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.
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
More information read:
Explore the postpartum eating section
In the seventh month many, babies turn to their birth position - head down. For some babies, it will take until the ninth month. It is better for mom and baby that baby turn in the seventh or eighth month. Here are natural ways to encourage baby.
If you know your baby is not in position by week 30
The danger zone 9th month to 3 weeks postpartum
Aphrodite Project is infused with the positive. Your process of bringing this baby into the world is going to be one of ease, safety, and love. To get there, however, we must survey the land to know where the pitfalls are. This article focuses on the pitfalls.
Once you are past hearing the heartbeat, you are past the most delicate time of your pregnancy. If you keep up with the Aphrodite Project in eating, moving, meditating, and unwinding - you avoid most risk factors for complications and birth challenges.
Month 9 to 3 weeks postpartum is the danger zone because if concerns go unchecked, those concerns are likely to become life or death for mom and baby.
Remember above all, your intuition does not lie. If you feel something is off, it is!
Top concerns during this time:
Preeclampsia and eclampsia
How to avoid the danger zone:
No sugar, grains, rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, sweets
Rest A LOT - if you think you are resting too much, you are almost resting as much as you need to - PLEASE rest too much
During the end of your pregnancy do your best to do the following:
It is an EMERGENCY if:
Remember in an emergency, black women, more than any other race, are not listened to, their complaints are minimized - you must advocate strongly and have someone with you who can advocate for you. Your internal wisdom is more educated than a doctor. It knows things medical school cannot teach you. ALWAYS trust it.
Once labor begins - including prelabor do not:
Immediate medical attention
In the seventh month, begin counting your baby’s kicks. Your doctor or midwife will ask you to count your baby’ kicks sometime this month or the next. It is good to start counting daily to make you familiar with baby’s habits and personality.
Sit down in a comfortable place, put your legs up if you can. Count how many movements you feel in 30 minutes.
It helps to choose a time of day when baby is active. Place your hand on your belly. See how long it takes to feel 10 movements. If baby is sleeping, drinking water, moving around, music, or a glass of orange juice will wake him.
In his waking period, most babies will have 10 -15 movements within 15 minutes.
Yin yang is the balance between rest and activity. The balance of doing and being is what we are aiming to make our habit during the nine months of gestation so that it will be second nature when baby arrives.
Our work becomes more fluid when we have rest interspersed. Caring for our newborn will be easier when we balance it with rest. Pregnancy will fly when we allow ourselves rest and restoration time.
During your pregnancy following the Aphrodite program you will learn this balance. It will make your pregnancy easier, it will lower stress related complications, and it will allow your body to repair from the wear and tear of life and pregnancy -- and you will get things done with more ease and speed.
When you noticed you are too hurried take some time out for evaluation. Ask yourself:
I love the Ted Talk by Shonda Rhimes on play (another word for rest). I watch it frequently when I feel I need to refocus. Watch it here https://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything?language=en
Bed rest is prescribed limitations on your movement to preserve the health of the baby and mom. Occasionally, a woman is put on full bed rest with her movement completely curtailed and work stopped. Other times, it is a modified lifestyle including less activity and movement outside the house with frequent rest periods. Either way, abide by bed rest for yourself and the baby. Most often bed rest is temporary.
When in a period of activity restriction, be sure to continue healthy eating habits and hydration. Also, stretch frequently to loosen your muscles and tendons. Try to do activities you find relaxing, to recharge and fortify the body.
Bed rest is most frequently required to:
As your pregnancy progresses, taking good care of your legs will make you more comfortable and better able to sleep. Use the tips below to rest and renew your legs.
Edema is the retention of fluid in the ankles, legs, and sometimes feet and hands. It is a normal part of pregnancy; however read below for signs that the swelling indicates a medical emergency called preeclampsia. And it is always a good idea to notify your doctor or midwife if you experience swelling.
Steps to Alleviate Swelling
If you have any of the signs below, see your midwife or doctor. Have her assess you for preeclampsia. If you do not have one, go to the emergency room. This is a life or death condition. It is imperative that the healthcare provider takes you seriously. See article on preeclampsia.
Warning signs of preeclampsia:
You can have sex when you are pregnant. Your libido changes throughout your pregnancy - for most women it is highest in the second trimester. Sex will help you connect with your partner, relieve tension, and pleasure floods you with good endorphins.
Let your intuition guide you in sex. If you sense discomfort, try something different. However, do not fear that it will hurt baby - amniotic fluid and the cervix protect the baby. After an orgasm, you may feel Braxton Hicks contractions which are completely normal. If you have light spotting after sex, it is most likely from small blood vessels in the vaginal canal and cervix. The blood supply to your pelvis increases with pregnancy and the tiny capillaries can sometimes break. If bleeding seems unusual, see your caregiver.
