Tips for the Holidays 2020

Hello there fellow diabetics! I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. I know we may not be able to celebrate the same way this year as years before. You may even be celebrating alone this year. Please do not let this get you down, this is not an excuse to eat in excess this year.

There will be a lot of challenges this holiday season and I want to give you some tips to help keep you on track as much as possible.

  • Balance rich treats and special meals with super healthy, veggie-based snacks and meals
  • Fit in extra activity daily
  • Increase your water intake
  • Keep thinking positively
  • Engage with others
  • Don’t let others pressure you
  • Remember your overall health goals
  • Slow down and be present with the food
  • Capture the first bite
  • Take small portions – you can always go back for more
  • Enjoy the flavor and texture of the food
  • Remember family and friends no longer with us
  • Honor your memories, all the special people and moments with the food you make this year
  • Appreciate that you have enough food to eat
  • Appreciate that you have a choice in what you eat
  • Chew your food slowly and savor the flavors
  • I cannot stress this enough, get some extra activity in!

Remember, this is a time to spend being thankful for what you still have this year. I know 2020 freaking sucks, you may have lost a couple people this year. But there is still so much to be thankful for.

There’s a couple of really good looking vaccines that will be available soon. You are still alive right now. You may still have friends and family. You still have someone to talk to (me). You woke up this morning.

Times may seem dark right now, but I want you to know that wherever there is darkness, light is sure to follow. Just hang in there. You are the most amazing person in the world. You can make it through each day one step at a time. You’ve got this!

Some of them are bad quality but I want to share some photos of my fur baby that passed away a month ago. May it trigger your seratonin and make you feel better.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Seven

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Well there isn’t really anything to update. A couple weeks ago, we bought an ice cream/rice scooper with the little wiper thing. Last night, I finally used it to help my portion control with my rice. Usually I pile the rice on however much I THINK I need, which is way too much. So last night I used my scoop and made two small scoops. They were small like I could put them in my hand and roll them into little rice balls. We had breakfast for dinner, eggs, bacon, and Portuguese sausage with rice. My two scoops were just the right amount! I am so upset by how much I have been overeating rice in my life. My blood sugar didn’t really reflect the lower amount of rice, but I’m sure in the long run it’ll start showing.

In Hawaii, it’s common for people to lose weight when they eat less rice or no rice at all. I’m definitely going to be eating a lot less rice, so we’ll see how much weight I lose, if any at all.

As of today, I’ve gotten two orders on my Etsy shop and I’m super excited that I’ve even gotten that much. My hopes of selling stickers and other merchandise to keep my blog running is working pretty okay right now. If I can sell four or five stickers, then I have enough to order a new sticker design or another batch of stickers so I’m really excited for that! I’ve saved enough that I can order one or two new designs to put up on the shop in the coming weeks. Since you’re my follower, you get to see what’s new first. You can also follow my Instagram and Facebook to see updates too!

My sister thinks I should make car decals. While I think that’s a great idea, I do have to find suppliers and keep it within budget. I do have plans to expand to pins and notebooks one day. If I do decide to do decals, I have a friend who makes decals on her cricut and I could maybe ask her to make a batch for me, that way I can keep things local and the money in Hawaii’s economy. That would be great. But we’ll see what happens. It’s only been a little over a week now and I’m doing okay so far.

I’m running low on Lantus prescriptions so I’d have to call my endocrinologist to renew my prescription for another year’s worth of insulin. 95 units seems to be where it’s at unfortunately. If I can bring my weight down and my blood sugar under control, then maybe I can lower my insulin dosage, but I haven’t been within range with 95 units enough times yet and I’m terrified to go up to 100 units. 95units already hurts a lot and I am not a fan of double injections on the same night.

