Pregnancy & T1D: Laura's Story P.2
JDRF employee, Laura Ciccarelli, was one of the many amazing women to participate in the creation of the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit. Laura was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when she was 13 years old.
In this three part series, we ask Laura all about her experience with pregnancy. From family planning to managing her T1D, Laura shares her experience with us.
This week, we look at the changes to Laura’s diabetes management and how she overcame those challenges.
What are the differences with managing your T1D pre-pregnancy, and during your pregnancy?
Testing, testing, and more testing! I was a ‘regular tester’ before, but to really drill down and learn my trends I found that testing every 2 hours was very helpful. Keeping good records is also very important. Whether it is an app on my mobile phone, an insulin pump download, or a paper and pen system I tracked my numbers. Seeing results forces you to acknowledge areas where you could improve. In the beginning I tested all the time, once I got a handle on my trends I tested a little less because the high level of accountability can be overwhelming at times.
What are your main challenges and how do you overcome them?
My main challenge is the desire for a break! I have lived with T1D for over 16 years and I couldn’t remember a time when I was as regimented. Truth be told, the hard work paid off! I have been able to maintain the best A1C I can ever remember having. When I only had to worry about myself there were days or times I might have forgotten to test or bolus but when I was concerned about the well-being of my baby I found the guilt to be hard and wished I could have a break. My medical team was very supportive to always remind me that ‘slip-ups’ will happen, but as long as you focus and get back on track everything will be fine.
What activities have changed in your life?
This is something that has been very difficult for me during pregnancy. Sometimes you hear stories of women who are extremely active or continue their workout routine… this was not me! I am typically very active playing soccer, taking spin classes, hiking, etc. When I found out I was pregnant all of these activities became very exhausting for me and I learned very quickly I had to listen to my body. I wasn’t the boss anymore.
I have to honestly say I never thought there would be a day I would be curled up on the couch resting wishing I could go to the gym! I have found if my body is tired it is important to rest, because that is what I need. When I want to be active now I have changed my routine: getting out for walks regularly, and finding stretching exercises I could do at home. Everyone’s bodies are different and I look forward to being more active again!
*This interview was conducted when Laura was 29 weeks pregnant as part of the research used to create the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit*
With the help of people like Laura, JDRF has created a Pregnancy Toolkit which outlines disease management goals for pregnancy, as well as how to obtain the best possible support from your healthcare provider at every stage. Get your copy of the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit.
Have a question for Laura? Let us know in the comment section below!