Tag Archive | low blood sugar

Building a Strong Foundation for Your Pregnancy

Contemplating pregnancy?  Nutritional and optimal health should be priority number one!  Women contemplating pregnancy must keep in mind that healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle behaviors should be established before pregnancy to make sure proper nutrient levels for early embryo development and growth.

Eating a balanced diet that includes the proper amount servings of protein, grains, fruit, and vegetables is key. Protein is essential to the very foundation of your baby’s growth. Eating enough protein ensures that your little one, from the very beginning, is getting adequate food stores to support cell growth and blood production.  Regular exercise should also be incorporated in your daily routine to prepare your body for the demands of pregnancy. Habits such as drinking or smoking must be avoided to allow for optimal health and development of the child during pregnancy and after birth.  Good habits should  include taking a daily multivitamin or a daily prenatal vitamin.  Even if you are consuming healthy foods daily, you can miss out on key nutrients.  A daily prenatal vitamin — ideally starting three months before conception — can help fill any gaps.  A quality, fast absorbing prenatal vitamin is necessary for all the basic micronutrients needed during pregnancy.eat-well-teaser

Through the course of pregnancy there is an increased need for nutrients and calories to make sure proper fetal growth. The increased need for vitamins and minerals such as folate, calcium and iron is necessary to prevent birth defects, ensure proper bone formation/retention, and to reduce the risks of preeclampsia or anemia. Folic acid intake increases to a daily amount of 800 mcg, calcium to 1200 mg, and iron to 30 mg. Your Vitamin D levels should be checked with your initial prenatal labs to be sure you levels are not insufficient or deficient.  Fetal needs for vitamin D increase during the latter half of pregnancy, when bone growth and ossification are most prominent. Vitamin D travels to the fetus by passive transfer, and the fetus is entirely dependent on maternal stores. Your body needs vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus, which help build your baby’s bones and teeth. A vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities. It may also have an impact on birth weight.  Therefore, maternal status is a direct reflection of fetal nutritional status.

Researchers believe that a vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can affect bone development and immune function from birth through adulthood.

Blog by Shelia Kirkbride

Tips for Morning Sickness

by Angel J. Miller, MSN, CNM

Nausea, with or without vomiting, is known as “morning sickness” but may occur any time of the day or night. Although we do not know exactly why women experience morning sickness, some thoughts are:

• hormonal changes during pregnancy
• low blood sugar
• gastric overload
• slowed movement of the intestines
• enlarged uterus
• emotional factors

Take heart! In most cases morning sickness goes away by the 14th week of pregnancy.

Try the following comfort measures to ease the symptoms:

 Eat small, frequent meals (5-6 a day or on the average of every 2 hours)
• Avoid foods that do not have an appealing smell or taste to you at the time. Eat whatever sounds good. Let someone else do the cooking!
• Avoid strong or offensive odors, spicy, fried or greasy foods
• Restrict fat intake

 Dry crackers, cereal or bread—every time you are up to pee at night and first thing in the morning.
• On bad days, have crackers at the bedside even before getting/sitting up

 Drink or sip ice cold beverages. Some women do better just sucking on ice, and some do better when they add a splash of lemon juice to their cold water.
• Do not drink fluids with meals, do so after
• Do not drink large amounts of fluids at one time; sip on small amounts frequently between meals

 Eat a protein snack just before going to bed, such as cheese & crackers, or peanut butter & toast.

Stop your vitamins and iron supplements (temporarily) if you think they are adding to your morning sickness problem, or try taking the vitamin at bedtime with a snack.

Take a vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) tablet-30-50mg, 3 to 4 times a day-every day initially, then 1-2 times per day until problem has subsided
• Ovaltine is enriched with vitamin B6
• Another suggestion is to take Unisom (doxylamine) 1 tablet
(25 mg) at bedtime-with the vitamin B6. In the morning take ½ a tablet (with the B6). At 2 pm, ½ tablet with vitamin B6. Ask your pharmacist to help you find this medication. It is available over-the-counter and some brands are less expensive that others. In order for this to help, you need to take it regularly not just when you feel sick.

• Or you can take Vitamin B6, 100mg, po, three times a day with Magnesium 500mg, po, twice a day

Sea-Bands (seasickness prevention wrist bands) which are available at most drug stores help many women. Some women swear by them, and others do not find them helpful

• Take ginger. You can find this spice in the health food or vitamin stores. Get the 250 mg capsules. Take one capsule 4 times each day, or try nibbling on ginger snap cookies, sip on ginger tea
• Papaya or papaya tablets, as directed on the bottle
• Suck on fireballs or lemon balls; chewing cinnamon gum
• Alfalfa tablets—2 at bedtime, 2 late in day
• Basil, chamomile, spearmint, or peppermint tea


If these suggestions do not work ask your health care provider about prescription medications that are available. They can make you sleepy; therefore it is wise to try the other remedies first.