In fact, my left thigh has still been sore recently so I’ve decided to do 20 injections in my right thigh for now. I’m making sure the last ten are staying at least one inch below the first ten and at least 1/4 inch away from each other. So far this arrangement has been working out as I just did injection 16 last night. I just hope that my left thigh will be okay for injections to start soon. It’s been really tender and sore to the touch on some places. The bruises have faded away but there are still bumps from old injections that still haven’t gone away yet. It’s pretty frustrating.

I’ve been pretty proud of myself. We still have a lot of Halloween candy in the house since October and I haven’t been going off on them like I thought I would. In fact, the most chocolate I ate in the past month was yesterday and it was because of my period and even then it was maybe 2 ounces of chocolate.

I’ve also decided to get back in to intermittent fasting as well. I already don’t eat after a certain time anyway so making it to 16 hours usually isn’t that difficult, but I want to make it a regular thing more often. I’m going to keep trying. Somehow I’ve had this sudden spurt of inspiration and determination that is propelling me forward with eating better and moving around more. I don’t know where it came from, but I want to jump on it and try to turn it in to good habits before I lose it, you know?

I guess I did have updates on my journey today. I’m really glad you’re sticking around. Your support is giving me the motivation to continue working on myself to be better. Suddenly sitting in front of a couple dozen people make being accountable all the more easier to do. Thank you so much for supporting me, especially through this pandemic. It’s been hard but I’m really glad that I’m doing this. It’s never too late to want to make yourself healthier.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Three

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

So I’m just waiting to get paid so I can get my new insulin. So far the Lantus is just barely working. I think the cinnamon tea really is helping. However, my dog’s health is in trouble and so I’ve had very little sleep in the last couple nights watching her and making sure she isn’t falling over. I’m so tired and I haven’t been able to eat anything that requires being away from her for too long so it’s not very healthy food the last couple of days and I know that it’s taking it’s toll on my diabetes. My blood sugar was high this morning from last night, 160 mg/dL.

I’m definitely not living the life right now. I’m also studying to take my SIE exam, hopefully next month. The SIE is a financial securities exam, it’s the entrance exam for the Series 6 and 63 that I need to take to become fully licensed and able to sell securities. It’s a bit difficult with all this new language to learn. But because of my dog’s health, I’ve put my studies on hold to take care of her.

I’m hoping that when I get securities licensed I can sign people up for retirement accounts and savings accounts so I can make some income that I can use to build up the Young and Diabetic’s sticker inventory. By the way, I’m still taking pre orders for my first 6 stickers. I decided to keep it open a little while longer. If you want to check them out or place an order, you can check out my Instagram page and DM me.

So I had the blood test a week ago and then on Thursday, I had my doctor appointment and thankfully, my high blood pressure the week before was stress related, not health related. My blood pressure was much better at my appointment. My doctor said my liver function was elevated, I’m still not sure what that means. If you know, can you comment below and help a girl out? I have no idea how bad that is, he made it sound like it was bad.

It feels like everything’s kind of coming apart in my life right now and I know everything will be okay but at the same time, I feel like I don’t want to keep doing this. I wish time could stop, everything could stop and I can catch my breath and prepare myself for what’s ahead. Time is moving way too fast right now and yet each second ticks by devastatingly slow. It’s confusing and frustrating all at once.

What are some things I can control?

I can control when and how I take a shower. If Waiemi watches our dog, I can take my time in the shower to take care of myself and today I felt like I needed it.

I can control how much water I drink. I haven’t been very thirsty lately and that’s a really good sign with my diabetes since diabetes can cause dry mouth.

That’s kind of all I feel like I can control in my life right now, but I’m working on this. Mental health is so important and I haven’t paid enough attention to my mental health and with my dog’s health being what it is now, I know I’m going to hit a low soon and I need to prepare myself for it. She’s been the sunlight of my life for the last 16 years. I’m turning 26 next month, she’s been with me for more than half of my life. It’ll break my heart when she’s gone but I know that the last year of her life, she could have been in a worse off place but my husband and I brought her with us when my mom moved and she’s been living a comfortable life for the last year. She’s my baby and I love her so much.

