My Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis: This is What It’s REALLY Like

One of my biggest fears, each and every pregnancy, was that I would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

One of my biggest fears, each and every pregnancy, was that I would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. And each pregnancy, I managed to escape. I may have had any number of other high-risk issues pop up — pre-eclampsia, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, on and on — but hey, I didn’t get gestational diabetes! I was good!

I hate to say it, but my fear of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes really boiled down to one thing: having to prick my finger every day. I hate getting my finger pricked at the doctor. I could just imagine bruised, sore fingers from having to prick them day after day, and it seemed to be torture to me. And give myself insulin shots? Oh, heck no. I don’t have a phobia of needles, but pricking myself was just not appealing.

I knew I couldn’t get lucky forever, and with my fifth pregnancy, I finally got the positive diagnosis that I so dreaded. I didn’t fail by much, but I did fail, and so my doctor put in a prescription for a glucose meter and some lancets, had me meet with a nutritionist to go over a diabetes-friendly diet, and instructed me to log my blood sugar levels and food intake every single day. Things got real, really fast.

I found out that your body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin during pregnancy. For most women, most of the time, this isn’t an issue; your pancreas responds by producing more insulin. But sometimes, the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand, and bam — you get gestational diabetes. Thankfully, it’s not a permanent condition; after the baby is born, the woman’s body will normalize. But women who get gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes in the future, post-pregnancy.

It’s still not entirely clear why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t. Some risk factors are known, but some women have those risk factors and don’t get it, while others don’t have any risk factors, and do.

For the most part, gestational diabetes isn’t anything to stress about too much. There are some potential complications — you are at higher risk for preterm labor, and are also more likely to give birth to a bigger baby. The baby is also more likely to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after birth, and there is also a risk of stillbirth. While all of that is scary, the good news is, your doctor will closely monitor both you and baby to ensure the best possible outcome. By following the treatment plan, most women should be able to give birth to a healthy baby and recover quickly.

But what is having gestational diabetes actually like?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that pricking my finger every day ended up being nowhere near as bad as I had worried it would be. For the most part, the pain is minimal, although it can be difficult to remember to test two hours after I eat, every single time. I’ve also struggled with my blood sugar levels fluctuating quite a bit — while I knew ahead of time that having gestational diabetes meant that I would need to worry about my blood sugar being too high, it never really occurred to me that my blood sugar could also frequently get to be too low. I’ve been put on a medication to help control my blood sugar, which consists of taking one pill, twice a day. Thankfully, I haven’t had to give myself insulin shots (not yet, anyway!).

The diet has been one of the difficulties of having gestational diabetes. The diet in and of itself isn’t terrible — at its core, all it really requires is that I’m careful about how much starch and sugar I take in. So I have to be careful about the carbs I eat, and of course, sweet things like ice cream and candy. But I also can’t eat too much fruit, one thing that I’ve found to be hard as we have a lot of fruit at the house. When my kids are snacking on grapes, I can have a few, yes. But it’s difficult to remember that I have to limit myself on something that I previously saw as a healthy snack. And while cutting back on carbs can seem like it wouldn’t be too hard, it’s incredible how many things can make your blood sugar spike. Rice, corn, potatoes, peas — these are all things I have to be careful about how much I’m eating, because if I have too much, my blood sugar will spike.

Then there is the issue of cravings. Every pregnant woman has them, but I swear, now it’s like wanting Chick-fil-A on Sundays, the one day you can’t have it. I find myself craving things like a big, greasy pizza, or a hamburger and fries, and it’s deeply disappointing that I can’t treat myself when that craving hits… although thankfully, it’s just for another month. Even cravings for something like sushi are now a no-go, because of all the rice!

But while it can be hard, the diet has not been too overwhelming. I can still have as much, say, bacon as I want, and BLT wraps have become one of my favorite things to make for lunch. And snacks can still be really yummy, with things like vegetables and hummus, or cheese and crackers. Thankfully, my nutritionist also said that it’s still OK to occasionally indulge in a little bit of a treat — a small amount of ice cream, for example — as long as I’m careful about my serving size and don’t eat too much.

All in all, while gestational diabetes is no picnic, now that I have it, I can at least say that it’s also not as terrible as I imagined it would be. And at the end of the day, all of the difficulties will be worth it if it means safely bringing a new baby into the world.

Cassy Fiano-Chesser
Cassy Fiano-Chesser is a Jacksonville native and mom to six kids. Her husband is a Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient. She works from home as a blogger and a freelance writer, and they currently live in the Argyle area of Jacksonville. Benjamin is their oldest, born in 2011, and he loves being a big brother. Wyatt was born in 2012, and he has Down syndrome. Ivy came next, in 2013, followed by Clara, born in 2015, who is a diva-with-a-capital-D. Rounding out the brood is Felicity, born in 2017, and Lilly, born in 2007. They love discovering things to do on the First Coast and going on family adventures, as well as cheering on the Jumbo Shrimp and the Icemen.


  1. I had GD with my first pregnancy and I remember crying when the nurse was showing me how to prick my finger on the monitor. I didn’t know how I was going to do it my own! Thankfully it did get easier and I made it through with a healthy little girl. 🙂 It gave my a true sympathy for kids with type 1 and all those who deal with diabetes of some sort.

  2. I had gestational with both pregnancies and found the biggest thing that helped was exercise, especially strength training. I did kettle bell workouts at least 6 times a week and was able to control everything with diet and exercise both times. The workouts that I loved best was the body by Amy prenatal workouts (look it up on YouTube). I loved her and she had enough variety to mix it up. The big plus side of all of it was not having to lose a ton of baby weight after giving birth! Plus I had ice cream for like two weeks after they were born.:)


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