27 Weeks: Delicious Glucose

June 7, 2012

Not!

IMG_20120605_081155

The story of taking my glucose test, which luckily is not that dramatic!

As you might recall from this post, I wasn’t all that crazy about drinking the orange drink. I actually called the lab and my doctor to see if I could drink regular juice, eat candy or a measured amount of glucose from real food, but both said no Sad smile I considered skipping the test – not because I think drinking the orange drink is going to harm me or my baby – but because the whole shebang, including needles, is just unpleasant. I have no risk factors for GDM and no symptoms. However, ultimately baby’s health is most important and I feared that despite having low risk, I could have extreme blood glucose that was doing harm and would never know. So I consented.

My test was considered non-fasting, which confused me. I called my doctors office and asked them what exactly should I eat before. I knew I wanted to set myself up for the best case scenario. They said some people go on a regular day after lunch, but they would recommend going first thing in the morning and having some protein before – such as scrambled eggs.

“What about plain greek yogurt?” I asked.

“Ehhhh….” she responded. “Eggs would be better.”

So I knew if she wasn’t wild about a high protein yogurt (which does have some natural sugars) then I should take this seriously. [Not sure what a vegan would want to eat – perhaps a handful of nuts?]

I settled for a hard boiled egg:

IMG_1708

Upon arrival, I didn’t have to wait at all before I was handed an ice cold orangy drink and placed in a waiting room with 2 other expecting mamas. The other woman in the room chugged her drink in less than a minute, but I decided to take the whole 5 minutes to hopefully not make myself faint or anything [it happens!]

The first sip wasn’t bad. Just like a really, really sweet juice. But my gosh the last sip was horrible. I nearly gagged. Perhaps the chugging woman had the right idea…

[I took this lovely self portrait while I was drinking glucose in a lab waiting room – a bit embarrassing but for the love of the blog!]

IMG_20120605_080729

Right after I finished I felt kind of drunk…..first time feeling drunk in 7 months! But luckily I didn’t feel sick or nauseous or faint. And surprisingly, I don’t think the baby liked it that much. The nurses told me he would be kicking up a storm, but I think he decided he would rather take a nap. He prefers oatmeal for breakfast ; )

I was told to then go wait in the waiting room where someone would call me “to register.” I wasn’t sure what this meant, but after 10 minutes of playing on my phone, I was called back by a friendly nurse and signed a few delivery consent forms in preparation for birth.

She then told me I had about 25 minutes left and that I could go take a walk around the swan pond if I would like.

Because nothing about the test says you can’t walk, I decided this would be an excellent way to burn off some of my glucose! That is, after all, what I would probably do if I drank too much sugar in real life.

lake

Unfortunately I thought this would be the longest hour of my life and brought a really heavy bag with my laptop, book, peanut butter, water bottle, etc. I didn’t want to leave it, so I just walked with it, but it was heavy!

IMG_20120605_091510

I only walked for about 10 minutes – and the swans were very friendly!

IMG_20120605_083838

This hill was the kicker at the end that got me out of breath.

IMG_20120605_084442

Then it was time for the dreaded needle of torture. It hurt. A lot. Two vials of blood later…I was on my way home.

IMG_20120605_090548

When I arrived back home, I decided to eat that peanut butter after all – a heaping spoonful straight from the jar. Breakfast complete.

IMG_20120605_092406

I called my doctor later in the afternoon and found out….I PASSED!!!

My blood glucose was a 64. 129 is the high end of what they’d want to see, so mine was even on the low side. That’s some hard working insulin!

On the downside, she told me my iron was on the low end of normal: 11.9 for Hgb (normal: 11-15) and 34.1 for Hct (normal: 35+).

I noticed about a month ago that my prenatal vitamins (Whole Foods brand) said in a tiny fine print: Serving size: 3 pills. TINY print because I never noticed this before. I had only been taking ONE a day the whole time! Minor freak out until I remembered food is where most nutrients come from :) Since then I’ve been taking 2 a day and hoping my diet fills in the other 30% of needs (as it should). But low iron is very common in late pregnancy, so I’m going to bump it up to 3 pills a day AND increase my red meat intake as best I can as well (I already feel like I eat a good amount of greens). The nurse said that would be her recommendations as well. I doubt I’ll have my numbers tested again, but I think those changes would be enough to pull me up to the middle of normal range. (Note: I will not be eating liver – eww!)

Over and out!

PREVIOUS 27 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

Knocked Up Fitness

To-Do List Update

The Final Third

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

{ 131 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa @bitesforbabies June 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

I have nightmares looking at that bottle of “sugar!” I actually didn’t think it tasted that bad…but I wanted to finish it ASAP. I downed it in one minute too….maybe that’s why I almost fainted?!!!! Lol!

Reply

2 Reghan June 7, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’m glad you passed! I find out tomorrow morning if I passed or not. I thought the hour went by really quickly but I would have loved to sit in my car and read my book (rather than the busy waiting room) but was told by law they weren’t allowed to let me leave the building in case I fainted :( The drink wasn’t good but it could have been worse. Kind of made my throat hurt for some reason. The things we do for these little people growing inside! :)

Reply

3 Lindsay June 7, 2012 at 8:11 am

My midwife gave me the bottle at the appointment before my glucose test appointment so I was able to take it at home and arrived about 50 minutes after taking the drink ready to have my blood drawn at the 1 hour mark. My appointment wasn’t until the afternoon so the night before and during the day I had quinoa, greens and beans for dinner and lunch and for breakfast I had veggie sausages with mushrooms and onions.

I passed – I’m not actually positive what my level was but they said it was low and that my iron levels were really good.

I take the Rainbow Light Prenatal One prenatal and you only have to take one and it has worked really well for me.