How to Have a Less Painful Insulin Injection

For all my lovely insulin dependents, are you scared of injecting your insulin tonight because the last one stung a lot? Are you having trouble finding the right place for injection? Have no fear, let me share with you what has helped me take on the fear of painful injections.

First of all, it doesn’t matter if you use a needle and vial or if you use a pen, if you’re dependent on insulin injections, you have to overcome the fear of the injection. If you’re on an insulin pump, I’m not sure if you’re lucky or not, I’d love to know what kind of experience that is to have an insulin pump attached to you at all times.

Before I continue, here is a .PDF file that answers some questions about injecting insulin that I think would be beneficial for all diabetics to know.

The best places to inject is your abdomen, thighs, arms, or buttocks. Injecting in to your abdomen has the quickest dispersal of insulin. You would choose sites 1-2 inches from your belly button in the fatty areas of your abdomen.

Injecting in to your arms and thighs are a slower dispersal of insulin. You should inject in to the fatty part behind the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow or the outer thigh 4 inches from the top of the leg and 4 inches from the knee.

Injecting in to your buttocks is the slowest dispersal of insulin. You should inject into the fatty tissue of the upper buttocks below the waist. Probably have someone you trust doing that.

Your goal is to aim for the fatty layers just under the skin. You need to use fresh needles with each injection to avoid painful injections. Your insulin should be at room temperature; cold insulin could cause a stinging when pushing down the plunger.

Before injecting, relax the muscles in the area you’re injecting in to. Pinch up as much skin and fat you can hold in your skin, then one rapid movement to penetrate the skin with the needle. A rapid penetration is less painful than slow-and-easy.

To help make it even less painful, use a short, thin needle. The thinner the needle, the better. You want to avoid long needles because it could penetrate in to the muscle. Injecting in to muscle is more painful and it could disperse the insulin too fast meaning the insulin won’t last as long as you need it to.

Another tip is rotating injection sites. DO NOT INJECT IN TO THE SAME LOCATION TWICE! This could lead to scarring and pain. Make sure there is at least half an inch distance between injection sites to avoid skin problems. Also, avoid scar tissue, moles, swelling or inflammation, and stretch marks. The thicker or tougher the skin, the more painful the injection. Rotating injection sites also helps the area heal nicer. Generally, you should inject in to the same area for at least 20 days so having 20 different sites in the same injection area is awesome!

To prevent insulin leakages after injection, pinch the skin before injection, rapidly penetrate the skin at a 45 degree angle, and release the pinched skin before you inject. After injection, leave the needle in for another 10 seconds before pulling the needle out, then place a clean finger on the injection site and apply a little pressure for 10 seconds.

As long as the insulin doesn’t come running out of the site like a little stream, you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing the insulin that was lost.

A last ditch tip to help minimize pain, you can use an ice cube to numb the area before you inject, just make sure the area is dry before injecting.

I hope this helps you with insulin injections. I know I still experience pain while injecting. Only just now I learned that a quick penetration is better than the slow-and-easy route I’ve been going. I probably should have known this because that is the way my pharmacist gives me the flu shot, like throwing a dart into my arm. The .PDF has illustrations for what areas to inject in to. For the last five months, I’ve been using my abdomen for injections but it has become so painful for me and I have so much stretch marks that I don’t have anymore places to inject so I have switched to using my thighs.


References

Diabetes In Control


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You’re Diabetic, Now What?

Your doctor gave you the dreaded diagnosis. Your blood tests are in and it’s confirmed. You’re either prediabetic or fully diabetic. What is there left to do? Well you could wallow in your own self doubt OR you could take a stand and get your life in order! Let’s go with the second option and take your life back!

For starters, you can ask your doctor the list of questions from the previous post, Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Those questions can help you get started on the right path. Another thing to ask your doctor for are specialist recommendations. Just like in the previous post, Your Diabetes Care Team, you’re going to need some help from specialists, like a podiatrist (foot doctor) and ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Hopefully, if you’re just prediabetic, you won’t need a complete team behind you. Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) might be able to prescribe you some of the usual diabetes medication, like metformin, and monitor your numbers from there.

