While waiting for one of my doctor’s appointment when I was in week 16+, I took a few pamphlets placed in the antenatal clinic to read and pass my time. One of the pamphlets which caught my eye was a call for research participants to understand whether the time we eat during pregnancy has any effect on the sugar level in our bodies.
I was intrigued for a few reasons:
- I wanted to know how my body responds to eating at different times of the day (the objective of the research). I was told that a copy of my glucose summary report would be given to me after I had returned the tracker and my food logbook.
- The research study would only involve monitoring and a tracking of my food intake. There would not be any interventions performed which might harm my baby.
- There would be remuneration on top of a waiver of the cost for the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) which I would have to do eventually.
Hence, I contacted the research coordinator who explained the purpose of the study at my next visit (which was for my Detailed Scan) and arranged for the necessary monitoring devices for me. I had to have a glucose tracker placed on/into my body (it is not as scary as it sounds. It is just a small needle inserted into my flabby arm and stuck with tape for extra security) and wear a watch-like/bicycle light-like device on my wrist for 10 days. Sometimes, I forgot that I was wearing the glucose tracker and would accidentally scratch my arm. Thankfully, the device was secured really well 😀
Of the ten days where my glucose was being monitored, I was supposed to note down all my intake (food and liquid) for any three weekdays and one weekend. This was really very tedious as I not only have to record what I eat/drink, I also had to note down the amount, how it was prepared and any brands (if applicable). The food diary should be as comprehensive as possible so that the researchers could analyse the results better. I had thought of recording my food diary for more than what was required so that I could understand which foods would affect my glucose levels but I was too lazy and did not do more in the end. On hindsight now that I have received my glucose results back, I really regretted not being diligent enough. Just the readings alone without my food intake at whatever timing did not explain much. Here is an example of my food diary and the corresponding glucose measurements for the same day:
As can be seen in the second picture above, my glucose levels were below 4.4mmol/L (the lower limit for their study) for 67% of the time, on target between 4.4-7.8mmol/L for 33% of the time and were never beyond their upper limit of 7.8mmol/L on 5 Nov 2019. My glucose levels increased shortly after I had each of my meals for the day. What shocked me was the realisation that you mian actually increase my glucose levels by so much that I was almost beyond the upper limit soon after I ate it! Long John Silver on the other hand, raised my glucose levels for a prolonged period of time and I digested it from about 7+pm to 9+pm (I suspect the Hershey’s pie was the main culprit for my high glucose levels while the oily fried food was the cause of the long digestion though). By looking at the trends in my glucose levels for the 10+ days when I wore the tracker, I realised that my body was nearly in a hypoglycemic state most of the time (defined as less than 4.0mmol/L)!
I submitted my food diary on the same day as my OGTT and promptly received my glucose summary report for the research on the same afternoon. Though I would only know if I have gestational diabetes (GD) at my next consultation with the doctor in Jan 2020, both Sunshine and I concluded that I mostly likely do not have GD based on the glucose summary report I received as a result of participating in the study. Yay! Hehe. This was one happy news I felt for the day (Besides the OGTT, I also saw the doctor for my skin condition on the same day). Sunshine, who rolled his eyes at me when I told him I wanted to participate in the study, also agreed that it was a great decision I made to participate in the study! Hehe. I had likely “passed” my OGTT, was able to better understand my glucose levels in relation to my food intake for about 10+ days, had my routine OGTT investigation paid for and received remuneration for my participation in the study! 😀