I had someone tell me after that their doctor let them have natural jelly beans instead of the gross orange drink – she lives in NY- not sure if my midwives would have allowed me to do something different- I honestly didn’t know to even ask!

Glad to hear you passed the test and didn’t have to do the 3 hour fasting one!

Reply

4 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

I would switch prenatals to something more convenient except I JUUUST bought a new bottle!

Reply

5 michelle June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I really wanted to take the Rainbow Light Prenatal One, but the ones I found out here on the West Coast have raspberry leaf as an ingredient. Since I’ve read some reports that says raspberry leaf can cause uterine contractions, and others that say it can strengthen the uterus, I decided to be super safe and not take it. So I take three Perfect Prenatals by New Chapter Organics instead, and then calcium at a different time so as not to interact with the iron, because the “Perfects” don’t have enough. Now that I’m getting Braxton-Hicks contractions I’m happy to stay away from anything that might make my uterus squeeze…until September when I want it to contract.

Reply

6 Katie Mac June 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

My hematocrit was 27 at that point which actually warrants a blood transfusion! I had no idea I was so anemic. They put me on iron pills and it increased but as a nurse I should have known better! It is scary to think I was working 12 hour shifts at 7 months pregnant on my feet with that low of blood volume. That is a lesson I learned that it is always good to get checked. Glad your levels look good and that you passed the test!

Reply

7 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

Wow! Did you feel that tired?

Reply

8 Katie Mac June 7, 2012 at 9:45 am

I guess if I was overly tired I didn’t notice md just blamed it on pregnancy nf working at a demanding job. The iron helped but was horrible with digestion!

Reply

9 Marci June 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

Now you have the exciting group B strep test ahead and then the fun begins!

Reply

10 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

Ah geez…yeah…

Reply

11 Molly @ RDexposed June 7, 2012 at 8:21 am

They let pts walk?? Interesting….
Do you generally run low ever? Those mid sleep lemonade drinks might be critical for you!

Reply

12 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

I don’t know that I’ve ever had my BS tested before, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t get any of the dizzy/faint symptoms of hypoglycemia but I do get very hungry and cranky more than a lot of people I know!

Reply

13 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

I’m glad you passed the test! I was worried about it too when I was pregnant, but isn’t it just a total non-event in retrospect? My sister had to do the three hour test and she said it was really awful, AND she had to do the 24 hour pee test because she was getting headaches at one point. There are much worse pregnancy tests, for sure! :) And I hate to break it to you – if you think a needle stick is painful, well, um… you may want to think about an epidural for labor! ;)
That’s awful about the fine print on your prenatals – I would be super upset! :( I really hope you’re taking prescription folic acid like I had to, because if you don’t get enough it can be devastating to your baby! Studies like these (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19327193) show that even with a healthy, well-rounded diet, not having a supplement of folic acid can result in low birth weight, preterm birth and horrible nural tube defects. :( I would be really angry about the poor labeling on that bottle!!!!

Reply

14 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

That’s why I don’t want an epidural!!!

I eat tons of whole grains, so I’m not worried about a folic acid deficiency (even discussed this with my dr.)

Reply

15 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 8:55 am

Wow, my doctor must be a lot more conservative in that regard than yours is! I eat a super healthy diet, tons of whole grains, etc. and when I asked my doctor about pre-natal vitamins (I usually don’t take vitamins, based on the ideas that are in Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma), he said that you don’t even want to take a chance with low folic acid, since the research behind it is so overwhelming and the effects to the fetus can be so horrible – why take the risk with your baby, when it’s just so easy to take a supplement that has no negative side effects?

Reply

16 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

I AM taking them though!! But good diet with tons of freshly milled whole wheat flour is why I’m not worried.

Reply

17 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 9:04 am

Oh, I thought you said above that you were only taking 1 (then 2) of the 3 daily vitamins…? That’s what made me think that you were not taking the daily recommended dose of folic acid.
I’m sure you’ll be fine, but it’s something that I wouldn’t want to risk, especially since it would require no extra work on my part and no side effects.

Reply

18 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

I was…but I didn’t know I wasn’t taking it. If I had known the serving was 3 a day, I would have been taking at least 2 a day the whole time

Reply

19 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

Not to beat a dead horse, but I guess I’m still confused as to why you wouldn’t just take all 3? Do you have any negative side effects to the vitamins? (For example, sometimes they would make me a little nauseous, so I started taking them at night right before bed, and it stopped bothering me). Again, why risk any chance you could hurt your baby, no matter how remote, especially if it requires literally no extra effort on your part? If you’re already taking 1 or 2, why not just take the 3?

Reply

20 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

Oh you mean now? I AM going to take all 3 now – as mentioned in the post – because clearly I’m not getting enough iron so my diet hasn’t been picking up that last 30%. I’m also going to increase my intake from food. If I weren’t eating a balanced, nutritious diet I would have been diligent about taking all 3 from the start (well the start of figuring out the serving size), but I really believe that I get 75-80% of my needs from food (based on previous nutrition diaries I kept while losing weight and during my RD program and over 100% on things like vitamin A) and I didn’t see the need to take all 3 and get 200% of most things.

Reply

21 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 9:19 am

I meant when you realized you were only taking 1 instead of the required 3 – why did you just go to 2 pills instead of the three? I’m just curious as to what your thought process was at that time, deciding to just take the two when you know you needed to take three.
For the folic acid needs alone, I would want to make sure I was getting the right dose. See the article I linked to above, even if you are getting 75-80% of your folic acid from diet, you might still have a baby with a lower birth weight, or have a preterm birth, by not taking the recommended daily supplement of folic acid. The scientific evidence is overwhelming; I wouldn’t risk it myself, even though I do eat a healthy, balanced diet that very similar to yours.

