Thursday, 23 August 2012

my problem with sugar

Chocolate fondant baked at the #cookalong evening hosted by Foodiction & Lifeology.

It all started in my first pregnancy... Around the beginning of the second trimester I noticed that when I ate anything containing sugar, including fruit, I would get a strange sensation on my tongue and my heart would go into palpitations (or something like that). My routine urine tests with my Ob/Gyn and Midwife would also show sugar, if I had eaten fairly close to the appointment. so I learnt to avoid sugary foods, and tried to follow my blood type diet in an effort to keep baby within an acceptable weight range. I was quite strict on myself. All of this worked out well as Arnan was born at 40w+4d at 3.1kg. After the birth everything returned to normal and I sort of forgot about my sugar issues.

I fell pregnant with our second bundle of joy in the beginning of this year. With Arnan I craved milkshakes, this little one demanded sweet things and chilli. I particularly craved chocolate, something I rarely eat, but we happened to have an influx of chocolate in the house, and I was not complaining! I started noticing the same "symptoms" as before towards the middle of my first trimester. Since I would only see my Midwife around 16 weeks pregnant, I contacted her with my detailed sugar history, just in case it needed attention. My Midwife recommended I see a Nutritional Therapist ASAP. So I did. I was somewhat more accurately diagnosed with a sugar imbalance - not gestational diabetes, but if left as is it could turn into something more serious. I left with a meal plan guideline, basically a Low GI diet plan, a sense of relief at having finally been "diagnosed", and much bravado. Things always seem so much easier and more straight forward when I'm sitting in front of a specialist than when I'm faced with the realities of every day life.

The biggest take out I got from my session with the Nutritional Therapist was to ensure there is enough protein included in every meal, particularly where sugars are involved. So, instead of eliminating most fruit from my diet, as I had with my first pregnancy, I can eat a portion of fruit accompanied by a protein such as plain low fat yoghurt or a handful of nuts.

Everything went well for a while. Although, I did discover that due to Arnan's routine I was not getting to the snacks in between meals I was supposed to be eating. No big deal there, I just ate my fill at breakfast and lunch. And then I went to visit & stay with my in-laws for a week while Nico was away. The meal plan went out of the window, and I conveniently forgot about it, only semi-following it upon my return home.

I was brought back to reality at my 28 week check-up with my Midwife. Not only did the test find sugar in my urine, but my fundal measurement (the straight line from pubic bone to top of uterus, which is supposed to correspond in centimetres with the number of pregnancy weeks) was 36 weeks! My Midwife was very concerned and gave me a stern reprimand about the risks, not to myself but to my baby, of receiving too much sugar. I think I turned a pale shade of white, no one had ever taken the time to explain the implications of my sugar imbalance on my baby. I was feeling so guilty. And it just so happened that Nico could not make it to this particular appointment! As soon as I got to the car I phoned Nico in tears, he thankfully had time to meet up with me close to work to discuss what had just happened. We decided we would not stress ourselves out about it until we had confirmation from our 4D scan as to how big baby really was. Easier said than done, but I think the stress helped me stick, as far as possible, to my eating plan as I waited the 2 weeks until the scan. And boy did I pray that everything would be alright with my baby!

The day of our scan finally arrived! Not only was I excited to see our baby girl again but keen to get confirmation on how big she was and whether the excess sugar had affected her in any way. It was such a relief when her measurements came through normal, she was only 4 days "bigger" than her gestational age and I just seem to have more amniotic fluid than average.

At my Midwife appointment the next day we discovered that I had lost a little weight and that my fundal measurement was only 2 weeks ahead, I had "shrunk" 5 weeks! What a miracle.

Maintaining a healthy diet is not easy, but I have tried to stick to my low GI diet and avoid all the sweet things I crave. Knowing that I am nearly there - only 6 to 8 weeks left before baby will be here - really helps. This too shall pass. And then I am going to eat some of the chocolate I've been stashing away for that day!

No comments: