Diabetic Pregnancy: Weight Control, Associated Risks, Educating People
Pregnancy Tracker: 26 weeks
Size of the Baby: Nearly 2 pounds.
Biggest Obstacle: Waking up in the morning... bed is so cozy!
Now that I'm in the middle of my seventh month, everyone can see that I am pregnant.
I've noticed people are generally friendlier to me now. Coworkers are always smiling at me and strangers will gaze at me for a moment, acknowledging my belly. Neighbors hold doors open for me at our condo building and one couple let me go ahead of them at the grocery store.
It's true: the world loves a pregnant woman. In our somewhat jaded world, it seems to be one of the few things that the public holds sacred.
People I work with are starting to comment on the size of my belly. It's a weird situation when you realize that people are noticing (and judging!) your body on a regular basis. For the most part, I'm hearing that I'm not very big for 26 weeks. Or, "Wow, you're all belly." Which, I believe, is what every pregnant woman wants to hear.
I guess it's true. At my appointment last week I'd only gained 10 pounds total. Admittedly, I had a few pounds to spare before the pregnancy began! Still, it feels good to know that I'm remaining fit and gaining only the weight the baby needs to prosper.
Typically, when anyone comments on my size, I describe my healthy diet and exercise plan and thus my diabetes as an explanation for my modest weight gain.
Most people that I am familiar with know about my diabetes. I've never been one to hide my disease. In fact, I'm sort of proud of it. I know that diabetes requires a great deal of discipline and determination to keep in good control and thus I feel a great sense of accomplishment through my diabetes management. What's to hide?!
On the other hand, several people who have commented on my pregnancy are acquaintances that did not know about my diabetes previously. When I mention that I have type 1 diabetes and thus have to maintain a pretty strict diet during my pregnancy, all sorts of questions are asked. "Is your pregnancy really risky?" is the predominant one.
The answer, of course, is yes and no. Preexisting diabetes does make my pregnancy a "high risk" one. However, with proper care, there's no reason my pregnancy will be any more dangerous than a low-risk pregnancy. My standard reply is that I'm receiving excellent care, seeing my doctor every couple weeks, and should have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. That's the gist of it, anyway.
Diabetes is an invisible disease. Those of us who have it get the option of sharing the information or keeping it to ourselves. In some circumstances, it's easier not to say anything, while in other situations we feel comfortable to speak up. Either way, it's up to us.
Not so with pregnancy. Everyone you encounter can see that you are expecting. So far, I haven't had any strangers come up and touch my stomach, but I've heard that's not uncommon for pregnant women to experience.
Initially, I was caught off-guard sometimes when strangers smiled at me or coworkers exclaimed, "You're starting to show!" However, I'm getting used to it now. I feel like I have to always be prepared for a conversation about my pregnancy every time I venture away from my desk at work or out of our home.
For me, diabetes and pregnancy are deeply intertwined. I cannot think about my growing belly without my diabetes fitting into the picture. I suppose it's a good thing that I've always felt pretty comfortable talking about diabetes, because now I'm getting the opportunity to educate people about it... all the time!