**If you ever find that you are among the very few who are unable to keep anything down for 48 hours (even liquids) give us a call. In these extreme cases we recommend that you come into the hospital for IV fluid therapy.

Overweight and Pregnant

Women want to be healthy, and are especially concerned about their health when trying to conceive or when already pregnant. What can an individual do if she is starting out her pregnancy overweight? A pregnant woman’s overall health and well-being has a direct impact on her developing baby. It becomes a challenge when a woman starts out her pregnancy carrying more weight than is healthy for her, let alone the impact placed upon her baby.

What is too much weight?
A healthy weight has a wide definition range and depends on the individual’s physical activity, body type and overall body frame. But, there is a point where that extra weight begins to have a serious impact on not only your health, but on your baby’s health and well-being as well.
A common tool used in the medical industry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is an objective scientific measure that uses your weight and height. You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. (BMI = Kg/ (m) 2).

One variable the BMI fails to consider is lean body mass. It is possible for a healthy, muscular individual with very low body fat to be classified obese using the BMI formula. For example, it you are a trained athlete, your weight based on your measured percent body fat would be a better indicator of what you should weigh.

If your BMI is below 20:
This indicates a lean BMI, which means you have a low amount of body fat. If you are an athlete, this can be desirable. If you are not an athlete, a lean BMI can indicate that your weight may be too low which may lower your immunity. If your BMI and body weight are low, you should consider gaining weight through good diet and exercise habits, to increase your muscle mass.

If your BMI is between 20 and 22:
This indicates the ideal, healthy amount of body fat, which is associated with living longest, and the lowest incidence of serious illness. Coincidentally, it seems this ratio is what many individuals perceive to be the most aesthetically attractive.

If your BMI is between 22 and 25:
This is still considered an acceptable range, and is associated with good health.

If your BMI is between 25 and 30:
You are considered “Hefty” and should find ways to lower your weight, through diet and exercise. You are at increased risk for a variety of illnesses at your present weight. You should lose weight by changing your diet and exercising more.

If your BMI is over 30:
This indicates an unhealthy condition, your excess weight is putting you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease and some cancers. You should lose weight by changing your diet and exercising more.

A BMI of 40 or more is very hard for anyone to live with. It can be even more difficult if you become pregnant when carrying that much weight.

Risks for Your Baby
If you start a pregnancy carrying a lot of extra weight, there is an increased risk that you will develop diabetes and blood pressure problems. Diabetes may make your baby grow larger, which makes it more difficult to have a normal birth. It may also make it more likely that your child will develop diabetes later in life. High blood pressure during pregnancy can increase the risk that your baby will be born too early and can have adverse affects on the placenta’s function.

Weight gain when Overweight
If you have a BMI of more than 40, you can go through your entire pregnancy and gain very little, if any weight without any impact on your developing baby. If your BMI is less than 40 but more than 30, try to gain no more than 15 pounds. New studies have shown that women with a BMI above 30 are healthier and have healthier babes if they limit their weight gain during pregnancy. Limiting weight gain during pregnancy is not easy. It will take a lot of attention and work on your part. It also helps to have a good coach, support system or even a nutritionist. You need strong support!

It is recommended that you start exercising during pregnancy if you have not exercised, it IS safe and very beneficial for you and your baby. For example, It is perfectly safe for you to walk 30 to 60 minutes every day. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Open your front door and walk away from your house for 15 minutes as fast as you can. If you can sing while you walk, you are not walking fast enough. Swimming is also an excellent cardio work out!

Eating Healthy in Pregnancy
You can be very healthy throughout your pregnancy without eating any extra food. The most important thing is that your food choices are healthy and your diet meets all of your nutrition needs.

Some Tips for Making This Work:
_ Ask your health care provider if you can be seen more frequently during your pregnancy. At each visit, you will be weighed and will be able to talk with your provider about diet, exercise, and any other challenges you are facing. It is also good to get a pat on the back and encouragement for all the work you are doing!
_ Keep a daily log of all the food you eat and the exercise you have done. It is a great way to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need. Be sure to include all of the fluids you drink too.
_ Ask a friend to walk or exercise with you. Support is key.
_ Everyday, take a few minutes and focus on your baby. You are creating a healthy baby. You can do this!