Reply

22 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

Because I eat real food.

Because 1 cup of spinach provides 50% of your daily needs – 250 mcg.
Because I eat beans/lentils, whole grain breads, fruits, seeds/nuts regularly (all nearly daily)

Real food alone could probably get me close to 400 mcg, with 200 mcg boost from vitamins to get me to the recommended 600. But add a 400 mcg from 2/3 of my supplement and I’m over my needs – by 200 mcg. I think even 1 pill a day was fine while I didn’t know better.

I gave this some thought! I wasn’t just trying to cut corners.

Same with calcium – I almost always have a dairy at breakfast, cheese at lunch, greens, almonds, etc.

23 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hey, I eat real food too! ;) As do the vast majority of most of the pregnant women out there, I imagine! Everyone wants their babies to be healthy, and most everyone follows the steps recommended for a healthy pregnancy – eating healthy, not drinking, not smoking, etc. I just know, especially in the first trimester, when I couldn’t eat the healthiest due to my nausea and vomiting, that is when the proper amount of folic acid is absolutely crucial. Calcium isn’t the same – lack of calicum won’t cause this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002547/ or this: http://hydranencephaly.com/
We can agree to disagree, but there is overwhelming scientific evidence that taking the recommended dose of supplemental folic acid on top of a healthy diet of real food DOES decrease the risk of potentially fatal fetal conditions.

24 Suze June 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I just want to throw in here (although it’s not directly related) that it is possibly to OD on certain nutrients (like Vitamin A) if you are taking prenatals + eating a lot of Vitamin A rich foods, and this can cause birth defects. Something to think about.

25 Karen June 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

I ate lots of whole grains when I was pregnant with my second child, and took my prenatals, and he still was born with a very mild form of spina bifida–basically a deep dimple above his tailbone–and they wanted an ultrasound to make sure there weren’t any interior defects. We only absorb a certain percentage of what we ingest, so that’s why supplements are so important. And women need to have a high level of folic acid before they’re pregnant, as well.

Reply

26 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

I’m sorry to hear that Karen :(

Reply

27 Kate L. June 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

What’s never made sense to me regarding fear of needles and the epidural – it’s not a small needle – I can appreciate the fear involved there. But even if it’s incredibly painful (I don’t think I even knew when they did it, didn’t feel anything…plus a little distracted with labor pains!), that ‘pain’ would only last a very brief moment. Seconds or a couple of minutes at the very most. As opposed to HOURS and hours of contractions that make you want to climb the walls, it would seem but a small price to pay. Just never understood gals who would rather have hours of terrible pain rather than a small, quick amount of pain (if any at all) involved with an epidural. It will be my 3rd time getting one come next January – I might even make that anesethieologist (sp?) cookies and kiss him on the mouth if it goes as well as it has the last three times. :)

Reply

28 KERF June 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Have you read Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth?

Reply

29 Megan June 8, 2012 at 5:44 am

I had a natural childbirth, and I didn’t have hours and hours of contractions. I had contractions for 12 plus hours (first child) but it was only really bad for a few hours at the end, which I now barely remember.

I read Ina May’s book, and it really helped me understand that how you view childbirth can have a profound effect on your delivery experience. Sure, it was painful, but Ina reiterates that you have to go with the contractions rather than fight them. I had back labor and was strapped to fetal monitors and my husband wasn’t there (baby came 6 wks early and he was away on a military TDY, ugh!), so it was not an easy experience, but feeling the baby leave my body, albeit painful, was an amazing experience I would not want to anesthetize.

Reply

30 Kat June 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

Molasses is a great way to get iron as well, and of course leafy greens like broccoli and spinach.

Reply

31 Elizabeth June 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Ditto the (organic blackstrap) molasses recommendation. I have some with tahini on toast nearly every day for a snack and I have super high iron, even tho I’m veg. You can also make tons of baked goods with it as the replacement for sugar!

Reply

32 Melissa June 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

this sounds awesome. brand/store/online site recommendation?

Reply

33 Elizabeth June 8, 2012 at 11:40 am

I buy it at Whole Foods, but they’re available online too. We get Joyva Sesame Tahini and Plantation Unsulphered Organic Blackstrap Molasses (the organic part is important, I’ve heard, because of the processing that molasses goes through). To make the weirdest but tastiest healthy snack ever, sprinkle the toast or cracker with nutritional yeast. I got the idea from this amazing cookbook, which I used throughout breastfeeding my two year old daughter (when I became veg) and throughout this pregnancy (I’m now 30 weeks). http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegetarian-Mothers-Cookbook-Breastfeeding/dp/0972469060

Vegetarian Mother’s cookbook also has tons of good baking ideas for muffins and cookies and such using blackstrap molasses as the sweetener.

Finally (can you tell I love blackstrap molasses?!), these cookies are pretty amazing too: http://www.chow.com/recipes/27849-teff-ginger-molasses-cookies. I googled the recipe to find it but I originally found it in this great cookbook: http://www.chow.com/recipes/27849-teff-ginger-molasses-cookies. Those are cookies that are ACTUALLY good for you :-)

Reply

34 Elizabeth June 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

Whoops, posted the recipe link twice. I meant this cookbook in my final link: http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Food-Seasonal-Recipes-Sustainable/dp/1402768141/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

Reply

35 Sana June 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

Women already have low iron levels! I wonder if people that eat a plant based diet get their iron levels checked before and during pregnancy?

Reply

36 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:41 am

I think everyone gets them checked, and it is harder to get your needs on a veg diet, but possible

Reply

37 Natasha June 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

Interestingly I was not a vegetarian for my first two pregnancies and was anemic for both. Almost required a transfusion with my first. With my third pregnancy, I was vegetarian and had been the year before conception and what do you know, my iron level was in the mid range of normal.

