Well, you guys seemed to really like my Top 5 Pregnancy Must Haves in the non-diabetic version so I thought it would be fun to do this T1D version as well! This is sort of a random list of things but when I sat down and really thought about the things I’m now using on a regular every day basis these are the things that came to mind. Also I threw in one extra thing because I just couldn’t narrow it down! All of these things have been super helpful for me throughout my pregnancy. Let’s just jump right in.
1. Dexcom (or at least some sort of CGM)
This has by far been my saving grace during pregnancy. Now, I realize that because of stupid insurance companies and money and access and all sorts of ridiculous reasons (can’t we just have what we need to live? like no? ok cool) this isn’t always a possibility for everyone out there. However, I will say if you are able to get a CGM and specifically in my opinion a Dexcom, you NEED to jump on this and get the ball rolling as soon as possible. I’m telling you this will make your life so much easier, or well not exactly easier but it will give you much more peace of mind. I honestly can’t imagine going through this pregnancy, or even life in general now, without my Dexcom. Side note if you’re not a diabetic and you’re still reading this anyway, 1st of all thank you for reading this and showing me support, 2nd of all – a Dexcom is a type of CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that is worn on your body at all times that gives you a constant readings of your blood sugar. They are usually sent via bluetooth to your phone or Apple Watch. This allows for far less frequent blood sugar checks via a finger stick and it’s just so convenient to be able to look down at your watch or phone and know what your blood sugars are at all times. Ok but speaking of which, especially in the beginning of pregnancy when you are learning what your numbers should be and the ranges you need to stay in and how far in advance you should be taking your insulin and all that jazz, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to see your blood sugars constantly. Honestly though, once you start to get the hang of things a bit more and learn not to panic if your blood sugar goes over 140 for a little while, you will be so thankful for this technology and all the data. As I said in my 3rd trimester update blog post, patience is going to take some time to truly develop during pregnancy as a type one, but once you do you will be a lot better off.
2. Clarity App
After all that Dexcom talk I couldn’t not mention the Dexcom Clarity App. So if you don’t know, this app works with your Dexcom and is basically a place where all of your data from your Dexcom is stored. There is so much useful information you can gather from this app and it is very helpful during pregnancy especially when you are trying to pay very close attention to any patterns and make insulin changes quite frequently. With this app you can see trends from the past 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, or 90 days. You can also see average blood sugars over those time periods, you can see which days you had the best blood sugars, you can see how many days you were in range, you can get an estimate of what your A1C is based on these numbers, there’s just so much information in here than can really help you out. You can also set different goals you are trying to achieve for example I have a goal to be 70% in range (sugars between 70-120) every day. This app will show you how many days you have reached that goal so its really helpful to know and might help you notice particular patterns where you need to make changes and what not. Highly recommend downloading this free app if you use the Dexcom!
3. Starbursts or Sour Patch Watermelon or Fruit Snacks
So with being pregnant now and still having type one diabetes, one of the harder things I had to learn was to not over treat my lows. We’ve ALL been there where we wake up at 3am to a blood sugar of 40, shlep into the kitchen, and end up shoving way too much food in our mouths because we honestly feel like we’re about to die. Then we wake up over 300, feeling like crap and ready for a largeee glass of water. Well, when you’re pregnant you literally cannot do this. This sort of drastic change in blood sugars is what can potentially be dangerous to the baby. So, I had to learn exactly what and how much of something would bring my low blood sugar back up to a normal range without spiking me too high. This is where I found starbursts, sour patch watermelon, or fruit snacks to be pretty helpful. I had to learn that 2 sometimes 3 startbursts was enough to bring me up, 3-5 sour patch was enough, and 4-5 fruit snacks (like individual pieces not packs lol) was enough to bring me up. Of course, this is real life and sometimes diabetes has a mind of it’s own and sometimes my will power isn’t strong enough and I eat more than I should and spike a little higher than I meant to. My point with this one though is that you have to find something that you can use to treat your low blood sugars with that you won’t overindulge in (at least 9/10 times you won’t) and it’s easy to carry around with you. For me that has been these 3 options. If I’m home or somewhere that I have more time and access to better options I’ll try to use fruit or something with a bit more nutritional value to treat a low, but for bedside assistance or on the go assistance with lows, these have been my go tos.
4. Apple Watch
This again is another option that isn’t always realistic for everyone out there. If it is though, it’s definitely something that’s helped me a lot. Having my blood sugars sent to my Dexcom app on my Apple Watch is so convenient for me. This was particularly true in the beginning of my pregnancy when I was still in grad school and I couldn’t always be looking at my phone while trying to teach or play with the kids. Being able to easily look down at my wrist and check my numbers without interrupting everything was super convenient.
5. Gatorade Zero
Being pregnant means drinking a lot of water. Being pregnant as a type one means drinking a lot more water and that’s pretty much it lol. If you’re non diabetic you can have some juice or soda or whatever every now and then and be fine, but that’s not really an option for us, or at least not for me – I’m not going to take extra insulin just for a drink, even before pregnancy I never drank sugary drinks like that… Except for maybe a special boozie one every now and then haha! But of course that’s out of the question now. Anyyyyway, so basically I get kinda sick of just drinking water all the time (though I do try to drink as much as I can) and wanted to try and find some other zero carb drink options that I could switch it up with. In comes Gatorade Zero! I had heard of it before but never really cared to try it out until recently. But to be honest it’s actually really good. In my opinion it doesn’t taste like artificial sweetener and it doesn’t give me a headache which is another plus. I have found that aspartame I believe does give me a headache because I seem to get one any time I have Diet Coke. Gatorade Zero is made with Sucralose which is like the same thing as Splenda and so far I have found that it doesn’t bother me! If you’re looking for a zero carb drink option I’d definitely recommend giving these a try. Plus they’re always on sale at Target for like 89 or 99 cents!
6. Pregnancy with Type One Diabetes Book
I used this book a lot more in the beginning of my pregnancy, but it was definitely super helpful to me especially when it comes to what is “normal” at certain times throughout pregnancy. This book really breaks down each trimester, each month, and even each week and what are some of the things you may want to be looking out for. It gives a lot of information on when you may be experiencing insulin need changes. Of course every pregnancy is different, but this certainly helped me feel like I wasn’t going crazy when one day I suddenly needed a whole lot less insulin and then a few weeks later I suddenly needed a whole lot more. It was super helpful to use this as a guideline plus it was encouraging reading it from the perspective of two fellow type one mamas who had already had children of their own. I highly recommend getting this book even before you get pregnant. It will help you feel more prepared and also just put your mind at ease a bit.
I hope you guys enjoyed this version of my top SIX pregnancy must haves for type one diabetes. I really enjoyed putting this together and I know that I would’ve loved to read something like this before I got pregnant myself. Of course many of these things may be things you already have and use which is great, but it will help you realize how valuable they are to you and how much they can help you throughout your pregnancy. Let me know what you guys think! What do you want to see next on the blog?