Every Day, Make Sure That You Eat:
_ 6 servings of whole grain foods like bread or pasta. By reading the label you will know that you are really getting ‘‘whole’’ grain and not just brown-colored bread or pasta (1 slice of bread or half a cup of cooked pasta is a serving).
_ 3 servings of fruit: Fresh, raw fruit is best (1 small apple or half a cup of chopped or cooked fruit is a serving).
_ 5 or more servings of vegetables: Fresh, raw vegetables are best (1 medium-sized carrot or half a cup of chopped or cooked vegetables is a serving). Avoid butter, margarine, and fatty salad dressing. If you would like a topping on your vegetables, use nonfat salad dressing or nonfat yogurt.
_ 3 servings of protein- OR iron-rich foods, like lean meat, fish, eggs, or nuts (a piece of meat or fish the size of a pack of cards is a serving).
_ 1 serving of vitamin C–rich food each day—like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, sweet peppers, mustard greens, or tomatoes (1 small orange is a serving).
_ 3 servings of calcium-rich food—like nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, or mustard greens or chard (1 cup of milk or yogurt is a serving).
_ 6 to 8 large glasses of water. If you do not like the taste of water, add a squirt of lemon juice or a splash of your favorite fruit juice to the glass of water. You do not need to drink anything other than water or nonfat milk when you are pregnant.

You can be very healthy throughout your pregnancy by making healthy food choices without consuming extra calories. The most important thing is to maintain a healthy pregnancy for your baby and your overall health.

Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health _ http://www.jmwh.org 153
_ 2009 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives 1526-9523/09/$36.00 _ doi:10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.12.013
Issued by Elsevier Inc

Limiting Weight Gain during Pregnancy


How much weight should I gain?
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a healthy, balanced diet is a good sign that your baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs and is growing at a healthy rate.

Weight gain should be slow and gradual. In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first three months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of your pregnancy, unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.

Your health care provider will tell you how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. A woman of average weight before pregnancy can expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. You may need to gain more or less weight, depending on what your health care provider recommends.

It is not necessary to “eat for two” during pregnancy. It’s true that you need extra calories from nutrient-rich foods to help your baby grow, but you generally need to consume only 200 to 300 more calories than you did before you became pregnant to meet the needs of your growing baby.

Follow the guidelines below if you are gaining weight too quickly during pregnancy.

What if I have gained too much weight?
If you have gained more weight than recommended during the beginning of your pregnancy, DO NOT try to lose weight. It is never safe to lose weight during pregnancy — both you and your baby need the proper nutrients in order to be healthy.

Be sure to eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you and your baby need. Follow the guidelines and serving recommendations on The Food Guide Pyramid to avoid further excess weight gain. Think about the foods you eat and avoid those foods that will not give you and your baby the nutrition you both need.

Keep in mind that you will lose some weight during the first week your baby is born. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you lose the remaining weight by following a balanced diet and exercising.

If you are gaining weight too fast during pregnancy…

When eating out at a fast food restaurant, choose lower fat items such as broiled chicken breast sandwich with tomato and lettuce (no sauce or mayonnaise), side salad with low-fat dressing, plain bagels or a plain baked potato. Avoid fried foods such as french fries, mozzarella sticks or breaded chicken patties.Avoid whole milk products. You need at least 4 servings of milk products every day. However, using skim, 1 or 2 percent milk will greatly reduce the amount of calories and fat you eat. Also choose low-fat or fat-free cheese or yogurt.Limit sweet or sugary drinks. Sweetened drinks such as pop, fruit punch, fruit drinks, iced tea, lemonade or powdered drink mixes provide many calories with little nutrients. Choose water, club soda, or mineral water to avoid extra calories.

Do not add salt to foods when cooking. Salt causes your body to retain water.

Limit sweets and high calorie snacks. Cookies, candies, donuts, cakes, syrup, honey and potato chips provide many calories with little nutrition. Try not to eat these types of foods every day. Instead, try fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, angel food cake with strawberries, or pretzels as lower calorie snack and dessert choices.Use fats in moderation. Fats include cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, sauces, lard, sour cream and cream cheese. Try the lower fat substitutes that are available for these foods.Prepare meals using low-fat cooking methods. Frying foods in oil or butter will increase the calories and fat of that meal. Baking, broiling or boiling are healthier, lower fat methods of cooking.

Exercise. Moderate exercise, as recommended by your health care provider, can help burn excess calories. Walking or swimming is generally safe, effective exercises for pregnant women. Be sure to talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.