Reply

38 Kat June 7, 2012 at 9:04 am

There is a ton of iron in plants :-) especially if that’s what your diet is based on, I wouldn’t worry.

Reply

39 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

I eat a ton of greens though, so I think there’s something to be said for non-heme vs. heme iron

Reply

40 Sheena June 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

Just thought I’d pop in here with my experience: I’m a vegan and currently 36 weeks pregnant (!) and had my iron tested as per usual. My levels were on the high end of the normal range. My midwives were very impressed :) I do eat a very healthy diet, but I also think some people tend to absorb vitamins, etc, more efficiently than others. My mom, for example, eats a very similar diet as I do, but always has low iron if she’s not supplementing.

Reply

41 vegtastic June 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

I recently had blood work done and my iron came back on the high end of normal, which is not too common in women of childbearing age. I am not vegetarian (anymore), and my Dr. told me that I should cut back on the red meat. When I got home I thought about it, and I only eat red meat once or twice a month. But my husband and I go through POUNDS of dark leafy greens every week. So, yes, you can definitely get more than enough iron by eating your kale, chard, mustard and collard greens!

Reply

42 KERF June 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

If you eat pounds, then yes :)

Reply

43 Jody, RD June 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

I remember the glucose test being significantly sweet and was definitely sweeter than I was used to. However, I wouldn’t be THAT concerned that consuming 50 grams of carbohydrate in one sitting would cause any type of sugar crash, unless you suceptable to hypoglycemia. If you were to have 1/3 c. old fashioned oats, 1/3 c. skim milk and 1/2 a banana (like one of your oats recipes), that would be 52 grams of carbohydrate right there! That’s before you add in any additional nut butters, dried fruit or fresh fruit! Either way, glad you passed!

Reply

44 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

Right right, but those foods all have protein, fat, whole grains that come out more slowly. I don’t know if I’ve ever consumed straight sugar in that quantity. Based on my mouth’s reaction, probably not. Half that? Maybe yes.

Reply

45 Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker June 7, 2012 at 8:39 am

So happy you passed! I was over the range by one point, so I had to take the longer test (it was much, MUCH worse) . . . but my iron levels were surprisingly high, according to the midwife. So weird how everyone’s body is different. :) Also, I’m super jealous you got to take a walk! I had to sit there the entire time. They wouldn’t let me leave. Hahaha

Reply

46 jenny June 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

I’m pleased that you got a good result, but astounded you considered not taking it because it would be unpleasant! I had absolutely no risk factors either, and ended up needing to go on insulin injections when I was pregnant. There was no known diabetes in my family at the time, but 5 years later both my dad and uncle have been diagnosed with type 2, even though both are super fit and healthy weight. So you never can just assume you would be ok. Yes the drink is not very nice and needles are uncomfortable, but it’s only for a few minutes total!

Reply

47 KERF June 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

That’s why I ended up deciding it was wise to take it!

Reply

48 Emily June 7, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Kath! Congrats on passing! I’m not pregnant, but I am insulin resistant and that orange drink makes me super sick. I’m totally with you – I’d hitch a ride out of there on one of those swans if I could. Where’d you get that awesome bag? I’m assuming you carry both computer & camera in there. Does it have padding?

Reply

49 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

JoTotes.com. It’s a camera bag, but my camera is currently tucked away in my suitcase because camera + laptop is just too heavy. I moved the inside pads around in a really cool way so that my laptop could slide along the back and my water bottle and wallet would stay upright.

Reply

50 Jennifer June 7, 2012 at 9:11 am

I had the same problem with my prenatals at first (Quest brand). I didn’t read the fine print until I started getting cracked lips and read that in pregnancy that can mean iron deficiency. I bumped up to two a day as well and kept eating carefully. I’m vegetarian and my midwife told me to eat dried apricots every day to keep up my iron. So far, so good!

Reply

51 Jen June 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

This is bizarre, because yesterday I had an appt with the midwives and they gave me info for a glucose test later on this month that is THREE HOURS LONG! I’m kind of dreading it, especially since I’ve had a number of dizzy spells in the past few months if I haven’t eaten every few hours. Going 12+ hours without food and then 3 more is going to be a killer!

(PS Congrats on passing the test! :))

Reply

52 AmyW June 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

That’s great you went through with the test and passed! Gestational diabetes screening based solely on clinical risk factors fails to identify one-third to one half of affected patients which is why the American Diabetes Association (my employer) recommends all pregnant women are screened for GDM.

Reply

53 Alicia June 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

glad you passed :)
My iron tested low (not by much) and they put me on supplements. What I didn’t know is that iron binds to vitamin d, so if you have a prenatal that contains both iron and vit. d you’re not getting either. I had a second separate iron pill that I took (avoided dairy when I did) and tried to take it with some vit c to enhance absorption. One thing my midwife really stressed is that anemia makes you feel SO low energy so it’s very important to get it taken care of before birth because you’ll likely lose a decent amount of blood and will be exhausted anyway. She also suggested that it could contribute to PPD because being low on iron can also make you feel down. I asked if she thought I could get what I needed through diet and she was doubtful. I don’t normally like to take supplements, but I’m glad I did. I think you should really consider the whole picture of what you’re eating and think seriously about whether or not you’re really getting enough iron. I know whatever you’ll decide will be fine, but addressing your iron now could be really helpful once you’ve got a little one to take care of :)
http://www.livestrong.com/article/318264-foods-that-bind-iron/

Reply

54 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:33 am

I’m going to bring my vitamins to my doctor on Tuesday and talk to her about the best strategy

Reply

55 carrie June 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

My iron is a little lower than yours and they asked me to start taking a slow release iron supplement (have had to with all my pregnancies.)

