The glucose tolerance test, or glucose challenge, is the test to screen for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is something you want to be noticed because it can lead to high birth weight, more intervention during birth, and a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later. For the baby, he can have difficulty regulating his own blood sugar after birth.
For the glucose tolerance test you consume a sugary beverage, usually Glucola, and have you blood sugar tested about 1 hour later.
There can be false positives. The best way to avoid inaccurate results is not to take the test on an empty stomach and to slightly increase your carbohydrate intake the day or 2 before the test. This is especially important for women who eat very clean or low carbohydrate diets. Your body is not accustomed to processing a lot of sugar and is more likely to over respond in the release of insulin.
To avoid gestational diabetes, exercise moderately each day (see your walking calendar), eat lots of vegetables, and reduce sugar in your daily diet - let your sweet be fruit and whole grains.
Calcium is necessary for baby's strong bones and yours. If you are not a milk drinker, try these substitutes. If you do drink cow's milk, choose organic, grassfed cow milk. If you are taking calcium supplements, do not take them with iron supplements or high iron foods like red meat. The calcium will reduce the body's ability to absorb the iron.
Equivalents to one cup of milk:
1 1/3 oz cheese
1 cup yogurt
½ cup canned salmon with bones
1/3 cup cottage cheese
2 ½ oz. sardines canned with bones
3 tablespoons ground sesame seeds.
Toxins stress our body. They require extra energy to encapsulate so they won’t harm us, or our bodies are required to excrete them or break them down into less harmful substances. We, at Aphrodite, are trying to lessen the load on our bodies to produce a healthy baby free of complications.
One way to reduce the stress on your body is to eat organic. Organic is expensive, however. Here is a list of foods that don’t need to be organic because they do not absorb pesticides or the skin of the fruit/vegetables protects the inside from pesticides.
Organic Only Foods
However, these foods must be organic while you are pregnant - they are often referred to as the Dirty Dozen. They are heavily treated with pesticides and absorb them. Pesticides are dangerous for mom and are linked to defects in the unborn as well as pregnancy complications. If you cannot buy organic, peeling apples, nectarines, peaches, and pears reduces your exposure.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Fat, fat, fat. The baby’s brain is rapidly developing for birth. Fat is essential for this process. The baby is almost fully formed now. It is getting bigger and developing fat stores. During this stage of pregnancy, maintain your nutrition, but decrease your carbs. Carbs easily convert to fat and can contribute to large babies and gestational diabetes.
3rd Trimester Eating Goals - Fat and Balance
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Explore the postpartum eating section
As the baby grows, the nutritional demands of the baby increase, calling for more maternal blood production anywhere from 30% to 50% more - more iron is needed to create more red blood cells. Most pregnant women are advised to take iron supplements as a precaution. Anemic women must increase their iron even more during pregnancy.
The effects of low iron:
Natural ways of getting iron are more powerful than supplements because the body can more easily absorb the iron coming naturally. Here are four ways to ensure you get the most iron from your food.
1. Cook with cast iron pans
Foods absorb iron from the pan and you ingest it - the same iron as that in our bodies. The more acidic the food, the more iron increases. So add lemon or tomatoes to what you are cooking to increase iron amounts. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 100 grams of spaghetti sauce went from an iron level of 0.6mg to 5.7mg after being cooked in a cast iron pot.
2. Eat vegetables with red meat
Vitamin C boosts the body’s absorption of iron in red meat. Vitamin C is found in dark leafy greens, cabbage, citrus, carrots, berries, bell peppers, melons, pineapple, and onions.
3. Avoid iron cancelling foods
Tannins found in tea, coffee, and cocoa interfere with iron absorption. Calcium found in calcium supplements and dairy products inhibit iron absorption. Also phytates in beans and whole grains decrease iron absorption.
4. Eat more
Dark chicken meat, red meat, liver (pate counts), canned tuna in water (no BPA in the can).
During pregnancy you will encounter many cravings. There are the stereotypical pregnancy cravings of pickles, ice cream, and spicy foods. We each will have our unique cravings which are actually signaling what our body needs. To eat for two, crack the craving code.
This craving code cracker is very useful postpartum to create a satisfying, nutrient rich diet that will help you shed baby weight.
Print out the Craving Code here.
