Pregnancy and Diabetes: Blood Glucose Testing in the Middle of the Night
Pregnancy Tracker: 24 weeks, 3 days
Size of the Baby: Just over a pound, but nearly fully formed!
Biggest Obstacle: Accurately judging blood glucose responses.
Getting advice from mothers is one of the joys and occasional frustrations of being pregnant with your first child. One of the areas that I'm not so concerned about is middle of the night feedings. Some women say they had a hard time adjusting to waking up and falling back asleep several times a night when their newborn needs to eat every few hours. My diabetic pregnancy has prepared me well for this task of motherhood.
I wake up at least twice a night to test my blood glucose. Depending on when I hit the sack, I set my alarm for a couple hours later, usually between midnight and 1 a.m.
After I've woken up and done that test, I reset my alarm for a few hours later, usually at 3 or 3:30 a.m.
If I do catch a high reading, I may set the next alarm in closer increments, just to see how my correction bolus is working. If I'm high at the 3 a.m. check, I may set the alarm again for 4:30 or 5 a.m., rather than wait until I wake up for the day, to see if my blood sugar came down enough.
Since being pregnant, I sleep like a baby. I just love sleep! So, it's not difficult for me to fall immediately back to sleep after these tests.
Also, typically, I have to go to the bathroom a lot now, so these trips are coupled with my blood glucose tests. I know some women without diabetes find they wake up several times a night to use the bathroom. So, by getting up a couple times a night on purpose, I'm really not disrupting my sleep more than it would be anyway!
When I tell people about my experience with a diabetic pregnancy, the thing that always surprises them is the number of times I test my blood glucose each day. Fifteen to 18 times per day is a lot, but it's truly the best way to keep my blood sugar stable. Fellow diabetics, especially those with tight control habits, are used to testing upwards of 10 to 12 times daily. Some of those additional tests come in the wee small hours of the morning, but they're very important.
First of all, the only way to accurately gauge your basal rates throughout the night is to collect information about what your blood sugar is doing during those hours. My doctor and CDE expect me to do at least one test overnight, but more is better.
Secondly, and most important to me, I actually rest better knowing that I'm not going to experience an unchecked high blood sugar throughout the night. Early in my pregnancy, I had one fasting blood glucose of nearly 200 mg/dl. What a terrible feeling! Obviously, I'd much prefer to catch a high number after only a couple hours, than go 7 to 8 hours with elevated sugar in my blood. Waking up to test is a small price to pay for that piece of mind.