Why I can’t wait to have another baby

You live and you learn, right?

Both my pregnancies have given me big insights into my health. What we went through with Eden taught me that my gut health was screwed. There was no other real reason her gut would have been in such a state, apart from the fact I had heavy antibiotic use and a history of symptoms that pointed to compromised gut health. I’ve talked in a previous blog about how I used to get recurrent, debilitating UTIs and found after having Eden and healing my gut that they cleared.

After having Jade I felt tired and flat all the time. I’d had periods of feeling like this all the way back to my time at school. My compromised gut health was definitely something to do with it, but I was tired of feeling tired. I paid for a special hair test to have my micronutrients checked and there was a big clue as to why I was feeling so tired in the results! I was depleted in many ways and the naturopath talked me through why this would be making a big impact on my health. (There’s an image at the end of this blog from Dr. Jockers website that is a good summary of our micronutrients’ role in health [it’s big!])

There would have been many reasons why I had gotten depleted. Chronic stress depletes key nutrients and leads to micronutrient deficiencies; I had suffered my fair share of that! Bad git health means nutrients aren’t absorbed and our soils are also depleted of nutrients. Add onto that I had been breastfeeding for 2 years, which would have had an impact as well.

I decided to give doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality range of supplements a try, mainly because I could get them at a 55% discount with my wholesale account and I’d tried many supplements previously that quite clearly hadn’t worked, according to my results! (Read about what’s in doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality here and why need them). I also started their probiotics and I started using Pure Oxygen, as it can help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals and can boost our cells’ function as well. The results have been transformational for me. I feel better and more energized than I have ever been. They even supported my recovery from anxiety as well!

And now I have my new best friend, my Helo 😍, which tracks my blood pressure and my mood and will soon track my blood sugar as well. I feel like I have the trifecta of health ammunition to finally give me a pregnancy that doesn’t make me want to curl up and die! You see I have had crippling hyperemesis gravidarum in both my previous pregnancies. It was horrible and it definitely prevented me from just enjoying my growing baby inside. Moreover, when I think forward in my life I see our big family. Siblings hanging out together, friendships and diverse personalities, challenges, but also enough love to sink a battleship, or maybe in our case to keep us afloat. So I would love to finally have an uncomplicated pregnancy and enjoy the journey to meeting our last sprog, and I believe I may finally be in the perfect state of health to do it.

I believe adding Helo into my pregnancy will be a gamechanger. I’ve already written about how I see the upcoming blood sugar trend monitoring as a great way to both identify, but more importantly prevent gestational diabetes.  I also believe the peace of mind Helo provides is second to none. Blood pressure, heart rate, sleep, breath rate, mood and energy are all tracked by Helo and you can set your midwife up to remotely monitor your data, and be alerted if any of your bioparametres go out of their ranges of normal! Low blood pressure was another thing that was a drag on my previous pregnancies. I also read that balancing blood sugar can prevent morning sickness and the great thing about knowing our mood, energy levels and sleep is that you can change anything in an instant and change them. Knowledge is power and pregnancy is scary. It feels sometimes like there is all this crazy stuff going on in your body that you have no control over. Helo gives you insight and the power to control your health.

So there you have it. I am broody as £#!& for our third child (that was the sound of my husband’s heels as he legged it down the street 😉)…

I think I knew straight after Jade was born that I wasn’t “done”, but it has taken me some time to decide whether another baby is right for us. What about you? Did you know you were done after your last baby? How many children do you have? What has been your experience with pregnancies? Have you been well or have you suffered like I did? Have you had the same experience across all pregnancies or did you have one that surprised you in some way? Do you think I’m into anything with the health-morning sickness link? Would love to read your comments!

Much love as always x x

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Gestational Diabetes – Understanding Blood Sugar in Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, Eden, I was handed the diagnosis of “borderline gestational diabetes” after I did the ‘sugar test’ and was told to watch my diet.

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, Jade, right from the very outset I was told to “watch my diet”.  My midwife helpfully talked about the Glyceamic Index and proteins and reducing processed foods because these are bad to our general health and thus bad for our pregnancies.  This nutritional counselling gave me a whole different outlook on my pregnancy.  Much in contrast to the stereotype of sit back and eat all the foods that you like because your body craves it, and give up exercise because you can, my body became my temple and when it came round to the gestational diabetes test, firstly I was told I had the choice whether I wanted to take it or or not, and secondly reassured that should I get the diagnosis, it didn’t really matter because I should be eating the kind of foods that were low on the Glyceamic Index anyway because high GI foods lead to higher levels of glucose in the blood and these can be passed onto baby.

Recently I came across a wristband that is soon going to be reading sugar trends in our blood.  It already reads blood pressure, which has been incredibly helpful to me because I’ve always had quite low blood pressure and suffer for it.  I realised this would be a very useful tool in pregnancy, both for blood pressure and blood sugar and could even rule out the sugar test completely, because right from the get go of your pregnancy you would be able to see how the foods you are eating are affecting your sugar level trends.

I checked in with my beautiful Midwife, Glenis Paulette, to guest blog on Gestational Diabetes from her perspective and the nutrition that can prevent it, so you can make your own minds up as to the best way for you to manage your levels of glucose in the blood.  Ultimately, the levels of glucose in your blood are what is passed on to baby.

Read on for Glenis’ Guest Blog to understand more, it was very eye opening to me.  You can read her bio and see her contact details at the bottom of the page.  She is also a great Homeopath and Acupuncturist, who has been of great support to me and my girls up to this day!

If you’re interested in learning more about the wristband to read sugar trends in the blood (non-invasively I might add!), please contact me.  You might also be interested to read my Homebirth Story with Jade and Glenis and/or learn more about Essential Mum!  If you have any questions for me or Glenis, do not hesitate to drop them in the comments below.

Much Love x x

Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis in Pregnancy

The test for Gestational Diabetes (GD) in pregnancy is often considered routine and offered to women without counselling, explanation or consent. Many women are not even aware that they can refuse it. The diagnosis of GD is made by evaluating the level of a blood result taken from the woman after she has fasted for 8 hours and then given a sugary drink. Her blood is tested one and two hours after she has been given the drink to see how well she has been able to metabolise the sugar. If the woman fails the test she is then labelled with GD and her pregnancy is treated as high risk. The levels above which the woman is considered diabetic are arbitrarily defined by different health bodies and there is little consensus throughout the world what this level should be.

Studies show that the tests are unreliable and often give significantly different readings when repeated a week apart. Women who already have a good diet with minimal sugar in it also probably have difficulty metabolising such a sugar hit when it vastly exceeds what they are used to consuming. Also the same sugar load is given to all women irrespective of her weight, meaning it is much more of a load for a 60kg woman than one who is 85+kg.

There is also little evidence to show that this classification and the resulting treatment actually prevent the supposed risks of harm or mortality to the baby. Babies of GD mothers are at risk of being larger and at slightly increased risk for shoulder dystocia, a condition where a baby’s shoulders become stuck at birth preventing their body from being born. These babies can also suffer from low blood sugar levels after birth and be more at risk of being overweight and suffering from diabetes later in life. However, if they are medically managed by a hospital diabetes team they are more likely to be induced and subjected to the resulting cascade of interventions, more often resulting in a caesarean section. The resultant stress on the mother of having a ‘high risk’ classification also impacts negatively both on her and the baby. Obesity and excessive weight gain in pregnancy are more likely to lead to adverse effects for the mother and baby than a diagnosis of GD, although the two can go hand-in-hand.

GD is in fact a mild condition, without symptoms, that develops in the last few months of pregnancy. It is not the development of a serious disease. The level of glucose in the blood may remain higher for longer in pregnant women so that the developing fetus has an adequate and stable supply of nutrients to optimize their growth and well-being.

Managing this increased demand by the fetus can be optimised by giving the same practical advice to women diagnosed with GD as to all pregnant women.

Nutritional counselling should focus on the quality of carbohydrates they consume rather than the quantity. The most useful way to rank carbohydrates is according to their glycaemic index (GI). Pregnant women would do well to avoid or reduce those foods high on the GI as their metabolism leads to higher levels of glucose in the blood. These foods include simple sugars and honey, soft drinks, many processed breakfast cereals, white rice and white bread. Chemical sweeteners are also not good for the body. Many processed foods include excessive sugar, low quality carbohydrates and oils. A healthy diet is one containing fresh whole foods and complex carbohydrates because they are digested more slowly by the body and provide a steady source of energy and also more fibre. Examples include wholemeal breads and pasta, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and breakfast cereals based on oats, barley, nuts and seeds. Adequate oils and protein are also important.

Regular exercise is also advised as this helps the body burn up glucose and increases the effectiveness of insulin.

The best thing to prevent low blood sugars in the newborn is to ensure that they are breastfed early and regularly.

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