Since being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I have to go to the doctor twice a week for a Non-Stress Test, or NST. Elastic belts with two sensors are placed on my belly. One sensor measures the baby’s heart rate. The other sensor measures the strength and length of contractions, if any. I am required to push a button on a hand held device every time I feel the baby move. At my last visit, let me say, he was an active little stinker. The baby’s heart rate increases when the baby moves, so my hand device got a lot of use that day. The doctor said his heartbeat ranged from 130-170 bpm, which he indicated was very good.
The primary goal of the test is to evaluate the fetal heart rate during periods of rest and activity. Healthy fetuses will respond with an increased heart rate during activity, and the heart rate will decrease during times of rest. The results show the doctor that the fetus is receiving proper amounts of oxygen and is in no fetal distress. When oxygen levels are low, the fetus may not respond within the normal range of movement and with normal accelerations in heart rate.
Women with gestational diabetes fall into a higher risk category requiring monitoring by an NST throughout their pregnancy. On the positive side, I get to sit in a recliner for 20-30 minutes and watch TV in a quiet room by myself, without feeling guilty that I need to be doing something. Indulgence! Also, because I’m Advanced Maternal Age (I never get used to hearing that), diabetic, and an IVF patient, they recommend I come in every two weeks for an ultrasound. Not that I am complaining, I would go everyday if I could to see him.
At my 33 week ultrasound, my little guy was moving his lips in a sucking motion. In a previous ultrasound, it looked as if he was sucking his thumb. We also saw him “kick” on the screen, and simultaneously, I felt it in my abdomen. The sonographer even said it looked like he was smiling. What a joy that brings to my heart, and I’m smiling back!