Amanda Rankin, post pregnancy

33 year old full time working mum  with 3 children
Was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes with her third child  


4 Minutes

We opened up a conversation with inspiring local mum of three, Amanda Rankin who spoke candidly about her diagnosis with Gestational Diabetes, the bumpy journey that came with it and her new and improved lifestyle as a result! 

 

Tell me a bit about your pregnancy journey   

Three years ago, I was pregnant with my third child. At 24 weeks, I went to have the test for gestational diabetes. I did the fasting test first and it came back very high. I was told that they couldn’t proceed with the oral glucose tolerance test because I had Gestational Diabetes. I was told to return in 4 weeks for my first hospital appointment. I was given no information.  

What did you do for the 4 weeks leading up to your first appointment?   

Panic. I thought “Omg, what do I do? What have I done to myself? What have I done to my baby?”  

Were you aware of gestational diabetes leading up to the blood test?   

Not at all. I thought it should be fine because I didn’t have gestational diabetes with the other two children. So I went to have the test, fasting all morning, thinking I would be fine and get there to be told that my levels were high. I couldn’t believe it.  

So what did you do in the next 4 weeks?  

I googled and went into a whole self-loathing and panic mode, trying to figure out what to do. So I stopped eating everything except fruit and veggies. However, when I went to my first appointment, I was told you are not meant to eat too much fruit and have to cut it down on everything, especially carbs. It was a bit confusing. I was given a blood glucose monitor and instructions on the times of day to test. I was also given a diet to follow.  

How did you go with testing your blood sugar levels and managing your diet?  

I was never given advice about what to do if the sugars go high or low, just a booklet that I had to go away and read. Thankfully I had friends in the health industry to help me. My GP was also very good so I kept in close contact and she guided me on what I should be doing. I then was able to go through counting my carbs and measuring out my food with confidence.  

There were three days where my fasting blood sugar levels were high. At the next appointment, I was put on insulin but it was a low dose and I was told I had to remain on insulin until I had given birth.   

So how did you feel about going on insulin?   

I wasn’t aware that you might have to go on insulin at all.  I only had to do it once in the evening after my evening snack so it wasn’t so bad.  I just followed that the GP and Specialist’s instructions. 

What about when the baby was born, what sort of advice did you receive?  

I delivered a healthy baby but I wasn’t informed that I needed follow up and be re-tested for Diabetes. It was only since talking to colleagues at work that I found out I should have been tested 6 months after pregnancy and every year thereafter.   

So how are you going now with your lifestyle since having gestational diabetes?  

All good, I had a blood test recently and it came back normal. I now go every year because I know that I am at risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s getting easier now that I have put practices in place to help me with my diet. I am trying to make the healthier choices. For example, instead of going for the packet of biscuits I now go for an apple or a peach. It’s the same with my children, who have also adopted healthy habits.  

What played on my mind was finding out that my child is now at risk of type 2 diabetes. There was no information about what I should do and when he needs to start being tested. I ended up getting my 3 year old son tested for diabetes as I wanted to make sure that I have every chance at preventing it.   

How would your situation be different if you had access to the Capital Chicks Canberra?  

If I had the knowledge and somewhere to go to ask questions like the Capital Chicks CANberra instead of going on Dr Google and getting all of the fear factor thrown at you, I think I would have made more informed decisions in a more relaxed way instead of going through all the stress, anxiety and fear. I actually think I would have enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy more knowing that there was credible, relatable information online that I could have access to.  

Is there anything that you still find challenging to keep on top of your healthy lifestyle?  

Exercise. Exercise is hard  

What makes it challenging?  

Time. 3 kids and being a full time working mum. However, I saw the online workouts on Capital Chicks CANberra and thought I could do that in my lunch break. I am the type of person who normally sits at my desk and eats lunch and continues to work. I think it’s about changing your mindset.   

So what other sort of information then do you think women would respond to?  

I know busy working mums tend to like meal prepping, so easy ways and good recipes that you can do in bulk and being prepared for the working week so that you know you are getting all the nutrients you need but not overdoing it. So it’s only 2-3 hours out of your weekend compared to ‘uming and ahhing’ about what to do for meals during the week.   

So what do you think women don’t want in terms of health messages and information?  

Being told what we are doing wrong! Instead of saying what we are doing wrong, it’s more useful to give healthy alternatives like food swapping. For exercise, practical things that you can do at your desk or in your kitchen. Adding squats whilst you’re in the kitchen for example is manageable. Instead of saying you have to exercise every day for 30 minutes, breaking it up into something you can easily fit into your day rather than being told what you shouldn’t do. It’s more about realistic manageable options.   

Are there any other challenges to following a healthy lifestyle?  

Getting your male partner on board. When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, my husband didn’t understand the complexity of it and why I had to change my diet. So I wish I had some information to provide him about how you can support your partner. I could only imagine it would be challenging in many households.  

What do you think makes it difficult for partners to understand?  

For me, my husband at the time, was picky with his diet already so when I had to make changes including changing the way I cooked, it didn’t suit his needs. I think they must see it as an issue that is not really serious and it’s just about being on a diet, nothing else.    

What would need to happen to change the perceptions of partners?  

Showing them the risks and the worst side of what could happen if we don’t change our lifestyle like birth complications or type 2 diabetes. If you have love and compassion for that unborn child already, changes can be made. It’s not about ‘you’ making changes, it’s ‘we’, it’s collective to make these changes, it’s for the whole family. A pamphlet to give partners would really help for them so they can read it and understand.   

Is there one key message or one piece of advice you would like to give women who have been just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?  

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I was, but don’t be. There are people out there to help – The Capital Chicks CANberra, your GP, health professionals, community groups, and organisations to help support you on your journey. Changes can be made and it’s manageable. You’re not alone and I very much felt alone.   


Wellbeing Check - Take the quiz - Capital Chicks CANberra

Sometimes, all you need is the right information and a little bit of motivation to get started towards your health and wellbeing goals. The Capital Chicks CANberra has been designed to do just that.

Whether you want to connect with other like-minded women, get fit, lose weight, prevent disease or just live healthier and happier – our online community and dedicated experts have you covered in a supportive and non-judgmental online environment.

Brought to you by Diabetes NSW and ACT and proudly funded by the ACT government through the Department of Preventative and Population Health.