I’m not going to lie. I wish I had been more on it with my medication when I was diagnosed as prediabetic. Sometimes, I wonder if I would be where I am today if I had taken it seriously. Take this time to rethink your life and get serious with your prediabetes before it becomes diabetes. Don’t skip any of your medications, I promise they help. I know with metformin there are some side effects the first couple of weeks, those are normal as your body adjusts to the medication. It’s not normal if it lasts beyond two weeks, consult your doctor if this occurs.

As a prediabetic, ask your doctor if they can refer you to a dietician to help you get on the right diet plan to curb your appetite and lose weight before things get serious. Losing just 10% of your current body weight can drastically reduce your chances of developing full blown diabetes.

If you’re not so lucky and you’re fully diabetic, there’s still hope. The key to diabetes is never losing hope in yourself. Believe in your own strength and seek support from others. If your family and friends don’t understand or you don’t feel comfortable confiding in them, look for support groups on Facebook. I recently joined one and I have been able to share my support with other diabetic women. We also share recipes and advice with each other. It’s a very supportive environment.

If you ever feel like you need additional support, you can always reach out to me and I’ll be one of your biggest cheerleaders.

Now that you’re diabetic, do not ever let this diagnosis and disease define you. Let this one setback show your strengths and make a difference in your life for the better. It’s a long journey to managing and controlling your diabetes, but you can do this! Remember, your Diabetic Care Team is there to support you. And while I absolutely appreciate you reading my content, don’t let this be your one-stop-shop for information. Let my content guide you to your other questions and find your own answers. I hope my content can help guide you to asking the right questions and lead you on your own path. Remember, no one knows your body better than you do.


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The Journey: Episode Fourteen

JUNE 14, 2020

I’ve been getting pretty frustrated lately with my blood sugar. No matter how high I go with the insulin injection my blood sugar doesn’t seem to change. It doesn’t go up and it doesn’t go down. I’m not sure what’s wrong. Maybe it’s my diet, maybe I’m not doing enough with diet. Maybe I need to go on a low carb diet. Or maybe it’s because I need to exercise more. Maybe I need to do more cardio or more strength training. Maybe I need to do more.

I’m seriously considering upping my insulin from 75 units to 80 units. The only thing is my insulin pens hold about 300 units each which means at 75 units I can get four injections from each pen. If I go up to 80 units I won’t be able to make four injections per pen and that means spending more money for insulin. That’s so frustrating.

The Facebook group I joined shares a lot of low carb recipes and I think I should try some of them as well as change my diet and lifestyle to be more low carb, high healthy fat and protein. That means carb counting and dissecting food labels at the grocery stores now and being mindful of high carb snacks and food. Which means learning about the glycemic index and which foods are okay and not.

I plan to take on a 30-day challenge which will involve going low carb. Here are the rules:

  • No food high in refined sugars – candy, ice cream, soda, energy drinks, etc.
  • No fast food
  • No white bread or pasta – only whole grains
  • No alcohol (that’s not a problem for me)
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Drink more water – about 130 ounces
  • Add more fruits and veggies

I was thinking of doing the 30-day challenge in July but I think I might have to do it sooner than that, which is fine, because it’s just 30 days no matter when they are. I’m not sure if I’m going to do a single post detailing everything or if I’m going to post every day or maybe just once a week with a daily log. Maybe I’ll do that one. One post per week on a specified day with each of that week’s days on it. I think that would be a good way to document my challenge.

I think I’ll start next week Sunday and post on Saturday until the last two days. Well I guess I’m going to go on this journey and share it with you folks to help you on your own journey. If you want to go on this challenge with me feel free to join me!