They also said that calcium inhibits the absorption while Vitamin C aids it so I’m supposed to take my prenatals at lunch instead of bed and my iron at bed with a few sips of juice.

Just thought I’d mention it might be worth more than just supplementing with red meat. Good Luck!

Reply

56 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

I’m going to bring up the fact that I take this prenatal 3x a day – so absorption inhibition might be a factor

Reply

57 Liz June 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

Glad you got the test done with Kath and don’t have to do it again. It is definitely one of the (many) annoying but important aspects of pregnancy!
That’s frustrating about the serving size of the vitamins. If you had assumed that you were taking the full serving size with one pill but then found out you weren’t, why did you not immediately up to the full serving size of three? Just confused by the logic there.
Have fun in Seattle! it is cold and wet right here right now but hopefully weather will improve!

Reply

58 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

See my comments with Jessica :) Real food!

Reply

59 Jenn June 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I really liked your comments about the real food Kath :)

Reply

60 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles June 7, 2012 at 9:33 am

I just got my call back on Monday from my Friday test– blood glucose was good (but I didn’t have to drink the whole drink, only 5oz I think- which was A LOT- it made me gag! And I like sugar!!!) ….I also have low iron levels and need to go get some iron supplements now. I was surprised that they were low with the healthy lifestyle I try to lead. Guess the little one is just needing LOTS of good stuff! :)

Reply

61 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

Woo hoo!!

Reply

62 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

PS. Low iron in pregnancy is very common, so it’s not surprising

Reply

63 H June 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

You’ll likely have an HH (AKA: a hemoglobin & hematocrit) done again when you are admitted to deliver, so you should get to know then if the vitamins have been doing their job ;) Actually, those numbers are fairly decent for pregnancy (even though a little on the low end of normal) – I work as a medical lab scientist in a good sized hospital & we see a lot of women in Labor & Delivery who don’t usually look as ‘good’ as that!

Reply

64 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

Good to know! I will ask!

I seem to remember my nutrition in the lifecycle professor saying something about iron appearing low but not actually being low based on the blood volume increase. It’s just diluted. At least one of my levels is still in the normal range!

Reply

65 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

Just found this quote about the dilution effect (here: http://www.glowm.com/index.html?p=glowm.cml/section_view&articleid=164)
Looks like it has to be really low to have preterm labor effects

Anemia during pregnancy, as noted in this chapter, is even more likely to be labeled as normal since hemodilution takes place during the first and second trimester as plasma volume increases disproportionately to red cell mass. Frequently it is described as “physiologic anemia” which again serves to disabuse healthcare providers as well as patients and their families from the notion that anemia during gestation is abnormal. On the other hand, pregnant women with even mild anemia have increased perinatal mortality and early neonatal mortality largely associated with preterm birth and growth restriction.1 More severe cases of anemia (Hb <8 g/dL) are associated with greater risks of preterm birth and low birth weight.3

Reply

66 Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

Ugh, I took the test on my first pregnancy but decided to decline for the second. I got SO sick from drinking the drink and then had a crazy headache for four days after. The second time I knew I was low risk (no family history, no symptoms, low weight gain, good bp, etc) and didn’t want to have to go through the sick and headache while taking care of my toddler too.

Reply

67 Amy June 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

Glad you passed with flying colors! I just want to clear up a misconception about moms who DON’T pass. It isn’t always a lack of halthy lifestyle, believe me. I actually had gestational diabetes, had NO symptoms whatsoever. I am 5’4 and 117lbs both before preganacy and again now after two kids. I workout religiously and have since high school. My diet includes little to no processed foods. I actually worked out both of my entire preganancies and felt fantastic. Not only did I not pass the glucose test, dr said I failed MISERABLY. I had to test my blood three times a day and eat a very specific diet. Gained 24 lbs with my GD pregnancy and was back to not having diabetes after delivery. I was SO diligent following the diet that I didn’t even get to eat my baby shower cake which was from an amazing bakery in Napa :( BUT my diligence paid off as I never had to inject myself with insulin.
Just sharing my experience so moms-to-be know that gestational diabetes isn’t only for overweight and out of shape people. Had I forgone that test becasue I felt I was extremely low risk, I could have really harmed my sweet baby daughter.

Reply

68 Amy June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

sorry for the typos!

Reply

69 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

Another reason why I decided to test – you never know!

Reply

70 Emily June 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

Ahh so glad I read this post this morning! You made me nervous about my own prenatals, so I checked and the dosage is three pills too! I’m glad I know now, but I’m nervous my nutrition hasn’t been the greatest… :-/

Reply

71 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

I think we have to remember that women all over the world – for millions of years – have been delivering healthy babies with less than “perfect” diets. That’s not a reason to not be very mindful and healthy in pregnancy (because we do know what malnutrition can do), but I do think it’s a reason not to worry and stress about it, especially if you’ve been eating a normal amount of pretty good foods (even if not ideal!)

Reply

72 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I hate to play devil’s advocate, but “women all over the world – for millions of years” also had stillbirths, maternal death during childbirth, and children born with life-threatening birth defects and diseases because they didn’t have access to our first world medical care: “Prior to 1900…In severe times, a majority of infants would die within one year.In good times, perhaps two hundred per thousand would die. So great was the pre-modern loss of children’s lives that anthropologists claim to have found groups that do not name children until they have survived a year.” (http://www.pbs.org/fmc/timeline/dmortality.htm)
We are so unbelievably lucky to live in industrial nations where we have reliable access to health care and prenatal vitamins: “Birth defects are a global problem, but their impact is particularly severe in middle- and low income countries where more than 94 percent of the births with serious birth defects and 95 percent of the deaths of these children occur.”
(http://www.neonatology.org/pdf/MODBDExecutiveSummary.pdf)
Taking the recommended amount folic acid reduces the rate of neural tube defects by 46% (http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/39/suppl_1/i110.full). Women in third world countries, where neural tube defects result one third of all fetal deaths, would most likely love to have the ability to reduce that rate by being able to take folic acid supplements.

