Balancing full time job and diabetes pregnancy. Please share your experience!
Ladies, please share your stories on this! It is my greatest worry that makes me wonder whether really I want to try to have a child :(((
How many times did you check your BG at work? Were the people you worked with understanding of you constantly checking and correcting sugars? Did you ACTUALLY manage to have CONSTANT control of blood sugars under 7.5???
It just sounds impossible to me, so I need to hear some real stories, please help :( x
Balancing full time job and diabetes pregnancy. Please share your experience!
It definitely was difficult. I think that your worries are realistic, but it is totally possible to manage your sugars and hold down a full-time job. I think that, depending on what your job is, you'll want to find some kind of system/schedule that works for you. I was a behavioral therapist, so I made sure to test between each client, and I also used my cgm to keep an eye on things in between. In my personal experience, all co-workers and clients were very understanding of blood sugar management. They may not have really "understood" the situation, but they were supportive nonetheless. If I had to stop a session for five minutes to eat some starbursts and test my blood sugar, they were always cool with it. I would usually speak in generic d-speak ("My blood sugar feels off" or "I need to adjust my blood sugar") and that was fine. If you work in a more structured environment where a quick finger-stick is intrusive to your job, it may be worth a conversation with your boss about the medical necessity of blood sugar management during pregnancy (i.e. "I usually only test my sugars at work around lunch time, but you may notice that I need to test every hour or two.") Let them know (respectfully) that this is a need, not an optional thing, you know? Best of luck!
I was just going to say that someone recently asked about it b/c she had a physically demanding job- but then when I looked for it it was you! :) I would suggest getting a continuous glucous monitor. As a mom, this is the only way I currently keep check on my sugars and I work full time plus the mommy stuff, which is also upredictible in my physical activity and schedule. I mostly have an office job but do travel and the CGM was my life saver. Also- you will most likely see your endo every three weeks or so and that helped me stay on top of it as well.
And, depending on who you work with, getting people you trust to understand what is needed and the stress you're under to manage your sugars can then provide additional support throughout the pregnancy. I trained several people on the glucagon (sp?) in my office and then was able to share with them how hard it is and how important it is to manage your sugars as a pregnant diabetic. I will admit though that I'm lucky in that I work in a very family friendly environment.
The fact that you are thinking it through and getting advice I think means you are way ahead of the game! Keep us posted and good luck!
In my first pregnancy (age 37/38) I worked FT. But I was not diagnosed with diabetes until that pregnancy, which was found to actually be LADA/T1. Had a singleton. The last few months was very very tough. a1c kept around 5.6. My second pregnancy (fertility assisted twins) I made the decision to take early medical leave. It was WAY too challenging to test my blood sugar as many times throughout the work day as I needed to, and also, I was not getting proper sleep at night, which made the work day hellish. To me, it was just not worth it to be pregnant and work FT. The pregnancy is high risk when you have diabetes and sufficient sleep is critical. It is also critical to walk around (I kept having to leave the office to take walks if BS got too high. And it is also critical to sit and rest frequently throughout the day. One night I just decided, "I do not feel like I can have a healthy pregnancy and work full time and this is so so important to me." The next day I called my OB and said, "I want to reduce my work hours by 50% now (20 weeks) and go out on leave at 28 weeks." He said "I have been waiting for this discussion. You have my full support." As I see it, being pregnant with diabetes is your full time job now. Bite the bullet financially and see what you OB can do about reducing your work hours (your job cannot get rid of you if it is doctors orders) as well as going out on early leave. best, Melissa
Thank you for answering this, Lauren, Megan and Melissa!
Lauren and Megan, I will definitely see whether I can organize a good glycemic routine at my work. Also, explaining the situation to my colleagues and manager would probably work well. I really have to see. I just stopped working in a special needs school (which was very unpredictable and physcially challenging, so not suitable for pregnancy and diabetes), now I am doing a dissertation and soon starting a full time job in a kindergarten as a early years practitioner. So I will have to see how I get on there, hopefully routine would be possible and my colleaguse will turn out to be understanding :)
Megan, thanks for remembering me and answering both my posts! It is really a sign of how anxious I am about this issue. Unfortunately I can't get a CGM here. I spoke these days with the diabetic antenatal unit here (Bristol, UK) and they explained they don't give CGM-s to pregnant women, none of their cases received a CGM. They give CGM-s only in very very serious cases for short amounts of time. So a CGM won't be an option for me, as I can't afford to buy it myself.
Thank you, Melissa for your idea and sharing your experience! It is actually such a relief to know that other women with diabetes do decide to not work when they are pregnant in order to have this tight control. I will feel much more relaxed to know that if my numbers feel impossible to keep in limits at least I have this back up option and stop working in order to have a healthy pregnancy. After all 9 months is such a short time versus much higher risk for health problems for my child for a lifetime...
I received a referral to the antenatal unit and hopefully soon will have the chance to see them and discuss the situation and my options :) Thank you all for the support x
I live in Hungary and here the doctors almost order us not to work. I negotiated with my doctor and she let me work part time for the first half of the pregnancy (I teach college courses). I was working on my dissertation and some research jobs (with relatively flexible deadlines) from home for the second half of the pregnancy. That worked really well for me. I teach and I can't just check my blood sugar in the middle of class, but my classes only last 2 hours. So I just tried to make sure that things were stable before class and scheduled my classes in a way that worked.
Now I am considering whether or not to work during the second pregnancy. I know that other women do it, but it is good to hear both sides of the story.
In Hungary, I know that diabetic women can take paid medical leave during pregnancy. You might check whether that is an option in the UK as well.
I know that CGMS is a great tool, but I just wanted to let you know that I did pregnancy without one and I will do the next one as well. My endo suggests a really strict schedule for eating and testing (involving at least 13 blood sugar tests per day) and I really didn't feel that I was missing the CGMS, as we were able to keep things under control then. Of course I would take the CGMS if I could, but just wanted to let you know that it is doable without one!!
Oh and my blood sugars were not constantly under 7.5, but they were MOST of the time. I could NEVER do that before I was pregnant (and I'm struggling to do that now after the pregnancy), but you will be AMAZED at how much easier it is to stay focused on blood sugar management once you know that your little one is counting on you!!
Thank you for your answer, Kirstin! I am wondering what the health care policies here in England are regarding pregnant women with Diabetes- do they get paid medical leave or not...
I will probably find out from the antenatal unit, because all the diabetes websites (diabetes UK) don't mention anything about keeping a job whilst pregnant.
Hopefully I will be able to organize it all well like you did! Good luck with your second pregnancy :)