If you are at risk of preterm labor or are on bed rest, check with your medical advisor before having vaginal or anal sex.
Constipation, headaches, pelvic pressure, leg cramps, hemorrhoids, edema, low amniotic fluid, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, nausea, and difficulty sleeping can all be helped by bathing with epsom salt and essential oils during pregnancy.
Aim for 1-2 epsom salt baths a week. Add 2 cups of epsom salt to the water, swirl the water until you create a vortex, and soak for 20 minutes. Keep the water temperature warm, but not hot - avoid temperatures above 102F.
Baths help relieve edema by pulling excess salt from the body. Benefits of Epsom salts are: reduced inflammation, constipation relief, soothing of muscle aches, and immunity support.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate - the magnesium is absorbed into the skin to: help the body release harmful toxins; regulate over 300 enzymes in the body; and positively act on the circulatory, digestive, and muscular systems.
Epsom salt is safe during and after pregnancy. It is inexpensive and can easily be found at any drug store or supermarket in the first aid section (Target, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart all sell epsom salt.)
Adding essential oils will add to the healing and relaxation from the bath. Add 10-20 drops to the bath water. When purchasing essential oils try to get wildcrafted or organic oils.
Suggested essential oils:
Lavender is always a good essential oil to use because it reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation. It also soothes the skin which can be itchy as the belly expands. It helps manage morning sickness.
Chamomile is good to soothing the skin and decreasing inflammation. Also alleviates nausea.
Lemon oil can be used to reduce edema, ease moodiness, and make you happier. It is super if you are experiencing swelling in your feet and ankles. Use 10-20 drops per bath.
Geranium helps calm the nerves and relax the body. Great for relieving headaches.
You can also add 1-2 cups of baking soda in the second and third trimester to soothe irritated and itchy skin.
Relaxin, the hormone softening your muscles and ligaments to grow with the baby, also relaxes the sphincter which separates your stomach and esophagus. When the sphincter does not fully close, digestive juices splash back into the esophagus causing heartburn and acid reflux. In addition, as the baby grows, he pushes the stomach upward making heartburn and acid reflux increase.
Ways to Alleviate Heartburn and Acid Reflux
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.
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.
Meditation is the dissolver of stress and worry. It benefits your baby by creating positive endorphins that calm the baby and flood it’s developing nervous system with happy hormones. Meditation reduces your body’s stress load. It helps you fight off colds and infections. It will also prepare you to deal with the sensations of labor. Meditation is also a powerful way to connect with your baby during pregnancy.
Meditation is a cornerstone of the Aphrodite Project. It produces many health and destressing benefits to mom and baby with very little effort and no cost. You need only 10 minutes a day.
How to meditate:
You can meditate anywhere and in any position. Begin by being aware of your breath. Do not worry about your thoughts - let them come and go as they please. Focus on your breath. Place one hand on your heart and another on your belly.
Take a moment and focus on your baby. Send love from your heart to your baby - sometimes it helps to see a white light connecting your heart to the baby.
Now with each breath, say in your mind or out loud.
“My body is strong. My baby is growing strong.”
Allow the words to sink in. Feel them strengthening you and your baby.
Continue this for five or ten minutes. When you are done think of three things you are thankful for in your life. Well done!
Rest is your focus during the first trimester. Nothing will help you at this point more than sleep. The hormone progesterone is the slow down hormone and it is in high gear now. One of its effects is that it makes you very tired so you will sleep more.
Remember when you were growing, you could easily sleep 10-12 hours. You body is now growing again. During the first trimester, the body is expanding the uterus, creating the placenta and umbilical cord, making another human being, increasing blood supply, creating specific hormones for pregnancy.
Allow yourself as much rest as possible. Use catnaps throughout the day. Eleven minutes is a perfect nap to allow your hard working body to reboot. Try to get to bed early - by 10 pm or earlier. On days when you can, sleep in as long as possible. Make a practice of scheduling appointments after 10am to allow yourself more sleep.
This is a great time to also begin a nighttime routine to help you sleep better. Here are some suggestions to maximize your sleep.
For some, morning sickness becomes worse until the 20th week and for a small number of moms it will continue throughout the pregnancy. This condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum. It is not dangerous, but you should carefully monitor your diet with your healthcare provider to make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients.
It is helpful to keep a log of what you eat, how much, and were you able to keep it down. This will give a clear picture of what you are consuming. Also, it will aid in pinpointing any sensitivities. Noting the time of your meals is helpful also.
I unfortunately experienced this in all of my pregnancies. To help yourself thrive despite it, get plenty of rest, stay well hydrated, and eat nutrient dense foods. Also, upping your self care, exercise, and spiritual practices will keep you focused and positive as you move toward your birth.
Constipation in pregnancy is caused by the slowdown of your digestive system during pregnancy. Resolving constipation will make you more comfortable and prevent hemorrhoids.
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.