Diet not working with gestational diabetes

Hi, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 28 weeks and since then i have been making a lot of changes to my diet to cut down on my sugar intake. I'm on insulin 8 units before every meal and 6 units of the slow release one at bedtime but it hasn't made a difference to my blood glucose levels. For example, this morning the reading before breakfast was 7 and 1 hour afterwards it went up to 20! I should say I'm 31 weeks now and my insulin units have been increased slowly since being diagnosed. I'm beginning to get frustrated because nothing I'm doing is making a difference to my blood sugar levels. Just wondering if anyone else has had this happened to them and how much insulin was required to get their levels into a healthy range. I'm lucky at the moment my baby is average weight and the fluid isn't too much either.

25 Replies

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  • It can take time to control diabetes effectively, they'll not want to increase you too quickly in fear of causing low levels that can be just a dangerous.

    I would book an appointment and get them to talk it all through with you again and to let you know what the average control time is etc and what levels to expect through the day. Everyone's insulin needs are different.

    Until then stick with you diet and I wouldn't adjust your levels unless they said you can.

    Hope it all settles x

  • It's ok I'm having weekly appointments with the diabetic team and the nurses are ringing me a couple of times in the week too. They've been increasing my insulin levels about 3 times a week. I'm just feeling a bit low and disheartened about the whole diet thing. I also suffer with bipolar so it's affecting me on both levels. Would be good to see something positive happening but not quite there yet. I'm being a bit impatient lol

  • The fact was 7 before food is good. Glad it sounds like your care is really proactive though. They will want you settled as quickly as you do.

  • Hi I was diagnosed Type 1 in pregnancy, so can understand how hard it really is. i kept really tight control in pregnancy,and I did this by learning about carb control (its carbs that spike your blood sugar levels).

    i would ask your team whether you need to higher your long acting insulin (ie your night time insulin) this helps control your readings throughout the day, your fast acting (ie meal time insulin) covers your food intake, so imagine your night time insulin as the one that keeps you ticking over all day. By 31 weeks I was on 15 units over night, and between 3-4 units with my meals (working on an average of 10g of carbs to 1 unit of insulin). Because you are on a set amount each meal your doseage of insulin might not cover the carbs eaten, thereby highering your levels to 20 1 hour after eating.

    you may find if you had a slight increase in your night time insulin it would help control your highs.

    also i am would recommend diabetes.uk as a site, there are lots of GD mummies to be on there who can really guide you in the right way.

    its little tips here and there that may help you.

    good luck xxx

  • Thanks. I'm going to phone them today and ask about the bedtime one and see what they say. I think it's having milk with the porridge which is making it worse. I'm going to try lactose free milk and see how I react to that.

  • Also just had a sudden thought, have you taken all your bread, pasta etc etc over from white to brown / wholemeal. White carbs release instantly, meaning blood sugar levels peak really fast, brown and wholemeal variety release much much slower which is the best option for any form of diabetes.

    also i swapped my full fat milk to green top / red top which may help too.

    on my plate i aimed for 1/4th carb, 1/4th meat and then the rest of my plate was piled high with veg or salad or both to keep me full up.

    i was diagnosed very early in pregnancy so had a lot longer to get my head around it all and learn about carbs and the effect they had on my blood sugars level.

    i really hope you have an enjoyable remaining few weeks and it doesn't get you down too much.

    all the best.

    Shelley xx

  • Lol I'm doing all that. That's why this is so frustrating. Oh well I'm sure it will sort itself out soon x

  • I am sure it will. Its such a big thing to get a hold off, especially when you don't have alot of time too!

    i remember walking away from my first meeting with my dietician thinking o lordy, this is big!

    good luck xx

  • Oh you shouldn't cut your full fat milk... That isn't good for the calcium levels for your baby! Please check with your dietician but it's not recommended to come away from full fat milk during pregnancy.

