For Catherine Wurzel, a registered nurse at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center, the diagnosis of gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy was unnerving.
As a nurse, Catherine understood the warning signs of diabetes. However, she had not seen them and her A1C had not been indicative of a diabetes diagnosis. However, once she began seeing her test results, it quickly led her to understand what was to come.
“I am a big numbers person, so I knew what was happening as it was happening,” she says.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2 percent and 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes every year – a number that is thought to be much higher in other parts of the world.
At first, Catherine felt overwhelmed by the diagnosis. Then, she made the decision to control her condition by focusing on maintaining a better diet and becoming more active. This turned out to be a great thing — she has already lost 16 pounds and is feeling much healthier.
As a part of her course of treatment, Catherine was referred to the gestational diabetes education program offered by our ministry. Through the program, she was able to meet with a diabetic educator and a dietitian, both of which allowed her to have a better understanding of her condition as well as how to live with it.
“I learned a lot of things, even as a nurse I did not have all of the knowledge about gestational diabetes. They explained strategies like carb counting as well as other diet monitoring tips that really helped me lose that weight,” Catherine shares.
She adds that “meeting with the diabetes educators made me feel like a normal human being again. Early on, I felt like I was the only one going through it, but they let me know that I was truly not alone and that they would be there for me every step of the way.”
Catherine offers these words of advice to anyone who is currently managing gestational diabetes.
“Education is a huge benefit. We may think we know everything, but we do not. Even as a nurse, having the opportunity to see and hear the expertise of those in the diabetes education program was an eye-opening experience.”
Learn more about the diabetes management and care services we offer at Mercy Health.