Blood Sugar in Pregnancy & Fertility
🤰🏾🍭Pregnancy, fertility and your blood sugar.
Contrary to popular belief, did you know that your blood sugar naturally runs LOWER in pregnancy than outside of pregnancy? Because this is a normal physiological process, when blood sugar levels drop too low it can be a major trigger of pregnancy related nausea. Keeping your blood sugar stable with regular balanced meals or snacks is one of my best tips! Cue all the health fats, proteins and slow-digesting fibrous carbohydrates.
On the flip side, when blood sugar levels start to be chronically and excessively high, this can be teratogenic. Getting your blood sugar regulated before pregnancy can dramatically help with the physiological changes to your glucose levels when you do get pregnant. The islet cells of your pancreas naturally pour out more insulin when you’re pregnant for two reasons:
1️⃣ It enables you/your baby to grow appropriately. Insulin is an ANABOLIC (growth hormone).
2️⃣ To keep your blood sugar lower thus, avoiding pregnancy related complications.
You are much more insulin sensitive during pregnancy to enable adequate growth and shunting of nutrients to your baby. This is why gestational diabetes (chronically high blood sugar) is problematic.
The kicker to all of this is that when a pregnant person screens negative for gestational diabetes, it sometimes gives them a false sense of security. What you eat, when you eat, how you pair your meals all makes a difference to anyone who is pregnant!
There are also false positives and false negatives that can occur with the gestational diabetes glucose tolerance test. For example, if your diet is consistency low in glucose then consuming 50 grams of sugar in one sitting might spike your blood sugar too high, but if your body is accustomed to managing 50 grams of glucose in one sitting then you might pass the test with no issues. The complications of high blood sugar levels in pregnancy can impact the long-term health of your baby, their likelihood of diabetes or blood sugar issues later in life and it can also increase the risks for labor related complications like hypoglycaemia in your baby after delivery.
I hammer these points home with my pregnant patients or those trying to conceive and I always screen for glucose intolerance before they get pregnant or at least in the first trimester. If we can mitigate and manage your blood sugar earlier on, this will be tremendously helpful as you progress throughout your pregnancy.
If you're in the preconception stage of your life and have irregular periods or physical symptoms like acne, hirsutism (male pattern hair growth) or trouble maintaining your body composition, this *might* be a sign of blood sugar instability. Insulin can negatively impact ovulation which can make getting pregnant a challenge. If you do get pregnant without managing your blood sugar and subsequent insulin levels, it can put you at risk for some of the complications listed above. Preconception care is pivotal in carrying a healthy pregnancy to term.
Talk to your healthcare provider about all the tips & tricks to keep your blood glucose levels healthy in pregnancy! We have so much info to share 🤓👍
Getting pregnant is one step but having a healthy pregnancy is another.