  • As a diabetic mum i was specifically told to change my milk and my calcium levels were checked throughout and mine were never damaged by altering my milk - bearing in mind you actually aren't meant to drink that many cups of tea and coffee anyway in pregnancy, so cutting these in drinks wouldn't cause a massive drop?

    dont forget for diabetic people milk can cause a massive uprise in blood sugar levels, which may explain why this lady went from 7 to 20 after eating. Too many spikes are dangerous and as a woman with type 1 living with it every day I am only trying to guide her to be as healthy as possible for her and baby - i would never recommend anything that was dangerous for either!

  • So you are type 1 diabetic? You have had since birth? As you mentioned everyones body reacts differently. As a gestational diabetic you are advised to drink full fat milk. Milk affects my sugars but actually there is very little difference in skimmed to full fat. Looking at the guidelines. I have been gestational diabetic. I know what toeat and expect. I am using insulin and metformin and diet atm. Being gestational is completely different to type 1. I should know as im being treated as a type 2 atm and its different treatment and advice to last time. Her readings were high. But so were mine when I was new to all this.

  • Hey! I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my first child. I'm now 31 weeks pregnant with my second and suffered the whole way through with this pregnancy. I usually have to take more insulatard overnight than novorapid with my daily meals and I found that with your diet if you want to manage it perfectly then simply equal your protein intake to your carbohydrates. For example... With breakfast have an omelette with bacon and cheese in it. Or wholemeal bread with certain peanut butters... But check everything you are eating. There is a lot you can eat but you have to make sure that the carbohydrate equals or is lower too the protein intake. It does mean a lot of meat products and stuff like cheese and eggs are all good too. But it was the only effective way I could manage it. Your insulin I would recommend to only increase two units at a time especially if you are trying to control your diet. Email me at lilmiss20xx@hotmail.co.uk if you need any pointer on diet... As I have been doing it for a while now. But stuff like spagetti bolognese is balanced and shepherds pie... Cutting out crisps, sweets, chocolate and such the like is necessary until you are under control but there are ways to have some treats too! And I know every treat going which has a low carbohydrate count! Also cut out sugar in your tea... Add sweeter sweetener... It's just a nice and doesn't affect your sugars. I also switched to decaf to stop needing to wee every 5 minutes! Lol but email me with any questions. Just keep it simple and count those carbohydrates. Don't just look at the sugar content as all the carbohydrates in the product with affect you. Protein actually automatically fights the carbohydrates for you before your poor pancreas has to deal with it. Keep strong. It's not as hard as it sounds :-)

  • I knew I wasn't going crazy re full fat milk, I have just been on NHS online, and their gestational diabetes guideline booklet, and that specifically states that you should swap full fat milk for semi skimmed milk.

    it recommends keeping calcium levels at a good number with additional cheese etc, but it is perfectly safe, and recommended by the professional, to swap full fat for semi skimmed.

    the booklet is really good if you can find it and shows the good alternatives for anything that can spike blood sugar levels.

    good luck xx

  • Well I like to listen to the professionals rather than some website that will clash with other websites advice. I have been told by dietician and diabetic nurse to stay with full fat. It actually has almost no difference in carbohydrate value either!

  • it is the professionals, if you read my message properly you will see it is the official guidelines for diabetic mums-to-be provided by the NHS!!!!

    and actually on the Thurs I was diagnosed with GD by the Sunday after serious issues with keytones because I wasnt responding to metmorphin I was hospitilised and after further tests I was diagnosed as Type 1.

    yes Type 1 and Type 2 are very different but the principles are the same, carbs will spike sugar level readings so eat low carbs!

    i was unlucky for me this isn't something that just went after i had given birth, thereby for my health I followed what I was told religiously and I know that was green or red top immediately milk wise. there is a reason this lady spiked to 20, and I truly believe it was the milk. She needs to eliminate what causes these spikes quickly, if you have a family of Type 1/2s too you will know how dangerous it can be to have blood sugar levels running at 20!

    and believe me I can talk about Type 1 too, the only person not affected by this awful disease in my family is my sister and Mom.

    my readings in my pregnancy never went above 5.6, ever, even my diabetic consultant used to joke I was a swot and determined to get a gold star. My last HBA1c test was 5.6%.

    all I can say is what I have before, read the NHS guidelines (I am surprised you weren't given this booklet as its a carbon copy of what I was given) and see for yourself what the guidelines are, read as much as you can, but do what works for you!

