How Our Pregnancy Wasn’t Just Sugar and Sunshine

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we present eight inspiring stories that will touch your heart and kindle your soul. This is story number five.

Abhishek Srivastava is a full-time entrepreneur, part-time traveller and all-time favorite human to his wife, Nita. A savvy Silicon Valley alpha geek, he travelled the world for discovery, only to settle in San Francisco in 2005. Here, he shares how his and his wife’s tumultuous pregnancy inspired a tradition of technology for their parents back in India. Abhishek has been using OurHealthMate since 2015.

Nita and I always had an active lifestyle. We hit the tennis court every morning, cycled to work everyday and apart from the odd weekend indulgence, our diet was far removed from the greasy fantasia of millennial blowouts. We were the exceptions, the breakaways, the combatants of corpulence.

It had been a day since our six-month pregnancy check-up when the phone rang. It was the doctor’s office. After confirming she had the right person on the line, the receptionist asked us to come back in, the next day. Nothing to worry about, she assured us. Just a routine follow-up appointment to discuss the result of the blood test the day before. With little else to go on, we assumed that we’d been called in for the gender reveal. So when Nita was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, we were jolted from our utopian existence.

I had never heard of gestational diabetes before. So when I heard the term, I didn’t know what to make of the situation. Is it serious? Could it impair the pregnancy? How do we cure it? It is, it could, and there’s no cure, said the doctor. The condition, however, could be managed with proper nutrition. I was appalled. How much healthier could she be? The fact that Nita had had no symptoms compounded my concern. Our doctor was empathetic. As we fought to accept our new reality, he graciously fielded a volley of questions. By the time we left the clinic, we were armed with a list of measures to institute with immediate effect. And because Nita had already been eating healthily, her insulin resistance had been organically countered to a certain degree. Still, we decided to take the condition head on and beat it down to a pulp.

Over the next few appointments, we learned that gestational diabetes is often an inherited condition. Although obesity and other environmental factors sometimes play a role, it is also likely to affect women with a family history of type 2 diabetes. What cushioned the blow was the fact that the condition would recede after Nita gave birth; it wasn’t permanent, but it was dangerous while it lasted. If left unmanaged, it could lead to a complicated delivery, or a baby with jaundice or low blood glucose.

The next three months were a tortuous maze of doctors’ appointments, daily glucose checks and menu plans that looked like they had been salvaged from a clandestine Weight Watchers meet. Nita followed a stringent high-fiber, no-sugar diet and left no stone unturned in making sure that her condition didn’t compromise the pregnancy. Her tremendous commitment paid off, when on September 23rd 2011, we became parents to a healthy baby boy we named Shiv.

Nita no longer suffers from diabetes, but she does face a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in her lifetime. She now has annual check-ups to monitor her blood glucose levels. I wouldn’t wish diabetes upon anyone, but if there’s one thing it’s taught us, it’s to savor the sweet moments life has to offer, literally and figuratively. Nita and I aren’t as high-strung about our lifestyle as we used to be. We’re just as committed to our health, but we don’t feel as guilty about sneaking away to Dairy Queen every now and then. Everything in moderation, of course.

Who wants to look back and say “I think I should have eaten that”? In the name of diabetes, I sure don’t.

Why wait until it’s too late? Be proactive and manage preventive health assessments for yourself and family members overseas. With preemptive measures, you can alter your family’s outcome. Change your fate with OurHealthMate.


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