Diabetes Awareness: "No, it won't go away once the baby is born..."

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • Pregnancy Tracker: 30 weeks!

    Size of the Baby: Almost 3 pounds.

    Biggest Obstacle: There are not enough hours in the day!


    I have a mini-gripe regarding the lack of knowledge about diabetes within the healthcare profession.


    I have had two nurses, on two separate occasions, assume that I had gestational diabetes. I can somewhat understand the conclusion that diabetes was caused by my pregnancy. However, in one instance I was only 20 weeks along. I wouldn't even have had the test for gestational diabetes yet! Also, I always describe my disease as "type 1 diabetes" and yet, still the confusion.

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    Yesterday, I stopped in for a quick nurse's visit. Since my doctor's appointments were over three weeks apart this month, they thought it best for me to come in for a quick urine, weight, and blood pressure check.


    The nurse and I enter the room and she pulls up my electronic chart on the computer. She starts muttering something about diabetes and then says, "Don't worry; it'll go away after the baby is born."


    I was a little stunned. First of all, the chart says Type 1 diabetes all over it. I respond, "No, it won't go away once the baby is born, it's type 1. I've had it since I was 13."


    The nurse sighed and says pitifully, "That's too bad. It's so hard." Then she assumes, "Oh, your parents must also have it."


    "Nope." I reply, shortly.


    "Then your grandparents, probably," she continues.


    I sigh. "No. Nobody in my immediate family has it. Type 1 is not necessarily hereditary."


    Mercifully, this ends the discussion about diabetes. I really couldn't believe how little this healthcare professional knew about diabetes.


    As our brief visit continued, the nurse assumed my blood pressure must be running high since the doctor wanted me to come in just for a blood pressure check. I corrected her again. "Actually, my blood pressure is typically quite low. It's just that type 1 diabetics have an increased risk for preeclampsia, so they want to keep an eye on it."


    I don't think she believed me until after she took my blood pressure. "90 over 60... that's not bad!" she said cheerfully.


    Then, I asked her to weigh me. I've been curious about my weight gain. My stomach and the baby are definitely growing! However, I feel that I'm actually slimming down in other areas. Yesterday, I weighed 157 pounds, which is exactly what I've weighed at my last two appointments, going back nearly 6 weeks!


    It seems that my healthy diabetic diet, coupled with swimming and walking regularly, are really keeping my weight in check. As someone who's always had about 10 to 15 pounds to lose, I feel encouraged that this diet of snacking regularly and focusing on protein at each meal may be the ticket for lifelong health and weight control.


    All in all, the appointment was fast and I received good news regarding my blood pressure. The nurse, though surprisingly uninformed about diabetes, was very friendly and supportive.


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    This experience made me realize, once again, how important it is for patients to be knowledgeable about their own conditions. If I didn't know much about diabetes, I could have easily been lead astray by this nurse's comments. Also, by knowing what my blood pressure usually runs and what complications the doctor is watching for, I felt empowered in this appointment.


    As a type 1 diabetic, I am in the minority. I'm used to having to distinguish type 1 and type 2 for people who launch into stories about their great-aunt who won't give up her regular coke and take her medication. However, since becoming pregnant, the new assumption is that I have gestational diabetes. It definitely catches me off guard when someone tries to reassure me that "it'll go away after the baby is born."


    Anyone else with preexisting diabetes have this experience when they were pregnant?


    For more of Kelsey's blog, see here

Published On: November 01, 2007