  • I had ketones in a blood test a few weeks ago. I can only assume that they were low and not a worry as yet because the dr who read my blood results wasn't concerned by it. I wasn't on any insulin or watching my diet at the time of the test because GD hadn't been confirmed by then.

  • I had 3+ keytones showing on my wee testing strips when i went into hospital and ended up on a glucose drip to stabilise me, it wasn't pleasant, you can imagine being 20 weeks pregnant and constantly needing to wee and have to unplug a machine every time you needed to go that then beeped loudly for the duration of the time it was unplugged! In the middle of the night was a pain as I was worried about waking the ward up!

  • Ok well my wee tests are being done weekly so no problems there thanks it's reassuring to know these things. Dr's don't always have the time to explain everything.

  • no they don't, and i used to go in with questions in mind and never get chance to ask them! After that first episode I never had another keytone in my weekly wee test, I was very happy with that!

    you are doing well xx

  • Even semi skimmed sets my readings off. Going to give the lactose free milk a whirl can't hurt. I've noticed that if I eat protein foods with carbs my readings are a lot lower. I'm doing everything you mentioned basically sameegirl. Thanks for all replies x

  • Just keep up with your calcium also talk to your dietician again. Maybe they can suggest a good milk substitute?! And im glad you are getting on well. I felt so overwhelmed to begin with.x

  • Look im not saying I know everything about diabetes. But I have a fantastic diabetic nurse and I am open to helping you. I would take anyones advice on here, even mine with a pinch of salt and work out your own body. Do not read website advice as it can be scary and wrong. Just rely on your phone calls and react by your bodys reactions. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by family who are type 1 and 2 diabetic and they all have different advice because they all react differently to different foods! But keep strong and dont cut foods out unless advised by your dietician. I eat wholemeal bread for example, but can eat normal pasta and spagetti. My father in law can eat biscuits. One biscuit in my body is like a bomb! Just dont be afraid to try... and try equalling your carb intake to your protein intake. Thats worked for every diabetic I know :-)

  • I was also told to swap to green top, but I was already drinking it, and with bread, I was told wholemeal was better than white, but seeded bread was the best! Also potatoes, better to have new potatoes, rather than mashed or fried! Noodles were good for me and pasta! And rice too! I was advised to switch these to brown, but I didn't and never had a bad reading after eating them! I was diagnosed at 32 week's and it was a bit of a shock. I managed to control thru diet alone, but as said already, everyone is different. I was told to be bellow 4.8 first thing in the morning, and bellow 7.8 after each meal! What ever u do, stay away from special k red berries. I got such a bad reading off that!

  • Everyone reacts differently to foods is what I've discovered from all your replies. What works for one can cause problems for another. I guess you have to work out for yourself which foods are better than others. My triggers are milk and fruit. But after being told not to cut these out I've got to be clever with the amount per serving I can have. I've been given a lot of advice from friends and family who have diabetes but when I've asked my diabetic team it's a different story. For example, eating bread sweetened with fruit or making your own banana bread is alright for diabetics but an absolute no no for gestational diabetics. I have to say I was devastated as I love making my own banana bread lol.

  • Omg i remember my first meeting with my diabetic midwife, she said what do you have for breakfast, i was like o i am super healthy. I make a bowl of apples, oranges, pineapple chunks, melon etc and eat it at my desk at work. She put her pen down and said you can forget that from now on, your readings would be in double figures with all that sugar

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