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Mia Santos: Pregnant at 40 with Gestational Diabetes

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 12, 2022

Mia Santos: Pregnant at 40 with Gestational Diabetes

A freelance HR consultant, Michelle Ann Santos – Mia to her loved ones – spends her time training and coaching leaders, helping them become the better version of themselves. She also unleashes her creativity through her online business, Stitched By Mia, wherein she crochets beautiful items like hats, purses, coasters, and bags.

An empowered entrepreneur, Mia was happy and content. She expected her days to continue as they were: productive and fulfilling. But right as she turned 40, a life-changing surprise came her way: a baby.

However, soon after learning about her pregnancy, the OB informed her that she had gestational diabetes. If Mia couldn’t control her blood sugar, the doctors worried that her condition might put her own daughter’s life at risk.

In an interview, Mia shares her journey to motherhood and her smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes.

How did you know that you were pregnant?

I suspected when my period was late. Initially, I thought it was just stress because back then, I had a lot of things on my plate: not only was I organizing team-building activities for my HR consultancy business, but I was also arranging a medical mission.

When my period was already two weeks late, I finally decided to do the home pregnancy test.

smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes

What was your reaction when the test came back positive?

At first, I was shocked, gulat talaga! I kept asking, “Totoo ba ‘to? Is it for real?” But I admit I was happy – a baby is something I had always want in my life.

Immediately, I visited the OB Gynecologist, Dra. Richelle Montevirgen-Pascua, and she confirmed my pregnancy through an ultrasound test. It was also that time when I first heard my baby’s heartbeat.   

But her blood tests revealed a significant finding: she had high blood sugar.

When Dra. Pascua noted my high blood sugar, she ordered the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

I remember how a lot of my friends warned me about the test – that I’ll have to drink this “orange juice” that would make me sick. But, fortunately, I received a cola-flavored drink and it was okay. Hindi ako nasuka.

Results from the OGTT confirmed that I did have gestational diabetes. And since it requires special care, Dra. Pascua referred me to an endocrinologist. 

Gestational diabetes is a “common tendency,” according to her endocrinologist.

Dr. James Patrick Co, my endocrinologist, explained how gestational diabetes is a common tendency among pregnant women, since the placenta makes hormones that cause sugar to build up in the blood.

Besides, I had several factors that further increased my risk: I was pregnant at 40, was overweight, and have a family history of diabetes. My mother also passed away due to diabetic complications.

Fortunately, she had no problem following her doctors’ stern recommendations.

The treatment plan to ensure smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes

Dr. Co told me he was going to be strict and aggressive about my care, especially in the first and last trimesters as the cases of death are higher during those periods. But, he also assured me that he’ll tell me everything I needed to do to have a smooth pregnancy despite my gestational diabetes. 


First, I had be strict with my diet; he set my daily caloric limit to 1,900 and advised me not to have fruits during my first trimester. He also encouraged me to have small meals every 2 to 3 hours so I could continuously metabolize the sugar. Finally, he introduced me to a nutritionist who helped me make healthy meal plans.

smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes

Blood sugar monitoring

Dr. Co gave me further instructions to monitor my blood sugar thrice a day, 2 hours after meals, and to inject insulin 3 times daily. He also allowed me to do prenatal yoga and swimming, but I found swimming a little difficult, so I stopped.

For other medications, Dra. Pascua, my OB, also gave me aspirin, but I stopped taking them when I was about to give birth. 

App assistance

Another tool that helped me was a mobile application where I recorded all the important numbers: my blood glucose levels, caloric intake, weight, and blood pressure reading. Every 5 days, I’d send a screenshot of my numbers to Dr. Co, so he could assess if I was still on track.

Were there times when you didn’t meet your target glucose goals?

There were times when my glucose spiked, especially on occasions when I ate high-carb foods, like pizza and pasta. But since I strictly monitored everything, I knew immediately when to take a step back.

I still ate sweets; just small portions here and there, so that I wouldn’t feel deprived.

Smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes

My pregnancy was safe and smooth despite having gestational diabetes. I didn’t even experience morning sickness!

I also delivered my baby girl at 39 weeks, full-term and healthy. It was a scheduled C-section, so I didn’t go through labor, there was no pain whatsoever.

smooth pregnancy despite gestational diabetes

Besides a little infection, Mia’s postpartum recovery also went by well.

I had a little infection in the C-section wound site, but it was resolved pretty quickly.

A month after giving birth to my daughter, they checked my glucose again through OGTT and found that the levels were back to normal.

Still, Dr. Co asked me to continue taking Metformin, a common medication for diabetes. Initially, he wanted me to take it thrice a day, but since my results were good, he brought it down to twice a day.

Now, I no longer monitor my blood sugar levels, but I’m still taking Metformin. He explained that it’s sort of my maintenance medication to reduce the risk of diabetes, considering that I have several risk factors.  

And while not as strict as before, I’m still following the core principles of my diet: more fruits and veggies and smaller portions of carbs.

Her daughter changed her life for the better.

Having my daughter is life-changing, in a positive way. I feel happy that she’s here. I like that she wants me beside her, to calm her when she’s upset, to play with her. It’s surreal. There are moments when I still can’t believe that I can already be technically called Mama Mia.

UGC - Mia Santos

Of course, there are times – when she’s especially makulit – that I look back on the days when I wasn’t a mother yet. But truly, she gives me a weird kind of happy feeling – one that I cannot put into words.

What advice can you give to pregnant women?

Be informed.

Be well informed about everything. Foods you should and shouldn’t eat, what’s healthy, what’s not, and the practical side of pregnancy: remember that there’s a whole life after it – one that doesn’t just involve you.

For those who are experiencing health conditions while pregnant, like gestational diabetes, keep in mind that it will pass.

Work closely with your doctor. They are not there to make things difficult for you. Like what Dr. Co told me, he’s not just fighting for me – he’s also fighting for my baby. 

Learn more about Gestational Diabetes here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 12, 2022

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