Monthly Archives: April 2011

2 Hour Glucose Test

Posted by Erica on April 25, 2011
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During pregnancy, it is standard to screen women for gestational diabetes around the beginning of the third trimester. Nearly all pregnant women will experience a rise in glucose intolerance due to hormonal changes; this rise is usually minimal in the early stages of pregnancy. However, as pregnancy progresses and hormonal changes become more aggressive, expecting moms are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. [1]

But why are those pesky hormones causing the problem in the first place? Hormones produced in the placenta are the driving force behind transferring nutrients from mom to baby; these hormones also prevent mom from developing low blood sugar. This directly correlates to an increase in glucose intolerance. To combat this, the body makes more insulin. Unfortunately, sometimes the body is unable to produce enough insulin and expecting moms wind up with gestational diabetes. [1]

Testing for Gestational Diabetes

Due to the complications and risks of gestational diabetes (fetal defects, miscarriage, emergency caesareans, etc), expecting moms are tested around 24-28 weeks gestation. Some individuals in particular are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. They include individuals who are overweight, certain ethnic groups (Hispanic, black, Asian, and Native American), individuals with a family history of diabetes, and more. [1]

The week prior to the 2 hour glucose test, individuals are asked to eat as they normally would. Then, at least 8 hours prior to the screening, individuals are required to fast. When the patient arrives for the two hour glucose test, their blood is drawn for a baseline glucose level. Patients are then asked to drink 75g of a glucose solution and one hour later their blood is drawn. Their blood is drawn a second time another hour later (two hours total, hence the two hour glucose test). [2]

During this time, individuals are not permitted to eat or drink anything other than the glucose solution they are given prior to testing. Some individuals may experience nausea, fainting, and shortness of breath during testing. Should the patient vomit, the test is void and will need to be rescheduled.

Why the 2 Hour Glucose Test?

This screening is relatively new, but has positive implications over its predecessor. The original method for gestational diabetes screening only tested a patient’s blood once after ingesting the glucose solution. If blood sugar levels were higher than normal, then the patient’s blood would be drawn every hour for three hours. However, if the first draw came back in normal ranges, a patient could go undiagnosed.

Furthermore, the range for normal glucose levels during pregnancy has shrunk. One study found “Blood sugar levels that were once considered in the normal range are now seen as causing a sharp increase in the occurrence of overweight babies with high insulin levels, early deliveries, cesarean section deliveries and potentially life-threatening preeclampsia.” [3] The two hour glucose test can catch cases of mild gestational diabetes, which allows pregnant women to make the necessary changes to their diet and life style as well as monitor their blood sugar levels.

Sources

  1. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/gestational_diabetes
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003466.htm
  3. http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/news/2010/2010J-March/Gestational_Diabetes.html

Pregnant Yoga and Prenatal Pilates in Chicago

Posted by Erica on April 15, 2011
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Staying active during pregnancy has a number of benefits for both mom and baby. Exercise during pregnancy can help fight fatigue, improve your sleep, and potentially make labor a bit easier. It also helps out your soon-to-be born baby; infants born to moms who exercised during pregnancy often come in at healthier weights and are less stressed by labor. [1]

However, not all exercise is created equal when it comes to pregnancy. High risk exercise that carries a likelihood of falling such as horse back riding as well as contact sports like softball, volleyball, etc should be avoided [1]. Thankfully, there are a number of options available tailored specifically to expecting moms including prenatal yoga and prenatal Pilates.

Pregnant Yoga

Pregnant women can expect to reap a number of benefits from a prenatal yoga class. Some of the best immediate benefits relieve common symptoms associated with early pregnancy: poor sleep quality, stress, back pain, nausea, and more. Plus, yoga classes for pregnant women have the added benefit of not requiring previous experience [2].

While many doctors do not suggest starting new workout regimens that are vastly different from your standard routine, pregnant yoga classes are geared specifically toward expecting moms’ needs. Just bear in mind prenatal yoga and regular yoga are very different from each other. Pregnant yoga does not involve any exercises or stretches that require you to be on your back or belly. Even so, be sure to consult with your physician to rule out any potential problems or risks.

Pregnant Yoga Classes

Now that you know the benefits of of taking a prenatal yoga class, you may be wondering what to expect from a prenatal yoga class. First and foremost, expect a focus on breathing. This can help you manage the shortness of breath that is typical during pregnancy as well as contractions during labor.

There will also be some stretching involved to gently move different parts of your body. This allows you put your muscles through their full range of motion releasing tension without injuring yourself. There will also be some posture work to improve strength and flexibility. Posture work has the added bonus of improving balance, which you will need more and more of as the months progress. Lastly, there will be a cool down period to help your muscles relax. [2]

Prenatal Pilates

Like yoga, prenatal Pilates carries a number of benefits. However, the largest difference between the two is that Pilates focuses much more on core strength. Having a toned pelvic core and abdominal muscles can provide more support and comfort during pregnancy. Prenatal Pilates is also easy to modify as your body and range of motion changes through pregnancy.

As with any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor first. If you’ve never done Pilates before, be sure to take a prenatal Pilates class instead of trying to modify a regular class. Also, listen to your body as you exercise: take breaks when needed, avoid overheating, and drink plenty of water.

Sources

  1. http://www.webmd.com/baby/exercise-during-pregnancy
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/art-20047193