Gestational Diabetes - What is it?
Like other types of diabetes, gestation diabetes (GD) affects how your cells use sugar (gluclose) during pregnancy. GD causes high blood sugar that can affect your health + your baby's.
Many women do not have noticeable symptoms during pregnancy. Increased thirst and more-frequent urination are possible symptoms.
Glucose Challenge Test
Current guidelines suggest expectant mothers test between 24-28 weeks with the glucose challenge test. Typically, a sugary drink is given called "glucola" which contains 50 grams of sugar (among other things.) The mother's blood sugar is then measured 1 hour after consuming glucola. Women who sceen positive then go on to the glucose tolerance test (GTT) with this same drink given in either a concentration of 75 grams (2-hour test) or 100 grams (3-hour test)
The medical community considers this drink harmless, though it is widely acknowledged that many women cannot tolerate it due to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue,
The problem with Glucola
In an age of increasing concern about the toxic exposures our babies are getting even before birth, it is concerning that the glucola drink is full of potentially harmful ingredients.
It is important to note that at least one of the glucose test drinks, Easydex, by Aero Med contains something called BVO, or brominated vegetable oil. BVO is also found in at least 10% of all soft drinks in the US, and is included to keep the flavoring from floating to the top of the beverage. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, "Safety questions have been hanging over BVO since 1970, when the FDA removed BVA from its 'generally recognized as safe' list of ingredients." At that time, the FDA granted BVO "interim status" as a food additive which allowed its use in soft drinks. But it was and remains banned from European and Japenese soft drinks. (Like thousands of other ingredients sold in the US but banned in other countries. The US standards are incredibly low for what we put in & on our bodies) BVO is patented in the US and overseas as a flame retardant, yet it remains in the Easydex drink, consumed by presumably hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in the US. Bromine or its metabolites has the potential to "bioaccumulate" in the body and is toxic to primary hepatocytes and the endocrine system.
Other ingredients in glucola drinks that I am not comfortable consuming (pregnant or not!): Dextrose deprived from genetically modified Bt-corn (Bt-corn is genetically modified with Bt to help corn plants synthesize their own bacterial protein to kill pests. It is categorized as a pesticide and no longer a food), Natural Flavoring, Food Starch Modified, Brominated Soybean Oil, FD & C Yellow #6 (Contains benzidine, a human and animal carcinogen. Studies in rats showed possible adrenal and testicular tumors associated with an exasperated histamine response), Red #40 (Also contains benzidine. May result in attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms in children. May accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors) Sodium Hexametaphosphate (Typically used in cosmetics and oral care as a corrosion inhibitor. In acute studies, rabbits fed 10% SH had pale and swollen kidneys. In chronic studies, animals exhibited growth inhibition, increased kidney weights, bone decalcification, parathyroid, inorganic phosphaturia, and hepatic focal necrosis), BHA (A potential human carcinogen based on evidence in experimental animals. Listed in 1990 as a chemical known to the State of CA to cause cancer under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.), and Sodium Benzoate (Considered safe (GRAS) by the FDA in very small doses as a preservative. Has been long established as carcinogens in micro doses. The reason for a voluntary recall of Perrier bottled waters sold in 1989.)
I'm not here to shame anyone who has taken this drink, but I do want to offer an alternative for those looking for a better option.
There are a few alternatives to consider:
1. The Fresh Test: This is the one I chose and would recommend the most, because it was simple, very delicious, and completely accurate. The Fresh Test is healthy for mom and baby and is made of only a few natural ingredients. (Void of unnecessary additives) It adheres to extensive testing and quality control and the test works the same as the glucola test. I drank it before my appointment and they took my blood 1 hour after consumption. The best part... It is DELICIOUS!! It is a cucumber + mint lemonade that is non-GMO, gluten free and void of artificial flavors, artificial dyes, and unnecessary preservatives.
Ingredients: Non-GMO dextrose, crystalized lemon, organic peppermint leaf powder.
I brought a folder full of information to my midwife in order to present her with my alternative idea. There was no was I was going to drink the glucola drink and I was pleasantly surprised when she was not only immediately on board, but she was already familiar with The Fresh Test! (I've had to advocate for myself and baby a lot during my pregnancy to decline different things, but this was not one of them - thank goodness). I bought the packet online and had it in time for my glucose test. I highly recommend this option!!
