregnancy isn’t going to be easy, but it IS going to be worth it!

The daily routine

Welcome to the world of life revolving around what you’re eating and timing when to test your blood glucose levels!

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The blood glucose levels of a pregnant mother have to be monitored much more frequently than non-pregnant diabetics, and blood glucose targets are are much lower too.

Don't compare GD

This may mean testing blood glucose levels up-to 7 times A DAY! Fasting (first thing in the morning), before and after all meals and before bed. Although each NHS Trust will have their own guideline test times and targets to follow.

Eating little and often is key to stabilising good blood glucose in pregnancy, which means planning. planning, planning!

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When you’re not planning what to eat, you are eating and when you’re not doing this, you’re timing getting ready to test your blood glucose levels, washing hands and testing. It feels like your world revolves around this schedule of what to eat, eating, timing and testing.

The unexpected turns – increased insulin resistance

Just when you think you have things pretty well under control, gestational diabetes throws a curve ball and all of a sudden blood glucose levels can go haywire?!

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That breakfast that you had been eating for days on end, all of a sudden causes big spikes in blood glucose levels!

But this is to be expected as insulin requirements double and treble as the pregnancy progresses. Notoriously, between 32 and 36 weeks prove to be the trickiest weeks for a majority.

insulin requirements during pregnancy

The unexpected turns – medication

Some ladies are able to control blood glucose levels well enough with making changes to diet and exercise, however many require the additional support of oral medication such as Metformin and/or insulin.

This can strike a fear in many for so many different reasons. Nobody wants to take medication during pregnancy, not least have to inject one!

The image of huge hypodermic needles comes to mind and how will it impact the baby?

Infact with it being diabetes week, I’ve already seen images posted on social media depicting gestational diabetes and what is the image some are using? A pregnant woman, bear belly, holding a hyperdermic syringe…

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THIS IS NOT THE REALITY OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES!

The reality is, as scary and daunting as this may seem. Insulin is NOT administered via a syringe and needle in the UK and Ireland, but by a pen type device with a very small needle.

Yes it can be very scary, but this is something that you will get lots of support and help with IF you do need it. As a mother with a huge fear of needles but who has required insulin in all 3 of my pregnancies, my Facebook team and I will help you every step of the way and you CAN do it (if you need it – remember not everyone will!)

Insulin needle
this image shows the longest insulin needle available which is 8mm compared next to a 1p coin

A mixture of unexpected turns, setbacks and triumphs – extra monitoring, scans and birth plans

A gestational diabetes pregnancy involves many twists and turns, much like a rollercoaster. Emotions run high in pregnancy anyway and with gestational diabetes there will be times of hitting huge triumphs where those blood glucose levels finally start coming in line, or baby’s growth starts to average out.

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Alongside the triumphs there are also lots of unexpected turns and possible setbacks. It may be despite your best efforts, baby’s growth is still very high. It may be that no matter what you do you just can’t get those pesky fasting levels under target, or you now have ketones from cutting too many carbs out of your diet. You may need to attend lots of clinic appointments for extra monitoring, or it could be that you are told that you may not be able to have birth you had planned for, or that you should have an induction of labour.

There is no reason a mother cannot breastfeed following gestational diabetes and those that wish to breast feed should be encouraged to harvest colostrum after 36 weeks during pregnancy which can be very beneficial to the baby once born.

The major triumph with GD – a healthy baby

I know that not one mother out there would wish to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes BUT a diagnosis means we have the opportunity to make changes as needed, to monitor things closely and have a healthy baby.

water birth

After birth, a baby born to a diabetic mother may need some additional checks and monitoring.

All diabetes medication can usually be stopped as soon as the baby and placenta is delivered and Mum can enjoy some of the things she’s desperately been missing.

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Gestational Diabetes is just that – diabetes through the gestation of the pregnancy

HOWEVER, having GD means there’s an increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Mothers who have had gestational diabetes, should be tested for diabetes at 6 or 13 weeks postpartum and then annually thereafter.

Gestational diabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes after the pregnancy. Statistics from Diabetes UK state that there is a seven-fold increased risk in women with gestational diabetes developing type 2 diabetes in later life.

NICE state that up to 50% of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years of the birth.

Children born to mothers with diabetes during pregnancy tend to have a greater BMI, raised fasting glucose levels and an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

According to Diabetes UK, the latest research suggests they have a sixfold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In this knowledge, it is best to try make any lifestyle choices possible to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Support Diabetes UK

You can support Diabetes UK by following #DiabetesWeek #TheBigPicture, their campaigns and work and by donating to the Diabetes UK charity here. Donations help them continue their work to prevent and, one day, cure the condition.

Support Gestational Diabetes UK

You can help support Gestational Diabetes UK by helping to raise awareness of gestational diabetes, not just during Diabetes Week, but at any time. Help by sharing this post and dispelling some of the common myths associated with gestational diabetes. It could be your sister, your Aunt, your friend who is diagnosed next. Don’t let them suffer alone, we’re here to support and help them.

*Please note Gestational Diabetes UK is not affiliated with the Diabetes UK charity or organisation

Diabetes Week Competition

To celebrate Diabetes Week 2020 and to help raise awareness over diabetes and gestational diabetes, I am running an Instagram competition to win Silver membership to the Gestational Diabetes UK website!

There will be 5 x one month Silver Memberships up for grabs!

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To enter the  Instagram competition please visit: www.instagram.com/gestational_diabetes_uk/ and

  1. Follow us @gestational_diabetes_uk by pressing the ‘Follow’ button
  2. Double tap to like the competition post
  3. Tag a friend and add the hashtag #DiabetesWeekComp

Each additional Instagram account tagged will count as one entry to the competition. You can enter as many times as you like, but only one membership can be won per entrant.

The competition will close midnight Sunday 14th June 2020, with winning names drawn Monday 15th June 2020. One months free Silver membership will run from Tuesday 16th June – Thursday 16th July 2020.

Competition Terms and Conditions
  1. Anyone over the age of 18 years old can enter, including existing paying members who could then get one months membership free of charge
  2. If an existing Bronze member wins then they will be given one months free Silver membership as the prize
  3. All entrants must follow the competition rules on how to enter to be valid entrants (as shown above)
  4. The competition will close midnight Sunday 14th June 2020, any entrants after this time will not be entered into the draw
  5. The prize of free membership will run from Tuesday 16th June – Thursday 16th July 2020
  6. Winners will be announced on Instagram on Monday 15th June and will need to get in contact with their name and email address to be added to the website as members. Winners who fail to send their details in time for free membership to commence on Tuesday 16th June 2020 will not benefit from the full free months membership as all free memberships will end on Thursday 16th July 2020 regardless of the start date
  7. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason
  8. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition
  9. The winner agrees to the use of her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent
  10. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to Gestational Diabetes UK and not to any other party
  11. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions
  12. The winners of this competition are bound to the copyright terms of the membership information gained, therefore recipes and meal plans cannot be shared
  13. For further questions please contact us using our contact form