Sunday 17 May 2015

Pregnancy: weeks 1 - 4

OK, so we didn't even find out we were having a baby until week 4 of pregnancy, when the hormone HCG was finally at high enough levels in my body to be detected on a pregnancy test but, we'd been planning starting a family for quite a while. And while it may not be time to add safety locks and baby-proof unit edging to all our furniture just yet, there were a number of things I learned can help along the early weeks of pregnancy nicely.

Considering 2 of the 40 weeks we are pregnant aren't even really pregnancy, there wasn't much of a change in anything in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy.  But I had been honing my basal patterns significantly and trying to convince my blood sugars - through diet, exercise and lots of deliberating over insulin dosages - to run a much smoother pattern over that 4 weeks.  You know, just in case.  I basal tested  to within and inch of my life, and re-read my already dog-eared copy of Gary Scheiner's Think Like a Pancreas, now defaced with scribbled notes in the margin and corners of the most important pages folded down.  His chapter on basal testing particularly helped me get much better patterns before we eventually did 'the baby dance'.  This also helped me nudge my recently rising HbA1c from a happy 7.4% to a 6.2% in the first weeks of pregnancy.  The general guidance is people with diabetes should aim to get it below 6.5%.  That may seem impossible, but it's funny how the motivation of a baby can help...

I also started to get back out there and use gentle low-intensity exercise like a stroll to nudge blood sugars down if they started creeping out of my comfort zone. Not only did this bring me down faster, but any gentle exercise is arguably good during pregnancy - although the advice I was given was not to start trying anything too intense if you didn't already do it.  Well...if it's doctor's orders... But by walking to the shop here and there after a meal, I managed in those early days to keep BGs generally under 10mmol after meals (180 mg/dl).

I also took a pre-natal vitamin and an increased (5 milligram - prescription strength) folic acid tablet daily for several months before we tried.  Whether or not the sales pitch of helping with conception is true, I will never know.  Perhaps we were just irritatingly lucky to fall first time.  Perhaps the daily vitamin had something to do with it.  But the folic acid is vital. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of birth defects and the good thing is any extra you don't need the body kicks out - so you don't need to worry about taking 'too much'.

Finally, I also learned that I had to stop freaking out about high blood sugar levels. I spent the first week after finding out we were expecting crying like a total lunatic every time my blood sugars rose too high. This wasn't fun, or necessary. You're partner doesn't want to be looking at you like you're a crazy person having just taken on the beautiful, but HUGE, news about his growing family. The only time high blood sugar levels are dangerous is for PROLONGED, UNTREATED highs. Just do your best to bring them down as soon as possible. And stop freaking out your partner.  Says the crazy lady who writes this blog, now much wrinklier and grey-haired than she was a few short weeks ago.

Weeks 1 - 4 of pregnancy really didn't bring anything more than I was already managing, and even the fabled tell-tale low blood sugars in early pregnancy didn't creep in until after this time.  But there are still 36 to go...who knows what else is around the corner.

1 comment:

  1. In your first month pregnant your first clue: your menstrual period is late! You also may have swollen, tender breasts, deep fatigue, mild to extreme nausea any time of the day or night, food cravings and aversions.