The Journey: Episode Nine

APRIL 25, 2020

So I just got my new glucose meter and MyID Medical ID. I’m super excited about both of them. This Thursday I’ll post a review of the One Drop Meter. I’m very excited about it. If you want to see the unboxing video, I posted it up on my Instagram. Besides that, it’s pretty much business as usual.

Thanks to the One Drop app, I have a diabetes coach named Rachel. This past week she’s been getting to know me and my diabetes a little more to see exactly how she can help. I’ve learned a bit about diabetes from her too.

With 55units of insulin as my current dosage, I can inject about 5 days per pen and I’m down to my last three pens before my next appointment this Thursday and I don’t know how long after that I’ll be able to get my next prescription.

Unfortunately, 55units isn’t working. My doctor said that my max should be 65 units so I’m getting pretty close to that. I’m a little afraid of upping it to 60units because 55 takes so long to inject as it is and it hurts even if I go slowly. Last night was weird, I injected on the right side of my piko (belly-button) and it was a little sore, but when I tried to push the plunger down, it was having trouble going down and started to hurt a lot. I think I managed 5 units before I couldn’t push anymore. So I stopped and pulled it out before trying in another area close by. There was a bit of blood from the first site. The second site went in less painfully and was easier to push down. I wonder what was blocking the first injection that it didn’t go down well.

I had my A1C blood test this past Thursday and I should know the results during my appointment, which will be done over the phone because my doctor is on Oahu and they’ve had a lot of cases in the past month and a half. Super scary to travel to Oahu with diabetes right now. Plus I’m unemployed now and couldn’t afford a plane ticket.

I hope my A1C reflects well on my insulin usage. This quarantine has really messed me up. Before the quarantine, 45 units was doing really well for like three weeks and then it wasn’t working anymore and I had to up my dosage to 50 and now 55. I might have to up it to 60 units before my doctor appointment so I can see if that brings my numbers lower. My fasting glucose reading has been over 140mg/dL with a couple under 125. I don’t know if 60 units is going to help but I want to see anyway, even if I’m afraid of the paid of a prolonged injection speed.

APRIL 26, 2020

Last night, I upped my insulin to 60 units I first tried to inject and it was too painful so I stopped and removed the needle to inject in another site. That one was a lot easier and less sore. However, my fasting blood sugar was reading at over 170mg/dL. I am very upset with this reading. My weight has dropped 5 pounds in the past week so I’m glad about that which means I’m eating better and getting good exercise. I’m definitely eating more veggies, mostly pickled veggies but veggies nonetheless. I am so excited about the One Drop meter and the app.

So now I’m just waiting for Thursday’s doctor appointment to see how well I’ve been doing or not doing on my insulin. Not gonna lie, when I saw the plunger go up to 60 units I was like holy cow that’s a long way to go.

Other than that, quarantine is really messing with my eating habits and my mental and emotional health. I live in a house with zero privacy and can’t enjoy a night alone with my husband just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Our wedding anniversary was on Wednesday and it was the most alone time we’ve had in two months and it was spent not at home. Plus, we were both rejected for unemployment and the letter said we had to contact the office for an appeal, but I can’t get through on the phone and no one has answered my email. I’m getting very frustrated and losing hope.

BUT the other day we got approved for SNAP benefits and that is the best news we’ve gotten this year so far. We don’t have to worry about food now just the bills we still have to pay for unfortunately. We might have to cut off Netflix and Disney + and just stick with Amazon Prime, just to make bills easier for us. We’ve gotten deferments for most of our bills until July but there’s some that we can’t get deferments on, like our cellphone bill. We have to get in contact with our bank about deferments on our loans there.

This is a crazy time and we’re all just trying to survive. Be smart and be safe out there everyone.

Your Diabetes Care Team

When you get diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to establish referrals and contacts with other medical professionals that can help you manage your diabetes. This team of professionals will help you during your journey and will require multiple appointments throughout the year. Here are the professionals you should have on your team.