Providing the building blocks for baby’s development is front and center now. The baby is growing at a rapid pace, your blood supply is almost doubling, her brain and nervous system as well as bones continue to form and develop. The most important need now is for you to choose foods that are tasty, satisfying, AND nutritionally powerful. Read the article: Eating for Two.
2nd Trimester Eating Goals - the Power Foods
More information read:
Eating for Two
The Dirty Dozen
What Doesn’t Need to be Organic
Hydration is more important during pregnancy than in normal life (the exception here is when you nurse - you need even more water. The water is going into amniotic fluid, increased blood volume, the baby, and ridding the body of toxins and waste.
Drinking 8-10 cups of water is the Mayo Clinic recommendation. You can best gauge if you have enough by the color of your pee. It should be pale yellow.
Your 8-10 cups can be water, decaf tea or coffee, milk, nut milks, green juices, herbal tea, flavored drinks, seltzer. Sodas do count as hydration, but the sugar, sugar substitutes, and additives in them are not good for baby or mom. Fruit juices should be taken in moderation. They contain a lot of sugar which can cause excess weight gain and insulin resistance which leads to gestational diabetes.
If water get boring, add fruits or herbs to the water or a splash of fruit juice.
Morning sickness is the result of the hormonal shift in your body. The good news is that it’s a positive pregnancy sign, the less good news is that it is part of your body’s adjustment.
Here are natural ways to manage morning sickness:
Don’t beat yourself up or try to push through. Know that this is part of pregnancy for the time and shift your schedule to give yourself extra time in the morning.
Lemon and Peppermint Essential Oil
Put a few drops on a tissue and breath the smell in when you feel nausea coming.
Sipping water throughout the day will keep you hydrated which reduces morning sickness. Try seltzer water too. The bubbles help calm the stomachs of some women.
Ginger provides nausea relief.
You can buy wrists bands to relieve motion sickness which also work for morning sickness. One brand is Seabands.
You can also apply pressure to the same acupressure point on your wrist yourself. Here is how to find it: Palms up, place your first three fingers of the opposite hand on your inner wrist. Apply pressure for 10-20 seconds with your index finger between the two tendons.
Have protein and fat when you wake up. Cheese, nuts, nut butter, unsweetened dried coconut, scrambled eggs, yogurt are all good- the protein and fat will give you sustained energy without swings in your blood sugar which can trigger nausea.
Take 25 to 50 mg twice a day. B6 helps relieve vomiting and nausea.
If nausea is keeping you from eating, please talk to your doctor or midwife. Give them a clear list of what you have been eating including quantity. Also, record frequency of vomiting.
Your main goal is to clean up any bad habits. The focus of pregnancy eating is packing in nutrition - the building blocks of your body and your babies. You actually do not need any more calories than you already consume, but those calories need to count.
1st Trimester Eating Goals
More information read:
Eating for Two
Eating for two sounds like you need to eat for two people when pregnant. It’s said as a carte blanche for pregnant women to eat anything they want. It’s not true.
It is far from the truth. In pregnancy you need ONLY 250 more calories than you normal caloric intake. Here is a few things an extra 250 calories will get you:
1 grande Iced Coffee Macchiato from Starbucks
1 chocolate chip Clif bar
2 cups of 2% milk
1 ¼ cups of plain white rice
1 McDonald’s plain hamburger
2 ½ bananas
4 oz of steak
A side of guacamole from Chipotle
(I tried to find a Dunkin Donuts donut, but nothing under 310 calories.)
Choose one of these, and you are calorically where you need to be. No gorging, no seven meals a day, no fried chicken, no dessert with every meal.
What “eating for two” really means is that we have to get all the nutrients to fuel, repair, and grow our body and the baby inside. So when you sit down to eat, ask yourself is this food nutrient rich? Is it something my grandmother recognized as food? How far from the source is it?
We want food dense in nutrients, not calories necessarily. Eating foods our grandmothers ate is a good rule of thumb in looking for real food. Food that comes directly from an animal or the earth with minimal processing is another good rule of thumb.
Meal time Checklist - follow this rubric for healthy eating. Each meal should contain:
Food grandmother knew
Foods only 1-2 steps from the source
Julia Erickson, the founder of Aphrodite Project, is a wellness authority who uses food, meditation, and movement to create extraordinary health and wellness. Julia's practice is focused on helping women thrive and heal from chronic disease. She is also mother of seven.