Claire* is 35, has 3 children, and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both her second and third pregnancies.
Claire felt unwell 11 weeks into her second pregnancy. A fasting blood test detected low blood glucose levels and she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Given this history, she was tested early in her third pregnancy, and was again diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Claire was referred to the gestational diabetes clinic at a local hospital for regular midwife and obstetrician appointments for both pregnancies. For her second pregnancy, she also attended an education appointment through a Maternal and Child Health program where she was provided with blood glucose testing equipment.
Claire was able to maintain her blood glucose levels within the target range throughout the day with a controlled diet but needed to take insulin overnight.
Her blood glucose levels were monitored at her regular appointments at the hospital, and her insulin was adjusted accordingly. These appointments were initially once a month but became fortnightly, then weekly as the pregnancies progressed.
Claire was alerted from as early as 16 weeks into her pregnancies that a caesarean or induction may be required and fortnightly scans from 32 weeks monitored the size of the babies. In both pregnancies, Claire was told that the babies were measuring large and that she should book in for a caesarean. Claire was determined to avoid a caesarean if possible and went into spontaneous labour at 38 weeks and had 2 successful natural births (after a caesarean with her first pregnancy) with both babies born within the healthy weight range.
After the babies were born, Claire and the babies’ blood glucose levels were monitored in hospital for 24 hours. All were normal. Claire did another blood test 6 weeks after the births and this was also normal.
She will continue to monitor blood glucose levels with 6-monthly tests as she now has an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life.
This case study is based on an interview with a person who is living with gestational diabetes. This personal account is not necessarily representative of the circumstances of other people with gestational diabetes or the challenges they may face, but it is our hope that it will give readers a greater awareness and understanding of the diversity of people’s experiences with diabetes.
The information provided does not contain medical advice – consult a qualified healthcare professional for guidance relating to your personal medical needs.
*Names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Images are not representative of individuals in the story.