  1. Primary Care Physician (PCP): your family doctor may be the physician who diagnosed your diabetes. Your PCP can coordinate your healthcare team and even recommend diabetes specialists for you.
  2. Endocrinologist: this doctor specializes in treating diseases of the endocrine system, such as diabetes and thyroid problems. The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, sleep, and more, including the creation of insulin in the pancreas.
  3. Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE): a specially trained healthcare professional, such as a nurse, dietician, or pharmacist, who can counsel and educate people with diabetes. A diabetes educator helps you set achievable behavioral goals and helps you address your concerns and challenges. To find one in your area click here.
  4. Ophthalmologist: a doctor that monitors your eye health to look for any damage uncontrolled blood sugar may have done to your vision. Check ups are usually for at least once a year, maybe more depending on your condition. Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eye.
  5. Podiatrist: this doctor checks your feet for nerve damage or wounds. They treat feet and lower leg problems. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the nerves in your body and the podiatrist checks your feet once or twice a year to make sure you can still feel in your feet and there are no hidden wounds between your toes. Daily checks done by yourself can also help you notice if anything has gone amiss.
  6. Dentist: a dentist knows about oral care and is trained to take care of your teeth and gums. Diabetics are at greater risk of gum disease because of the high amounts of sugar in our body. Our mouths become the best place for bacteria to thrive. Check us with your dentist are recommended for every 6 months.
  7. Registered Dietician: an expert in nutrition (what food your particular body needs to stay healthy). They help you use what you eat and drink as tools for managing your blood glucose.

It is important to choose diabetes care team members who can provide the best level of support you want and help when you need it. But let’s not forget that just as much as you need a team of professionals for support, you also need the support of your family and friends. You’re not going through this alone.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me. I’m not a professional, but I will be a friendly ear you can talk to. My inbox is always open.


References

Web MD
Diabetes.org
Health Monitor, Guide to Diabetes, p. 14.


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The Journey: Episode Six

APRIL 5, 2020

So I’m a little bit a lot upset. Three days straight my morning blood sugar has been higher than normal, over 150 mg/dL. We’ve been having dinner a bit late but I’ve eaten by 8:30pm. I took my berberine, did some exercises and after three days, it was still high. So last night I decided to go up to 50 units of bedtime insulin. I woke up and took my blood sugar and it was still a bit high. 128mg/dL just three marks above my goal. I’m a little upset that I had to go up in insulin after a little over three weeks at 45 units.

My weight has pretty much stayed the same. Which is completely lame. I’m getting out, I’m sweating, my heart rate is up. Physically activity isn’t my issue now I guess. It’s literally what I eat. If it wasn’t for this damn coronavirus, everything wouldn’t be either expensive or out of stock. We’re literally just buying whatever is available and making whatever we can with whatever we have.

Hopefully this all ends soon so I can find replacements for the things I currently have. I will be making a post sometime either this month or next that will be all about the foods diabetics can swap for something healthier. While I’m creating it I will definitely look into how much it’ll cost too. I know for myself, quinoa would be a better alternative than rice, but since rice is more available and affordable right now than quinoa, I have to make do with it.

I guess for now, the most I can do is just keep my weight steady. I don’t want to become victim of the Quarantine 15 and gain 15 pounds while trapped in my home. At least my state has allowed residents to get exercise outside. My sisters and I try to keep our dog walks around one hour. It’s pretty much the only time we go outside besides taking trash to the dump and running to the store to get essentials, still haven’t been able to find toilet paper. It’ll be a real accomplishment to weigh 200 pounds at the end of this quarantine.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor appointment to refill my other prescriptions. I forgot to call and see how the appointment will go, but I suppose I just go in, because they didn’t call me either. My endocrinology appointment will be done over the phone since I’m too afraid to fly to Oahu for my appointment. The bulk of our coronavirus cases are on Oahu right now and I’d be stuck there for hours depending on when the flights home would be. Last I checked, Southwest was canceling most of their flights so I’d have a flight over in the morning but because my appointment is at 3pm, I wouldn’t be able to catch a flight out on Southwest, I might have to fly another airline. But at least I can do it over the phone. I have a blood test to do the week before, then they’ll call me around my appointment time and we’ll go from there. I’ll probably get more insulin.