Reply

73 KERF June 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Jessica, you’re missing my point. I only said this is not a cause for excessive worry – NOT a reason to boycott vitamins!!

Reply

74 Lemon drop June 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Really? Hate to play devil’s advocate? Because it kinda seems to me that you like it an awful lot.

Reply

75 Emily June 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I second that Lemon drop.

Reply

76 Paula Clark June 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Jessica is a mean girl. Or I guess I should say a mean woman. I notice there are a lot of them around. They always have a point to make about how you are doing/eating/buying/living something wrong. It’s gets tiresome. We women used to encourage our sisters. Now we have to be the perfect one and tell everyone how perfect we are. Kath knows how to take care of herself and she has Doctors to tell her the rest. Give it a break, Jessica

Reply

77 Nicole June 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

I get to drink my bottle of orange on the 19th, but they sent it home with me at my last appt, so all I have to do is make sure I drink it 45 minutes before my appt. Can’t wait…

I picked up the WF vitamins last weekend because I was out of all the samples I’d been given, and I was shocked too to see that the serving size is 3! And those are not small pills!

Reply

78 Sarah June 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

Hi Kath!

So, I have a random question for you — I’m 14 weeks with #2, and literally overnight, I grew a cup/band size. I’m a different size than I was with my first, so I literally have no bras to wear! I’m now a 36Dish (C or D, depending), and was kind of hoping to find something to minimize the boob situation. Do you have any recommendations? Honestly, this is my least favorite part of pregnancy, as I have always been sensitive about that area!

Have a good trip!
Sarah

Reply

79 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

I went to Kohl’s and got a few $14.99 styles. No way was I spending $50+ on a few new bras! The Kohl’s ones have been pretty good (I ended up liking 2/3)

Reply

80 Sarah June 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

Awesome — thank you! I agree; it’s hard to justify spending money on bras when you can literally change sizes overnight! The joys of pregnancy:)

Reply

81 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

I’m not pregnant or anything but I’ve always had a hgb in the 11s and low-mid 30s for hematacrit. No matter what pills I take or how my diet is. It’s just in my genes I suppose. It prohibits me from giving blood as I think they want to see something in the 12s. I can’t say I’m 100% upset by that as I HATE the needles for getting your blood taken! I get 4 allergy shots a week without a problem, but blood taking needles freak me out! Glad you passed! :)

Reply

82 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

My family has a history of anemia, so I think it might be genetic too

Reply

83 Katie Heddleston June 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

I’m surprised they let you walk! They made me just sit. And I totally ate a normal breakfast before hand and still had results in the 70′s! My iron was low during this check too.. but nothing drastic! You’re getting closer — yay!

Reply

84 KERF June 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

They were totally chill. I was surprised too.

Reply

85 Janelle June 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

Not sure why so many people give you a hard time, but I just want to say that I appreciate your honesty and how open you are! I’ve learned a lot and respect the fact that you take things in stride.

Reply

86 Connie Petruzziello June 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

couldnt agree more. i know that by putting their lives out there, bloggers should expect people are going to judge and criticize blah blah blah, but are we really going back and forth about why you took 2 and not 3 pills? oh the horror!!

i’m really loving this blog. thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. i’m learning so much from you!

Reply

87 ashlynn June 7, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’m not saying prenatal vitamins aren’t necessary and very important, but fellow commetners, there’s no reason to scare someone who hasn’t taken the full dose now that there’s nothing she can do about it. Kath, I think it’s wise to let others reading know that you would have taken the full dose if you had known which I think you’ve explained in the comments. But, I don’t see the need for commenters to keep pushing about it. And, while I will take my full dose of prenatal vitamins and will be espcially aware of different doses thanks this post, my mother did not take any. And, all of her children were healthy. She also (omg!) declined to take the GD test when she was pregnant with my sister.

Reply

88 Averie @ Averie Cooks June 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

Congrats on passing with flying colors!

Your H & H a little on the low-ish side; well I think for pregnant ladies it’s actually pretty darn great! There are lots of non-pregnant women who have low numbers, too. I think part of it is genetic. Part diet, partly certain foods (or pills) absorbing better than others in certain people based on their bodies. You’ve been doing a great job, Kath. I know all the choices and thoughts and what-to-do’s can be overwhelming :)

Reply

89 Heidi June 7, 2012 at 11:16 am

So glad the test went well! I do think it’s really weird that they let you walk around though, for my tests they were very strict with me about no moving around because exercise brings your blood sugar down(and exercise after eating is one of the few things they recommend when you do have GD). That really makes no sense because the purpose of the test is to get an accurate reading of your blood sugars, right? So weird! Also, I thought I would mention not to worry about your iron too much. You go through a spurt from now until 30 weeks(or maybe 31, I can’t remember) where your blood volume increases, so if it’s just a little low, chances are it’s just fine but you blood volume has just been increasing in the last week or so and it’ll catch up :) That’s what my doctor told me. Mine was low around 30 weeks and 2 weeks after delivering she was amazed at how high it was and I don’t eat a lot of meat and I didn’t take my prenatals too regularly. Sorry for the long comment!

Reply

90 Diane June 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

Glad you passed. I can’t believe the prenatal vitamin serving. I would have never thought to take 3 pills. Good thing you have been eating healthy. I couldn’t hold down anything but white carbs the first trimester with my second child, so I would have definitely been lacking in something.

