By Nikki, Pure Matters
After taking a glucose tolerance test around 24 weeks into my pregnancy, the results came back positive. What does that mean? In a nutshell, my placenta was blocking the insulin that my body produces to keep my blood sugar in check -- I had gestational diabetes. Because of my diagnosis, I ate extremely healthy while I was pregnant; small, low carb meals every two hours. Sugar was off limits. Wait, no ice cream?! It’s hard to avoid delicious treats when you’re pregnant, but I had to look out for the baby in my belly. (And believe me, ice cream was my first request after delivering.)
The NIH provides a very helpful report on gestational diabetes, which outlines treatment options and general health guidelines for affected women. Basically, "… your diet should be moderate in fat and protein and provide controlled levels of carbohydrates through foods that include fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates … You will also be asked to cut back on foods that contain a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries." See what I mean about cravings put on hold?
Food intake and related restrictions during pregnancy will vary from one situation to the next, but when it comes to supplements, there's a pretty clear consensus that prenatals are a good idea, and that they are essential for both mother's and baby's health. Recently, a study in Norway found that women who did not take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy had more than twice the risk of having a child with a language development issue compared to women who took these supplements. This study is what got me thinking about my own prenatal regimen.
Unfortunately, I was not taking prenatal vitamins before I found out I was pregnant, but I started taking them the minute I found out. And actually, I continue to take them, in place of a multivitamin -- even though I’m not pregnant or nursing -- mainly because I’m of childbearing age and want more children. Along with my prenatals (which contained the crucial trio of folic acid, iron and calcium, in addition to other vitamins and minerals) I took DHA for my baby’s brain development. Taking fish oil also ensured that I didn’t need to actually eat fish, which can contain mercury. (According to the American Pregnancy Association, "Mercury is a contaminant found in fish that can affect brain development and the nervous system ... no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly ….")
Molly is now almost a year old and talking up a storm! Of course, she has her own indecipherable baby-babble language, but she throws in a few mamas and dadas here and there. I’m confident that her language skills will continue to develop and she will keep hitting all her milestones on time, if not early. I definitely credit the supplements I took while pregnant and nursing for the great progress she's making.