Check out their website for products, nutrition facts, Board of Medical Advisors, and an informative FAQ.
2. Random Glucose Testing - You can work with your OBGYN or Midwife to find a plan for you to test at home with a glucomoter. This method is usually done over a period of a few days and involves eating an excellent diet and randomly testing your own blood glucose.
3. The Jelly Bean Test - This consists of eating 28 jelly beans (50g of sugar). This has been popular among midwives for decades and there are naturally colored + GMO free jelly beans to choose from. This has been tested as a reliable alternative. Below I've included a link to the study. The thing I like more about The Fresh Test compared to the jelly beans, is there are way fewer ingredients.
This is a personal decision and you are allowed to seek alternative care or get second opinions. Know your options and choose what is best for you and your baby.
In my original pregnancy post, I referred to a lot of oils and supplements I am using throughout my pregnancy. Below I've included buttons that take you to a general highlight of each of them. The content is not specific to them being used during pregnancy, but instead, just the basics of their benefits and how to use them.
My Pregnancy Journey
I'm just a few weeks shy of being in the 3rd trimester of my first pregnancy! I'm excited to share all the things that have helped make this pregnancy pretty smooth and enjoyable. As always, the things I include in this post are specific to my experience and my pregnancy. Please consult your provider with questions and concerns for you personally.
One of the biggest things to focus on BEFORE and DURING pregnancy is removing toxins from your home and body. We have worked the last 2 years at swapping out all the products in our home, so it made it easy not having to switch any of our normal habits or products. We continue using Young Living’s household and body care products (Dish soap, laundry soap, Thieves Household Cleaner, diffusers instead of candles, deodorant, face/body wash, etc).
Harmful chemicals cross through the placenta. A Canadian study found 137 chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. (Including lead, mercury, and DDT) This is definitely a good first step to focus on. so you avoid extra toxins for you and baby.
The supplements I have used during this pregnancy are no different than what I was using before. My daily supplements are Young Living's Ningxia Red, Sulfurzyme, and Super B. I also occasionally take Life 9. I used Alkalime briefly at the very beginning of my pregnancy for acid reflux, bloating, and tummy issues. Lastly, i'm using the Vitality drops and magnesium (I include the brand below) every day in my adrenal cocktail drink.
>>>1st Trimester – I used Progessence Plus Serum (Pro+) every day but stopped taking it at the start of my second, since my body was producing enough progesterone on its own at that point. I would also highly recommend taking Pro+ before pregnancy. I had been taking it for 2ish years leading up to being pregnant. It is great for balancing hormones, among other things. (Do not use if you are on birth control)
>>>Emotional Support Oils – I’ve been using lots of emotional support oils to help me balance my pregnancy hormones and emotions. They vary depending on what I am in the mood for. Usually I reach for Valor, Stress Away, Joy, or Peace & Calming. If I feel deep emotions, I inhale and apply Sara oil. It is an incredible oil, especially for those who have experienced trauma, so it's amazing at supporting the deep, strong emotions. I have also continued using my unicorn roller as a daily perfume (Equal parts Valor, Frankincense, Orange, and Stress Away). Lastly, I continue using Idaho Blue Spruce on the crown of my head every day.
>>>Oils by Topic - Here are other oils to consider using during pregnancy:
Peppermint - Nausea and head tension.
DiGize - Tummy troubles and nausea.
Northern Lights Black Spruce or Cypress - Happy breathing. (Eucalyptus is not recommended)
Citrus Fresh or Purification - To diffuse if smells bother you.
Frankincense - Skin Support
Dry Skin Serum - Dry Skin Support
>>>Sleep Support – I stopped using my RutaVaLa roll-on as it is not recommended during pregnancy. I miss using it but have continued diffusing my normal nightly oils and will occasionally use my Tranquil roll-on. Cedarwood is and probably will forever be my go-to nightly diffuser oil. Peace & Calming and Lavender are what I use when I want to switch it up. You can check out my general sleep support post for more ideas.
Essential Oils to Avoid during Pregnancy
People have different comfort levels when it comes to oils + pregnancy. First, make sure you are using good, quality oils. (Ditch the grocery store oils and find a legitimate brand. None of them are good while pregnant or even non-pregnant.) Once you start using a good quality brand, then decide what you are comfortable with taking during pregnancy and consult your provider if you have any questions or hesitations. It is safe to assume that any bottles with child proof lids are no-nos for pregnant women and children. Also, get into the habit of checking each specific oil label to see if it tells you not to take it during pregnancy.
