by Maria Colon, Associate Director, Finance, Validic
Pregnancy: one of the most amazing and nerve-wracking experiences in life. First, after realizing you are expecting, happiness and bliss turns into surprise and a brain full of “hows” and “what ifs.”
In the first trimester, the body does its magic, adjusting to the hormonal changes and getting the system ready to grow an amazing human. The second trimester, the real grow and glow begins. Then, the third trimester – oh, when is this process going to end?
Let’s go back to the second trimester. All the magic of the “grow and glow” gets mixed with ultrasounds, gender reveal, planning the baby nest and the infamous gestational diabetes (GD) test – and that is when the real fun for some of us begins. It’s time to drink the sugary juice – pick your flavor wisely, because once you start drinking you must finish the bottle. Anxiety creeps in during the test and after, until you get the result.
To top it all off, the doctor reminds you that being 35 years old means you are a high-risk pregnancy. Wait a minute, you think. I have been healthy all my life, and feel just fine overall. How could I be considered “high-risk?” Getting a positive result, confirming that you have gestational diabetes, changes the way you see pregnancy for the remaining term. Now, you are not only growing a baby, but each bite you take can literally have an impact on your child’s overall health, short and long term.
Now, you are trained on how to eat, how many carbs per meal and snack, how to use the glucometer three times a day 30 minutes after each meal, log your results on a sheet provided by the doctor and send the results once a week by email. Yes, log your numbers on a sheet of paper, scan or take a picture and send it by email each week.
Well, doctors of the world, that is not the smartest way to keep track of gestational diabetes. In reality, we can all lie to ourselves, and you, and send different numbers – or just skip tracking completely.
Is this going to have an impact on your baby? Yes.
Are you lying to yourself, or to the doctor? Both.
What do I think the health systems can do better? Health systems across the world need to invest in smart tools and up-to-date technology to get those readings immediately, not once a week, and in a way that fits within the lifestyle of patients. Gestational diabetes patients – and patients managing other chronic conditions – need regular, automated monitoring and reminders. This way, my doctor could see when I was having issues, and provide real-time advice and intervention; weekly reviews don’t offer much help in terms of daily decision making.