Sunday, September 2, 2012

PCOS Continues Throughout Pregnancy

When I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes I felt ashamed and overwhelmed.  I decided that I have been so open about my disease up until this point why should I begin to feel ashamed.  PCOS is a rarely discussed condition which is frustrating because it is fairly common!  So here we go, My story continues.

One of the many symptoms of Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is Insulin Resistance.  Since my diagnosis I have been tested several times and my glucose levels have always fallen in the normal range.  Pregnancy hormones also affect Insulin Resistance which is why it is common for a pregnant woman to have a glucose test at 28-30 weeks of pregnancy.  Because of my PCOS they had me tested as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

I was devastated to find out that I had Gestational Diabetes (GD).  Since my diagnosis of GD my life has been drastically altered. When GD is diagnosed later in a pregnancy they are concerned for the health of the mother and a baby having a large birth weight and complicated delivery.  When a mother is found to have GD at my stage of the pregnancy the risks are significantly higher, Birth defects and miscarriage are some of the many concerns.

Also, when a mother is diagnosed with GD there is always a risk of having Diabetes after the delivery of their child or being diagnosed with it within 5-10 years after delivery.  Because of my PCOS I have a significantly higher risk of continuing to have diabetes for the rest of my life.  The only approved treatment for GD that is safe while pregnant is diet or insulin (which I am refusing to resort to unless absolutely necessary because it is very hard for a body to no longer be dependent on external insulin.)

I have been seeing a nutrition clinic that focuses on Diabetes to help me create a diet that is successful and try my best to manage this GD naturally.  Diet, exercise (within in limits while pregnant), and managing blood sugars closely are my only options to stay healthy for myself and my baby.

My strict diet allows me to eat no more than 45 carbohydrates for dinner and lunch, 30 for breakfast.  To give a relation of what that means, a normal bagel (without any topping) is 70 grams of carbohydrates. This restriction requires a lot of time and attention to detail when it comes to reading nutrition labels and portions.

I can not have any fruit before noon and if I have it at all it needs to be extremely small quantities.  I can not have any sugar in it's processed form (ice cream, candy, juice) at all no matter what.  I am required to eat every 2 hours no matter what during the day, while documenting everything I eat.  I currently will have to set an alarm and wake around 4am to eat a small snack to prevent my morning sugars from getting to high from fasting to long.

When I wake up in the morning I have to test my levels as well as 2 hours after every major meal.  If my levels are out of a certain range I am required to call my diabetes nutritionist as well as my OB.  I have another appointment in a few days to review my current tracking information to see if I need to have modifications to my diet or if diet alone is not going to be enough.

This diagnosis has also changed my pregnancy status from 'normal' to 'high risk' this change means I now go to a specialized clinic, I go more often, I have more tests, I am fretted over more and am simply no longer normal.  

Most women have this diagnosis for 6-12 weeks and the stress is much lower as the diagnosis doesn't have as many risks.  This will be my life for 7 months, with high stress.  If you have ever been pregnant imagine a craving you have to ignore, or the holidays (Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter are all holidays I will be pregnant for) where you can't have any of the indulgences even in moderation.

                                    While pregnant and having GD:
                                    I can't have...alcohol
                                    I can't have...caffeine 
                                    I can't have...medications (even with a fractured tail bone)
                                    I can't have...soda
                                    I can't have...artificial sweeteners
                                    I can't have...sugar in it's processed form
                                    I can't have...refined carbohydrates
                                    I can't have...more than 30 grams of carbohydrates per meal
                                    I can't have much...sugar in it's raw from (fruit)

                                    While pregnant and having GD"
                                    I CAN have.... A HEALTHY BABY

With hard work and determination I will make a healthy baby.  Nothing about conceiving this baby was easy and nothing about this pregnancy will be easy but this baby is BEYOND WORTH IT!

Regardless of having PCOS I will have a healthy baby!

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