I personally am playing it safe and have been avoiding these specific oils during pregnancy:
Cinnamon Bark, Wintergreen, Cassia, Blue Cypress, Fennel, Hyssop, Parsley, Myrtle, Myrrh, Sage, Tansy (not to be confused with Blue Tansy. Blue Tansy is fine during pregnancy and great for your stretch marks and skin), Carrot Seed, RutaVaLa, Common Sense, Tarragon, and Rue. This list doesn’t include every single oil so check oil labels before use. This also means any oil blends that contain oil singles on this list should also not be used.
Click the button below if you want more detailed information about the supplements and oils I mentioned above.
I am not using a store bought product for stretch marks, as most of them contain parabens, PEG compounds, and other toxic ingredients.
I've been using a DIY belly oil during pregnancy and postpartum to encourage elasticity, reduce dryness and tightness, and help calm and soothe skin. It may not totally prevent stretch marks but it definitely supports and nourishes the pregnant body.
Rose ointment + Jojoba oil + skin supporting essential oils. (Blue Tansy, Lavender, Copaiba, Frankincense, Gentle Baby, etc)
Just like my supplements, my diet hasn’t really changed since being pregnant (Aside from intentionally eating lots more calories). I continue to eat a low-processed, nutrient-dense food diet, lots of animal products and fruit, lots of raw carrot salads, and drink adrenal cocktails & homemade bone broth every single day. All things Will and I had been doing before I was pregnant so that didn’t really affect the way I cooked or ate. Beef liver (Frozen raw or a supplement capsule) is also one of the best things you can be eating, pregnant or not, but check with your provider to see if it can be combined with your prenatal. (Usually you need to choose one or the other). Our favorite dessert right now is a homemade mango sherbet. (Roughly 1 cup of frozen organic mango chunks, 1/2 coconut milk, and soaked chai seeds (1/2 cup water with 2 Tbs chai seeds) blended together).
>>>Crucial Four - The brand of powder magnesium and Icelandic flake salt I use.
>>>LivePristine - Where I buy liquid Electrolyte Balance magnesium. I recommend the powder brand I mentioned above, as it is way cheaper. You just need a soda stream.
>>>Perfect Supplements - The brand of capsuled beef liver and collagen I use.
>>>Apsey Farms - Raw beef liver. You can also check with your local farmer. Just make sure it is a trusted source.
>>> Earth Mama - The brand of Ginger Nausea Tea I used.
A really informative podcast covering the following topics: Choosing real foods during pregnancy, traditional pregnancy symptoms (remedies + root causes), pregnancy supplements, nourishing your postpartum body & establishing a strong milk supply, intentionally planning your postpartum season, postpartum depression + anxiety, postpartum hair loss, progesterone supplementation, morning sickness, calorie needs and pregnancy weight gain, etc.
This podcast is blowing my mind. It isn't related to the rest of this blog post in the sense of being about my physical body during pregnancy, but it is focused on the mental and emotional aspect of each person. I have been using it to prepare for motherhood in a healthy way by working through my own traumas and issues from throughout my life and to intentionally break habits and cycles from my family and behaviors. Recommended for ALL, pregnant or not. It is truly changing my life and preparing me to be a better wife, friend, mom, and family member.
I couldn't miss out on this classic book! I'm using it more as a guide to skim through for specific questions I have and topics I am interested in. Lots of great basic information throughout the entire pregnancy.
This book was actually written in the 40s (with some revisions recently) and is incredibly informative. I haven't finished it yet but am learning so much about the body, medical system during birth, and steps for having a fearless and painless birth. Loving it & highly recommend!!
Book: Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children (10th Anniversary Edition)
This is another book that I am using for specific questions and topics. It covers so many different topics related to essential oil use and natural remedies for pregnant women, mamas, children, birth, infants, etc.
I have a lot of books on my list specific to after birth and parenthood, that I'll share in my next post.
Birth & Postpartum
I was originally going to make one giant blog post with all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum and realized very quickly that I have way too much to say. Haha
I'll do another post soon on everything I have planned to prepare for the birth and for postpartum. Stay tuned!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.