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Coping with Gestational Diabetes

When I was about 28 weeks pregnant, my gynae ordered an OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) for me.

I was actually dreading the test, but never thought that I would be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes!

What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes (GD) occurs when ladies develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. You may experience few or no symptoms prior to the diagnose; you may or may not have diabetes before your pregnancy. Or you may not even have any family history of diabetes!

GD can range from mild to serious. It can increase the risks of pre-eclampsia, depression, or requiring a c-sect. There may also be risks to the babies in our wombs, such as being too large (thus requiring c-sect before or during EDD), having low blood sugar after being delivered (their tiny bodies are still producing higher levels of insulin as they are used to the high blood sugar level while growing in our bodies), or jaundice.

This may also mean that the babies are exposed to higher risks of being over-weight or developing Type 2 Diabetes in future.

There has been an increasing trend of pregnant mummies having GD in Singapore. So most of our government hospitals have made this a compulsory routine check.

I am also feeling thankful that my gynae has also made this a compulsory routine check. I would probably never know that I am at risk for GD!

I don't think I have much symptoms - I was not overly fat, not gaining a lot of weight, and I don't have a giant baby - however, I noticed an increase in sugar level detected in my urine sample, 2 visits prior to the OGTT.

Still, I was probably in denial and didn't think I would have GD!

My OGTT was scheduled in my 28th week visit. Prior to the test, I would need to fast after 12am and in the morning.

When we walked in to the clinic, we took our routine urine test, and a prick test. Then we had to finish 1 bottle of glucose drink. It tasted like some fizzy orange soda, and I was happy - for the first 3 mins or so lol.

After a couple of mins, the sweetness started to become very overwhelming for me. Plus I hadn't eaten that morning, I felt quite nauseous, and I prayed that I won't throw up - because if I do, I have to redo the test on another day!

So anyhow.. I failed the test by getting 8.6. The passing point was around 7 I think.

After receiving the upsetting news, together with 2 other ladies, we went for "counselling" session with our gynae lol.

He gave us a diet guideline, with some recommendations for exercises that we can do.

I was glad that we did not need to see a dietician, and we had a couple of days to try to adjust to the new diet, before doing the prick tests, and sending the results to him.

To be honest, I was in a very bad mood right after leaving the clinic. Probably because I didn't know much about GD, and most of the information that I googled came back very negative.

So I was blaming myself for this condition, although my gynae was very gentle with breaking the news to us lol!

I tried then to adjust my diet and exercise plans over the weekend, and was surprised that I could adjust quite quickly after a few days.

In fact, I felt less lethargic and my knees no longer had pain when I walk!

I chose brisk walk over other exercises because it's easier for me, since we have a
park within walking distance! I usually walk for 30-40 mins, 3 times a week.

Basically we just have to cut carbs and sugar (including sauces and some root vegetables) in our diet, while increasing vegetables and protein intake.


Unsweetened natural peanut butter on toast with kiwi fruit

I rely mostly on cheese + egg on toast for my breakfasts for no-hassle quick fix. Sometimes I would add in sauteed mushrooms, cucumber, tomato etc.

For items like mushrooms and non-starchy vegetables, we can eat freely. So please feel free to eat more of those to fill your tummy up :p

Carbs: 1 or 2 slices of wholemeal bread, or 6 pcs of wholemeal crackers, or 1 small chicken pau
Dairy: 1 slice of cheese, or 1 glass of low-fat milk
Protein: 1 egg, or half can of tuna in water, or grilled chicken or ham (heated thoroughly)
Vegetables: cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce
Fruits: 1/2 of an orange or grapefruit, or 1/2 guava, or 1 green apple
Other beverages: black coffee, tea with no sugar, unsweetened chrysanthemum tea or barley water

We are encouraged to have about 6 meals a day - 3 main meals + 3 snacks - to keep the blood sugar level stabilised, so we won't experience spikes.

Healthy snacks include wholemeal toast, wholemeal crackers, fruits, oats, milk. If you would like some sweet stuff, you can check out Paleo recipes. Sometimes I also snack cheat with some 70% dark chocolate (1-2 squares only), little amount of baked snacks, some seaweed snacks, or 2 chwee kueh.

Recently I also realised I could take homemade chiffon cakes with significantly lesser sugar.

Wholemeal crackers and oat with half cup milk + unsweetened cocoa powder
+ pure unsweetened hazelnut paste

1 fresh popiah with less sauce + a few slices of guava

Paleo apple almond muffins with some orange slices.

Paleo blueberry muffins

Banana coconut flour bread

 Homemade granola with unsweetened natural yogurt and fruits

My cheat snack lol!

Carbs: 3 pcs of wholemeal crackers, or 1 fresh popiah with less sauce, or 3 tbsp of oats, or 1 soon kueh
Dairy: 1 glass of low-fat milk
Vegetables: cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, salad
Fruits: 1/2 of an orange or grapefruit, or 1/2 guava, or 1 green apple
Other beverages: black coffee, tea with no sugar, unsweetened chrysanthemum tea or barley water
Cheat snack: usually 1 or 2 slices of paleo bread, or 1 paleo muffin.

Most of the time, I eat more of sandwiches, wraps, soups or western food for lunch and dinner. Soba is also a good choice - however please go easy on the soba sauce. I made my own soba sauce using soy sauce, sesame oil and reduced amount of rice wine vinegar, yet had my reading in 6+ range. I think it might be the rice wine vinegar, so I am sure if we take the soba dipping sauce in restaurants it would be worse.

Easy mushroom pizza on wrap. Go easy on the pasta sauce :)
Check carbohydrates & sugar under the nutritional values before buying. I use Naturel pasta sauce.

Soba salad with tuna in water and cucumber.
I drizzled some low fat Italian dressing on the cucumber.

Carbs: 1/2 bowl of rice, or ban mian, or soba, or 3 slices of wholemeal bread sandwich
Dairy: 1 glass of low-fat milk
Protein: Grilled or pan fried chicken, pork, fish, beef or omelette
Soups: I usually cook clearer soup using soy bean + ikan bilis base
Vegetables: cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, salad, stir fried leafy vegetables, beansprouts
Fruits: 1/2 of an orange or grapefruit, or 1/2 guava, or 1 green apple
Other beverages: black coffee, tea with no sugar, unsweetened chrysanthemum tea or barley water
Cheat snack: usually 1 or 2 slices of paleo bread, or 1 paleo muffin.

It's quite unavoidable for eating out, or buying takeaways on busy days.

I have tried eating out, and then diligently doing the test prick after having new food. Of course, I would also try to choose grilled or pan fried food, with lesser sauce :)

Occasionally, I would also order chicken or duck rice, swap the rice to plain white rice, and have half portion only.

Grilled chicken rice at Talad Thai (I only ate slightly less than 1/2 portion of the rice here)

And then as I grew tired of the strict diet, I started to eat moderately what I really craved for :p

Meat ball and lean pork soup at Tiong Bahru market

Sharing favourite kway chup with the husband. I only had 1/2 bowl of kueh with chili,
and the rest of the ingredients except innards (personal preference). And with no sugar soy milk :p

Thankfully, I was able to manage my readings mostly below 6. On some exception days, I have 6+ or my post 2-hour readings.

As you can see, it's not the "end (of the world)" when we are being diagnosed with GD. However if you are currently pregnant, it definitely helps if you limit sugar and carb intake, and do exercise regularly :)

If you're like me, being diagnosed with GD and would like some sweet treats, check out these recipes here:

What are some of the ways you cope with GD? Share with us here! :)

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