Reply

91 Autumn Tao June 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

Hi Kath–Not sure if anyone else mentioned it yet, but my midwife suggested Floradix, an herbal liquid supplement for iron. I’m vegan and my level is where yours is, and it’s expected to drop more as the pregnancy continues (35 weeks!).

http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item01384/Floradix-Iron–Herbs.html

Reply

92 Susan June 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I also take Floradix. (18 weeks pregnant with my third) It doesn’t cause constipation and is easy on the digestive system …. I like the fact that it’s herb/food based.

Reply

93 Elizabeth June 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Good to note the problem with constipation. Pregnancy slows down digestion and then prenatal vitamins and other iron supplements can make the problem worse. Slow Iron (slow release) helped me reduce the constipation. Just in case it becomes a problem. Never tried Floradix. Wonder if that would be even better at eliminating digestive troubles.

Reply

94 Kat June 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

I was the same way – first sip I was thinking how it’s not too bad. By the last sip I was gagging.

Reply

95 Janine June 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

You and your baby are just fine! Don’t listen to any commenters who try to scare you! Your baby has enough folic acid and nothing “devastating” will happen!!! You eat a very well rounded diet, so you are just fine! What do you think they did before “prenantals”?? Low iron is totally normal too — you can also take 325 mg of Ferrous Sulfate for that. They even say that you have to start taking folic acid before you conceive, but millions of women get pregnant without even trying and their babies are justtttt finnnee!

Reply

96 Tara June 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

Totally awesome that they let you walk! I’ve got a feeling my office will say no due to the uptake of glucose, but I may ask.

Reply

97 Angel7 June 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Now that you know that you have low iron, thinking back, do you recall feeling tired, or having any of the symptoms of low iron?

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

Reply

98 KERF June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

No, not at all. And it’s not really even low – it’s just low end of normal. I haven’t felt fatigued through my whole pregnancy except for a few days here and there or if I do too much

Reply

99 Rachel June 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Good to know about the WF prenatals. I’m taking them in preparation for conception but didn’t notice that the dosage is 3! 2 sounds like a reasonable number, though, since I feel like I have a really healthy diet overall.

Reply

100 Brie June 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Ugh, mine is the day before my birthday, in about 2 weeks. I got to pick my flavor of the drink (I went with lemon-lime) and take it home with me, and I just drink it an hour before my next appointment. Much better than having to sit there! I am pretty nervous, though, because I have a family history of diabetes.

Reply

101 Ashley @ Hudson on the Potomac June 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Congrats on passing, that’s great news! I used to have low iron, and got it to regular levels with red meat and lots of spinach! I tried to eat or drink vitamin C with the spinach too for maximum absorption. I’ sure you’ll be able to get yours up! I was happy I didn’t have to start taking iron supplements, especially because of some of the not-so-fun side effects.

Reply

102 Tamara June 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

The same thing happened to me with the vitamins. My OB had given me a bunch of samples (I switched from the super HIGH iron RX-strength ones to the more palatable gummies) which contained one in each packet. After about a month of taking one a day, I bought them from the pharmacy. It wasn’t until I had them home that I noticed I should have been taking two at a time, not just one. So that freaked me out too. At this point, I’m ready to go back to the RX-strength ones because now I can’t stomach the super sweet gummies.

Reply

103 Meredith June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

An interesting take on the vitamin debate: http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411882,00.html

Reply

104 KERF June 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for sharing that

Reply

105 Meredith June 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I was so sick during my first two pregnancies that the vitamins were simply not an option in the first trimester. I was lucky to keep down a glass of water and I would throw up my vitamin whether I took it morning, noon, or night. The doctor reassured me that the folic acid was most essential pre-conception and in the first few weeks of pregnancy and based on my diet (greens, rice, avocado, beans, and fruit, among other things, every single day), I was meeting the baby’s needs. Folic acid is added to so many of our staples in the US (almost all breads, cereals, rice, and pasta) that it would be hard NOT to meet the requirement. That said – there’s no reason that we shouldn’t all try to take our prenatal vitamins daily, but no need for the guilt trips or attacks.

Reply

106 KERF June 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I’ve heard that preconception is the crucial time too

Reply

107 Kathy W. June 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Ha, more free advice–I think the iron is more important than the extra folic acid at this point. Women’s iron levels are only lower than men’s because of periods, and there’s a lot of evidence that the range for women is set too low (see primate studies). Having an iron level at the top of the range during pregnancy is important for the baby’s brain development and for you not feeling faint (postural hypotension when you get out of bed, for example), now or during labor/delivery, especially with blood loss. So if it were me, I’d take an iron supplement that supplies 100 percent of the RDA in addition to the prenatal.

Reply

108 lauri June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I looked at WF vitamins and didn’t by them bc they were either too expensive or the serving size was obnoxious (3 pills?!)my doctor wrote me a prescription for prenatals that cost $50bucks/month! Ummmm no!! I took target brand prenatals my entire pregnancy and I’m still taking them now and love them. They actually have MORE folic acid than the ones my dr precribed and I like them better bc they aren’t in a capsule. I felt bad at first for not ‘taking what my dr prescribed’, but My labs were always normal and brantley is a healthy baby. So (in my opinion) you don’t need anything fancy or special when it comes to prenatals/multivitamins.

Reply

109 Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana June 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

My hemoglobin went down to 11.3 with this pregnancy, but my Ob didn’t think this was low enough to start an iron supplement, just try to increase dietary sources of iron like you are doing! I was so glad because my hemoglobin dropped to 9 with my first pregnancy, and I had to take iron supplements, which were not fun. I’ve been much more aware of trying to maintain my iron stores through a healthy, balanced diet this pregnancy.

