Written by Lisa Taylor, Founder & Writer of GestationalDiabetesRecipes.com
Last updated July 2014
So you’ve just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GDM) and you haven’t had your first appointment with your diabetes educator or dietitian yet. Arriving at that appointment with some questions ready to ask is going to help you feel prepared and in control.
‘But I don’t know what I don’t know,’ is a common call amongst women with GDM. And it makes sense. There is a lot to know once you get started. It helps to focus that first appointment on questions that are about getting you through that first week or two. Be sure to keep a note of other questions as they come up, either in your phone or in a notebook.
Here’s what GDM and Girl Scouts have in common
You’re probably going to see a recurring theme with GDM. It’s preparedness. Whether it’s preparing your kitchen to be GDM-friendly, going food shopping according to the meal plan you‘ve written up for the week ahead, having GDM-friendly snacks on hand to avoid eating the wrong thing, researching insulin in case that comes up for you or finding out the best food choices for eating out. Giving yourself the chance to be prepared will keep you on track not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. And this all plays a part in successful GDM management.
Your journey with GDM doesn’t have to be scary, depressing, stressful or horrible. (Well at least not all of the time.) You can make it what you want it to be. And by educating yourself, asking questions and giving yourself a chance, you will get through it knowing that you are doing the best you can for you and your baby.
At your first appointment
Your first appointment with your educator or dietitian might only be 30 minutes long. During this time they will want to explain to you:
- the basics of GDM and your new diet,
- give you a blood glucose level testing machine, show you how to use it and record your results,
- give you some information about how to manage your carbohydrate intake (and what foods contain carbohydrates),
- and they might also tell you about the risks involved with GDM.
Take a friend & ask them to take notes
It can be hard to take all this information in and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and leave feeling more confused than when you arrived. So think about taking your partner, a friend or someone else who can write notes for you so you can just listen. Be sure to let your educator know at the beginning of the appointment that you have some questions you’d like to ask. They may get answered along the way, but do make the time to ask because it’s important to not leave feeling nervous about the following week.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t understand’
Sure, your educator has a lot of information to cover in that first appointment. But if you don’t understand or you’re confused you might be focussing on gathering the courage to interrupt them instead of hearing what they are saying. Ask them to repeat things or explain it in a different way. Don’t feel silly, bullied or out of time. This is your health and the wellbeing of your baby that is in question. Only you can make this experience what you what it to be.
Before your first appointment
We recommend reading the following links from our website to help you get your head around your diagnosis.
Questions for your first appointment
- Is this my fault?
- Have I had GDM all along and it’s only being picked up now?
- I’m really scared about injecting insulin. Will I have to?
- If carbs are the problem, can I just stop eating them and increase protein, vegetables and fat?
- Tell your educator about how you’ve been cooking and eating until now. Ask what simple or more radical changes you can make that could improve things for GDM.
- When I buy packaged food, how can I work out exactly how much to eat or cook with so I keep to my carbohydrate allowance each meal?
- I’ve heard it can be hard to manage blood glucose levels (BGLs) overnight. Is there anything I can do about that?
- Who can I contact if I have more questions before my next appointment?
- Who can I talk to if I am feeling depressed or stressed out about all this (knowing that stress can negatively impact my BGLs)?
These questions are just a starting point. Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below, or come back later and tell us how you went.
After your first appointment
We recommend you have a read of these articles to give you some inspiration, ideas and tips for the road ahead.
Keep in touch with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page or by emailing lisa [at] gestationaldiabetesrecipes.com