Friday, January 29, 2010

Carbo-load

As I mentioned in my last post, now that I've failed my gestational diabetes screening, I have to go back for an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. Some tests are three or four hours long, requiring your blood to be drawn for testing once per hour - the one I'm going in for is only two hours long, takes place first thing in the morning, and my blood will only be taken twice: once before the test and once at the end.

I have to spend three days preparing my body by eating a prescribed high carb diet and then fasting from 9pm the night before the test. From what I understand, chowing down on carbs for a few days kind of "primes" the body for the test and reduces the number of false positives, which can occur if you normally have a very low carb diet (which I don't, although I also don't eat this much every day).
 This is the minimum amount of carbs that I have to eat every day for the next three days:
- my usual amounts of milk, meat, fish, eggs, cheese and butter/margarine PLUS
- three slices of bread or toast AND
- one serving of breakfast cereal, oatmeal or spaghetti AND
- one potato or a serving of rice AND
- three servings of vegetables AND
- three servings of fruit (fresh, cooked, canned or juice) AND
- a snack of either two cookies or one scone or an extra slice of bread (I have to have two of these snacks per day)

To give you an idea of what this looks like, today I had:
Breakfast - oatmeal plus one slice of bread
Morning snack - an apple plus two shortbread cookies
Lunch - a tuna sandwich (don't worry, it was light tuna, not albacore) and grapes
Afternoon snack - another apple and two more shortbread cookies
Dinner - chicken stir fry with three servings of vegetables and rice (it may have been better to spread the veggies throughout the day like the fruit, but this was easier)

A few people have asked me if there's a chance if I could pass this next test. Of course the answer is yes, but honestly, I'd be stunned if I passed. Normally that only happens if your first result is borderline; using Australia's system, where a score of 3.5-7.8 is normal, borderline might be around 8.5 - but mine was 10.5. So I think it's pretty likely that it will come back with a bad result again, unfortunately. Don't get me wrong, I'd be thrilled if the first test was a fluke and this one comes back just fine...but I think it's pretty unlikely.

I won't be able to tell you until next week whether this will be managed with diet alone, or if I'll need insulin as well. The good news is that a low-GI diet is a very healthy way to eat anyway and not overly restrictive - for example, you don't have to cut all carbohydrates, just choose complex ones over simple, refined carbs - so it won't be too horrible. 
A couple of you commented on what a good attitude I have about this. I'll be honest - I'm bummed. I truly am. This pregnancy has come with enough physical difficulties that I was really hoping to make it through without anything like this happening. However, I think just knowing from the day we found out we were having twins that this had a higher likelihood of occurring has made me much more accepting than I might have been otherwise.

I know there's not anything I can do, or anything I could have done to prevent this - it's just one of those things that happens sometimes in a regular pregnancy and a lot more frequently with twins. As this pregnancy progresses, my body is under an enormous amount of physical stress, so having whacked out insulin levels is really one of the more minor things that can happen and I'm glad that this is something that is very manageable, especially compared to having pre-eclampsia or hypertension or something else that would mean bedrest.

Plus if these babies are born at around 36 weeks (the average for twins), that means I only have about another 10 weeks to go, so it's really not too bad. I bet a lot of you have had regular diets that have lasted that long!

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