Herbs for common pregnancy symptoms: Gestational diabetes
"Being poked, prodded, weighed, measured, and evaluated is part of being pregnant in the 21st century. Each woman and each pregnancy is different, so keep that in mind when you're being told about all those tests that are available, that may or may not have conclusive results. (Also remember they are not free - meaning, they are making a profit.) One test you should take though, is the urinalysis. What they are looking for is sugar in your urine, which can indicate gestational diabetes. This condition usually has no symptoms, thus the peeing-on-a-stick, and the glucose-screening test between the 24th and 28th weeks is a must. It effects between 2 - 10 % of expectant mothers, making it fairly common.
What is it?
Simplified, diabetes means there is too much sugar in your blood. Your digestive systems breaks food down into glucose, which needs insulin to help your cells use it as fuel (energy). Hormonal changes can make your cells less responsive to insulin, leaving too much glucose in your blood. This causes complications in your pregnancy, ranging from increased risk of miscarriage to birth defects, and affects baby size. A large baby can lead to labor and delivery problems, such as macrosomia (baby too large to enter birth canal), large episiotomy for you (which can cause life-long incontinence), and require a cesarean delivery, among other things. Further, you increase your child's risk of obesity.
Conventional medicine has a list of criteria that increases your risk, and a list that puts you on the low-risk side. The truth is that many women who develop gestational diabetes have no known risk factors. As with most disease, deficiency of essential nutrients is a likely cause, as well as over-consumption of non-nutritious items.
What can you do?
Correct your diet. Exercise daily, drink plenty of water, rest as much as you can, including a daily nap. Take nourishing herbs, vitamins, and minerals to restore and maintain balance. Your body is an amazing machine that wants to be in balance - give it the tools it needs and it will likely correct imbalance and restore homeostasis.
If you have too much glucose in your urine, remember that does not automatically mean you have gestational diabetes. When pregnant, many women are extra sensitive to sugar in their diet. Evaluate the adequacy of your diet. Avoid all sweets. Try chelated minerals; Jerusalem artichokes; pregnancy tea; and herbs such as dandelion, alfalfa, and kelp. If sugar still appears in the urine, be sure you're getting enough chromium.
Around the 34th week of pregnancy, the baby starts to take large amounts of chromium from the mother. Chromium is not abundant in foods and hard to replace with diet alone. It is used up every time we eat refined sugar or flour. Chromium Picolinate is the most assimilable form, and can be gotten from brewer's yeast or a supplement. It will take 6 months at 200mcg/day to restore mom's chromium levels, once depleted.
Additional problems from low chromium levels include difficulty losing weight after the baby is born, being at higher risk for gestational diabetes for subsequent pregnancies, and fussy or colicky babies (from not getting enough chromium in the milk) who may be especially crazy after the mother eats sweets.
Women who take chromium respond quickly, and notice their sugar cravings diminishing. For faster results, take boron with it as boron is necessary to utilize chromium. Give it two weeks, then have your blood glucose tested again to see if your blood sugar levels have been restored.
Sources for this article include:
Tarr, Katherine. A Guide to Motherhood - Herbs, Helps, & Pressure Points for Pregnancy and Childbirth, p. 20. Winona Lake, Indiana: Wendell W. Whitman Company, 2008."