For now this is what’s up, I’m still fat, we have food (not super healthy but it’s the best we can do), our chest freezer is defrosted and devoid of all the old food from five years ago (yuck!), I’m getting exercise almost every day (as long as it’s not raining, like today), and I’m trying to maintain my weight and blood sugar to the best of my ability. Great stuff.

Since I’m currently unemployed, I have a lot more time to work on my blog and I’m also writing fanfiction for fun. I’m also taking an online course for graphic design and learning Spanish and American Sign Language on the side, just to keep my brain from rotting. Hopefully my new skills will make me valuable in the workplace.

When this is over, I really want to go for a long coastal drive and play my music loud with the windows down and enjoy some time in the open, fresh air. Good luck to those of you in quarantine and lockdown. Hopefully this ends soon and we can all go outside again.

Diabetes and Pregnancy

This topic is important to my husband and I. One day, we would really love to welcome a child into our lives, but I have to make sure I am healthy enough to get pregnant. Here’s what I have been able to uncover so far.


During pregnancy, women who have type 2 diabetes may need to up their dosage of insulin, take different medication, or may not need to change anything at all. Women who don’t already have diabetes can develop gestational diabetes which can be controlled by diet and exercise and may need insulin injections. Usually gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth, but if it doesn’t go away it could develop into type 2 diabetes. Most women who have gestational diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Being diabetic and pregnant means you have to visit the doctor a few more times than other women, and that’s okay.

If diabetes isn’t controlled during pregnancy it could increase your chances for birth defects, macrosomia, miscarriage, and stillbirth for the baby. For mommy, it increases your chances of developing preeclampsia which could put baby and mommy in danger and the need to induce labor earlier than the due date will increase.

Macrosomia is when the baby is born bigger than normal. The high blood sugar of the mother is absorbed through the placenta and causes the baby’s pancreas to create more insulin to process the blood sugar. The extra sugar in the baby’s body gets converted to fat.

Preconception

When you’re diabetic, pregnancy comes with a whole bunch of complications and worries, but it’s not impossible to give birth with diabetes. To prepare for your pregnancy, it’s best to prepare far in the future. Some women may need six months or more to get their diabetes under control enough to conceive.

What goes into this preparation? You need to undergo a series of tests to check where your diabetes is at currently and how much needs to be changed to be ready to conceive, then you retake those tests until you’re ready to go. You need to speak to the members of your diabetic health team to go over those results and make the necessary changes. These changes can include a healthier diet, regular exercise, losing weight, and taking vitamins and supplements, such as folic acid.

Some tests you should undergo:

  • urinalysis – checks if there are any problems with your kidneys
  • blood tests – check your cholesterol, triglycerides, and kidney and liver function
  • eye exam – check for glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy
  • electrocardiogram – check your heart function
  • foot exam – check for nerve damage

You need to get your blood sugar levels close to range before and during pregnancy. High sugar levels can harm your baby during the first 4 to 8 weeks of pregnancy, even before you know you’re pregnant. The baby’s organs start developing during the first few weeks and are very vulnerable to high sugar levels.

You need to check your A1C, too. If your A1C is 10% or higher, you have a 1 in 5 chance of giving birth to a baby with a malformation such as a heart, kidney, brain, or spinal cord defect. Try to get your A1C down below 7% to lower the chances of a malformation in your baby.

Make sure your weight is within a healthy range as well. Being overweight or obese can cause complications in your diabetes, pregnancy, and may lead to other diseases.

Once everything looks good and you’ve spoken to your various doctors and a dietician, hopefully you are ready and able to conceive.