Reply

110 KERF June 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

The nurse told me that she thought diet alone would be fine (and the vitamin adjustment) but I’m seeing my doc on Tues

Reply

111 emily June 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I didn’t find the orange drink that bad. Truly. People talked it up like it was liquid Satan. ;) I passed too, thank goodness. I think I had toast and a hard boiled egg beforehand.

Reply

112 meagan June 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I haven’t seen this mentioned, so sorry if it was–but my MWs always had the low iron patients take Floradix. They recommended it to me after a m/c, for blood loss reasons. It’s plant and herb based, so it’s not heme, but if you’re interested they sell it at Whole Foods. Tastes…herby-fruity…and it’s $14 for a half-liter.

Reply

113 Erin Motz June 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm

It sounds like you’re doing a great job – gotta just go with your gut which it sounds like you’re doing. Glad to hear you passed! A+, gold star, smiley face! ;)

Reply

114 Rachelle June 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm

My levels were similar to yours at 73(gluc) & 11.9(iron). My doc never said a thing (of course, here I am at 38 weeks and a 13 pound weight gain & he still says nothing), but I definitely bumped my greens & red meat intake. My friend is a PA and she said w/ preggos they don’t even worry until it is under 10! You are so lucky you don’t get the low blood sugar shakes! I am quite sensitive to it and at 73 I felt just awful and shaky & wanting to throw up. Go super insulin!!!

Reply

115 Jennifer June 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Wow…..that test has changed from when I had to take it. When I took it, I had to first have my blood drawn before I took the drink. After the drink, I had to sit in the waiting room and have my blood drawn every hour for two or three hours, I forget, but I know my blood was taken about three to four times. I would have definitely preferred a one time shot.

I’m so glad you passed!

Reply

116 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

That’s the longer version, I think

Reply

117 Angie June 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Kath, I am also taking whole foods 365 brand prenatals I just checked the label again and it said take one tablet daily with a meal. I’m just curious, want to make sure I’m doing the right thing – what brand are you taking? Thank you!

Reply

118 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Mine is the green bottle?

Reply

119 Jen June 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Just wanted to chime in on the vitamins/real food topic. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that our foods are no longer as nutrient dense as they used to be given modern argictural practices. So, even if you are eating plenty of “real food”, that food is often coming from depleated soil or was grown with fertilizers that speeded the growth process so the plant did not have as much time to accumulate minerals from the soil. I think it just highlights the importance of vitamins in moderns times that may not have applied 100 years ago. Not a criticism, just a point related to the discussion :)

Reply

120 KERF June 8, 2012 at 12:33 am

That is a good point.

Reply

121 Donna June 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Gee, and on that note, I’m going to bed! Hope I don’t dream about vitamins.

Reply

122 daphna June 8, 2012 at 4:02 am

That’s great! I didn’t think the test was too bad either. By the way, dilutional (physiological) anemia is standard-fare in pregnancy. Your plasma volume goes up a ton while your RBC count only goes up a little.

Reply

123 Kimberly June 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

Kath,
I love reading about your pregnancy. I am so happy for you that you are staying so healthy. Can’t wait to see pictures of baby kerf!

Reply

124 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

I would have taken all 3 in the first trimester if I had known about the serving size – but by 20 weeks, the neural tube is formed, so I didn’t see the point.

Again, I’m not worried about it in retrospect because of the food thing. And because i had a love affair with orange juice. And ate lots of wheat products – both whole and fortified. If I had been throwing up all trimester, I’d be more concerned at this point.

I agree with you that before pregnancy and in the first trimester, getting enough folic acid is very important!

Reply

125 KERF June 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

[My situation is very sticky and weird based on what happened so we're kind of at a moot point debating what I should have done - but I would still tell any TTC or pregnant woman to take a full dose of prenatals, esp. before pregnancy and in the first trimester)

Reply

126 Jessica June 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

As I mentioned before, that really sucks that your prenatal vitamins had the serving size in small print! It seems like a really easy mistake to make! If it were me, I might even make a complaint with the company, because it’s so important! I really hope that everything turns out fine with your little boy. :(

Reply

127 Beyonce June 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Omgaaahhhh get a grip already, Jessica. Do you realize how you come off by tracking down every comment on this post that has to do with the vitamin shenanigans, and passive aggressively & emoticonally (made that up just now, describes the overuse of emoticons) forcing your intense opinions down the woman’s throat?

The last straw that made me comment was this: “I really hope that everything turns out fine with your little boy. FROWNIE.” A not-so-subtle way of saying, “Since you don’t agree with me on this vitamin biznass and aren’t currently in the fetal position wringing your hands because you accidentally took less vitamins than the bottle recommended for a few months, I’ve decided that there’s a good chance your baby is going to be unhealthy, and I’m going to condescendingly tell you that in an insult shrouded in a well-wish!”

LAWDY, WOMAN.

Reply

128 Allison June 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

Seriously! I forgot to take my prenatal a bunch of times both pregnancies and have two healthy boys to show for it. Those vitamins are NOT the end all, be all. Important, yes, but a good diet goes a long way. Kath, you are doing great. You eat better then 99.999% of pregnant women, guaranteed.

Reply

129 Alison June 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Ha, this comment made me laugh. In a good way, because I completely agree with you. People can be so condescending/passive aggressive – give it a rest!

Reply

130 Lemon drop June 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

For realz. It’s creepers that you’re actively going around trying to make people anxious. (FYI, you’re failing).

Feeeeeeeble.

Reply

131 Kylene June 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

Couldn’t agree more…..I had a really hard time taking my vitamins throughout THREE pregnancies and was very hit or miss as to if I even took them half the time. And I have THREE very healthy children.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: