For working professionals diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it can often feel like you have two jobs to perform, your regular job and all the daily tasks involved in diabetes management: you may need to check blood glucose levels, take insulin and other medications, adhere to your gestational diabetes diet plan, and get enough exercise.
Managing gestational diabetes at work can be challenging. But by finding tools and developing strategies that work for you, you can simplify your daily diabetes management and seamlessly incorporate it into your work routine.
Tips for Managing Gestational Diabetes at Work
Whether at home or in the office, gestational diabetes should be closely managed throughout the day. Controlling gestational diabetes is important not only for a healthy pregnancy but also for your own health and wellness. While managing gestational diabetes requires some planning, communication, and a commitment to healthy routines, these simple tips can help you develop a simple, sustainable routine for managing gestational diabetes at work.
Loop in Your Manager or HR
Communication is one of the best ways to break down any obstacles that may interfere with your ability to effectively manage your gestational diabetes while at work. If you feel comfortable enough, consider looping in your manager or HR about your gestational diabetes and telling them what you need to effectively manage your condition in the workplace. If you work for an employer with 15 or more employees, you are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations.
Common accommodations for workers with diabetes include the following:
- Breaks to check blood glucose levels, take medications, or have a snack
- A private area to test blood glucose levels and inject insulin on the job
- A place to rest while you wait for blood glucose levels to get back to normal
- The ability to keep supplies and snacks nearby your desk
- Time off for treatment, doctor visits, diabetes education, or recuperation
- Access to a larger computer monitor or other assistive devices as needed
At the end of the day, the choice to disclose your condition and/or make a formal request for accommodation is yours. However, letting them know gives them the opportunity to create an environment that allows you to manage gestational diabetes at work in a way that is suited to your unique needs. Depending on the demands of your job and your manager, you may even be able to work from home or on a hybrid schedule.
Informing someone at your workplace about your condition may also be important if you experience a high or low blood sugar event. Whether it be a trusted colleague, your manager, or HR, consider telling someone at your workplace where you keep your diabetes supplies, signs of high and low blood glucose, and how they can help.
Plan for Success
With a bit of planning, you can walk into the office each day knowing you have everything you need to manage your gestational diabetes at work.
Prepare healthy meals, snacks, and drinks
Create a healthy meal plan with your healthcare team and prepare meals in advance. This will help you eat a nutritious, balanced diet so you’re less likely to be tempted by any treats that show up in the break room. If you don’t have time to prepare your meals and snacks before heading to work, set aside time on the weekend to do so.
In addition to eating the right foods, make sure you stay hydrated. Carrying a water bottle with you and drinking water regularly—not just when you’re thirsty—can support healthy blood sugar levels.
Organize your supplies
From test strips, lancing devices, lancets, batteries, and blood glucose monitors (BGMs) to insulin, syringes, and medications, there are many supplies you may need to keep track of when managing gestational diabetes. Keeping supplies nearby gives you a visual cue to tend to your needs, and keeping them organized makes it easy to find what you need. It may also be a good idea to keep extra supplies on hand.
Create a blood glucose testing schedule
Ask your doctor when you should test your blood glucose each day. While the frequency of testing blood glucose levels can vary from person to person, your healthcare team may advise you to test several times per day, including during your work hours, to ensure you’re staying within your target range. Work with your healthcare team to develop a daily blood glucose testing schedule and work it into your daily work routine.
Make Time to Move
Moderate physical activity is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy, especially when you have gestational diabetes. Exercise makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can help control blood glucose levels.
Whether in meetings or working on a computer, many jobs involve a lot of sitting and not a whole lot of movement. If your job primarily involves sitting at a desk, find ways to work light exercise into your daily work schedule. As often as possible, take breaks to stand, stretch, or go for a short walk, even if it’s just around the building—every extra step counts! Sit-stand desks are also a great way to ensure you aren’t sitting too much throughout the day. Of course, you should always talk with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity, especially while pregnant.
Make Glucose Monitoring Simple
Regularly checking your glucose levels is one of the most important aspects of diabetes management, but difficulty finding the time and space to do so at work can interfere with your ability to test as frequently as you should.
Monitoring glucose levels and keeping track of any changes provides you and your healthcare provider with important insight into how well your treatment plan is working and whether any adjustments are needed. Checking your glucose regularly can also help you respond quickly to changes due to diet and exercise, prevent complications, and support overall physical health.
If you can’t always find time to test throughout your workday, you may consider using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a wearable device that continuously monitors glucose levels. However, if wearing a device is uncomfortable or you’re concerned about its appearance or how it would fit into your lifestyle, you may prefer an automatic blood glucose monitor (ABGM), which allows for automatic lancing and blood collection with the press of a button.
Find Balance with POGO Automatic®
The POGO Automatic Monitor makes managing gestational diabetes at work easier and more discreet than ever before. You simply load a 10-test cartridge into the monitor—there’s nothing else to keep with you at your desk. To check your blood sugar, turn the monitor on and place your finger on the test port. The POGO Automatic Monitoring System will automatically lance, collect blood, and give you accurate results quickly. When the test is complete, POGO Automatic retracts the lancet and test strip and queues up new ones for the next time you check your glucose.
POGO Automatic features Bluetooth connectivity and comes with the free Patterns® for POGO Automatic app. Once your results are automatically uploaded to the app, you can easily see trends and share data with your healthcare team through the Patterns sharing circle feature. Patterns also imports data from many popular wellness apps, helping you better understand the relationships between your blood sugar and a range of health and lifestyle variables throughout your pregnancy.
Finding tools and strategies that help you stay on track with gestational diabetes management is important for a healthy pregnancy. With POGO Automatic, you have a powerful way to care for your health, whether at home or in the office.
Robert Miller is a customer experience specialist committed to helping people navigate the world of diabetes. He focuses on finding innovative tools and strategies that make diabetes management easier to support long-term wellness.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.