During Pregnancy

During your pregnancy, the biggest thing to remember is DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATION. It is much worse for you to stop your medications and have your blood sugar increase than to have a fear of your medication. There is no evidence as of yet that your medication could cause a malformation to your baby. Remember, none of the medication you’re on have been 100% proven to cause any harms.

If you do have any concerns about your medication and your baby, talk to your doctor before stopping your medication. Your doctor can work with you to figure something out to keep your sugar levels low throughout your pregnancy. Besides, your body changes multiple times during your pregnancy and you’ll be going back to your doctor throughout to keep everything in check and make sure you make the right changes at the right time.

Insulin injections will be your number one drug during pregnancy because the insulin doesn’t cross the placenta therefore does not cause any affects on your baby. With diabetes, you might also be put on oral medications to help overcome insulin resistance.

Make sure to meet with your dietician to make sure the diet you were on during your preconception is still the right diet to be on now that you are pregnant, most times it will be, but just double check to make sure. During the early part of pregnancy, blood sugar levels can decrease from your normal levels and you might not need all the medication or the low glycemic-index foods. Check with them to be sure.

During your first trimester, you don’t have to load up on calories. Morning sickness will probably get to you anyway.

Exercising will help you lower your stress levels, blood sugar levels, and might make labor easier for you. It doesn’t have to be intense, just enough to get your heart pumping and a little sweat to start. Obviously, avoid training for a marathon, contact sports, any exercise that raises your temperature too much, and heavy lifting. When in doubt, contact your doctor.

It’s natural to gain weight during your pregnancy. The goal is not to gain more than 25 to 30 pounds if you’re already at a healthy weight, and nothing more than 20 pounds if you’re overweight or obese. Studies have found that babies born to obese mothers tend to develop heart disease, asthma, or type 2 diabetes.

By your third trimester, your need for more insulin will increase. Your medication, diet, and exercise might need to be tweaked at this point. Your doctor might order you more tests and scans at this point to keep any eye on baby’s development, especially the size. Babies born from diabetic mothers tend to be larger than normal and that could be a concern at this stage. If the baby is big in size, it could complicate a vaginal delivery and might require a C-section. Your doctor might not want you to go on beyond 39 weeks.

Hopefully, delivery goes well and you and baby come out okay.

After Delivery

Ideally, you are lucky enough to go to a hospital with a good neonatal intensive care unit on hand in case your baby has some special needs that need monitoring after delivery. In case the baby is born prematurely, with low blood sugar, or any other need, the NICU should be able to take care of it.

After delivery, your insulin needs should decline, but you may be in danger of hypoglycemia. Two weeks after delivery, you should see your doctor for a checkup. Please note that insulin also doesn’t affect breast milk, so if you want to stay on insulin (if you weren’t on it before pregnancy) after delivery, you totally can. Breastfeeding is the best option, if you are able to produce enough or have the time to do so, it does take a lot of energy to breastfeed. There are many benefits for you and the baby, like it helps lower your blood sugar and it can lower the risk of the baby developing type 2 diabetes.

Postpartum depression is a serious condition for mothers and even moreso in diabetic mothers. If your “baby blues” don’t improve after two weeks, consult your doctor about meeting with a mental health professional. You don’t want to stress yourself out with your new responsibilities as a mother while also taking care of yourself. Sometimes it can be too much, please remember you don’t have to go through this alone. No one will think any less of your capabilities to be mother if you need to ask for help.

I’m not a professional, but if you ever want to talk to anyone, please know that you can always reach out to me and I will be a friendly, non-judgmental ear you can talk to.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have a family of your own, it just means it’ll be a lot more work to have your family. If you really want a family, you’ll be able to go through it. Just know you are not alone.


Spread the Word

If you liked this article, spread the word and share it with your family and friends. Do you know someone who has diabetes or who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant? Share this article with them to help give them an idea of what to expect when they are expecting!


References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
WebMD
Diabetes Forecast, May/June 2019, p. 44-49.