Posts tagged pregnancy
What is Gestational Diabetes and How Will It Effect My Pregnancy?

What is Gestational Diabetes?

In a nutshell, Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a label applied when a pregnant person’s Blood Glucose Levels (BGL) are higher than “normal”. Regardless of your general health or existing risk factors for developing GD, you will likely be asked to take a test around the midway point in your pregnancy (you know the one we’re talking about - the “dreaded” and somewhat controversial orange drink you’ve likely heard about from your friends?) What they are testing for is to see how quickly your body is able to work to bring your blood sugar levels back down to a normal range after shocking your system with a huge sugar bump.

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What does having GD mean, exactly?

Around the 20th week of pregnancy, your placenta starts releasing hormones that cause some level of insulin resistance in your cells (ie. the insulin naturally produced by your body cannot absorb the excess glucose from your blood as easily because the cells have become resistant to insulin). When this happens, the body starts producing more insulin to capture as much excess glucose as possible, but sometimes the body can’t keep up. When this happens, there is an excess of glucose in your blood and you may be labelled as having Gestational Diabetes. The good news is that this condition is temporary and will typically resolve itself after you give birth to your beautiful baby! However, while you are pregnant, there are some things you should know about the label of Gestational Diabetes and some of the choices you may have to make in the coming months.

How can having high BGL affects me and my baby?

When a pregnant person has high BGL continuously during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of the pregnant person struggling with high blood pressure, developing pre-eclampsia and possibly Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease later on in life. Because your baby is also receiving some of that extra glucose, their body will bump up their level of insulin production to regulate their own BGLs and after birth, when that extra insulin isn’t needed, baby could have some trouble regulating their BGL while glucose and insulin levels balance out. If the high BGLs are not managed well, there is an increased risk of preterm or complicated birth as well.

gestational diabetes and big babies


One of the biggest concerns that people (including health care providers) have when GD comes into the picture of the potential of having a “big baby”. While it is possible that a bigger baby could mean a tricky birth due to shoulder dystocia or a possible cesarean section, it is certainly not a foregone conclusion! Yes, when babies are getting more glucose during gestation they do tend to get a bit chunkier, especially in the upper body, but there is no reason to panic. People give birth to “big” babies (what does “big” even mean?) all the time! If you have high BGLs or have been labelled as having GD, make sure you take some time to read up a bit on this issue because your care provider will almost certainly have concerns and you will want to be an informed participant in an important conversation!

For more information on Gestational Diabetes, “big babies” and inductions check out this great post over at Evidence Based Birth Does Gestational Diabetes Always Mean a Big Baby and Induction?

So, if I am labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, what does that mean for my pregnancy and birth?

For most people, managing Blood Glucose Levels and having a healthy and happy pregnancy is totally achievable with a little extra self-care and good communication with your health care team throughout your pregnancy. Having Gestational Diabetes does not mean you are sick or that you cannot physically have the birth you have envisioned for yourself.

Advocating for evidence based care (as opposed to routine care) will be very important if you are hoping to have a vaginal birth or to avoid an induction because, unfortunately, many care providers feel the risk of a “big baby” outweighs the risks of induction or cesarean birth, even though the evidence does not necessarily support that conclusion.

The reality is that once you have been labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, even if your BGLs are within normal limits after the initial “diagnosis”, you will be faced with limitations on when and where your care providers are comfortable with you giving birth. Giving birth at home is often ruled out as an option (though not always - so if this is a goal make sure to you advocate for yourself) and inductions or planned cesareans become part of the conversations you will be having with your team as they work to reduce documented and perceived risks to you or your baby.

Keep the conversation going with your healthcare providers about what their concerns are and above all, ask for evidence based information to help you decide how you would like to move forward with your birth.

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What can I do to take care of myself and regulate my BGLs?

Depending on how high your BGLs are, you will be able to help regulate your levels through diet, exercise, oral medications or insulin. There is some evidence to suggest that, if medication is needed, managing BGLs with oral medications in place of insulin may reduce the risk of your baby having low-blood sugar after birth (for more see Cochrane review here) . One more thing to add to your list of questions when you talk to your doctor or midwives!

Whether or not medication is required, connecting with a dietitian to help you meal plan in a way that will keep you happy and healthy is a great idea and will take some of the guess work out what can seem like a big life change. If you are reading this blog post and are from the Peterborough, ON like we are, you can check out this great list of Registered Dietitians in our area to get started.

Your body. Your baby. Your birth!

Finding out that you have Gestational Diabetes is probably not the news you were hoping for but it isn’t necessarily bad news. You can have a happy and healthy pregnancy - we promise! Ask questions, work with your healthcare team to get the care that you want, and remember when it comes to birth it is your body and your baby and you are the one calling the shots!













Massage for Pregnancy & Labour

Meet Melanie Wood, RMT

Melanie has been an RMT for 11 years with extensive experience treating prenatal and postpartum clients. She chose massage therapy as a profession because she has a passion for using the positive touch of massage to help others improve their well being and assist in their healing. Melanie knows how important touch can be during pregnancy and labour and is excited to bring this great workshop to the Hello, Baby! Hub for you!

Hello Baby Workshop Massage

Touch is an important tool

It is very common for pregnant people to have back pain, sore hips, and all sorts of other aches and pains. Your body is changing and you are carrying a whole other person around! Massage is a simple way to help make yourself comfortable. Anyone can learn the basics and all you need are two hands!

Massage is also an amazing tool to help bring comfort while you labour. Whether you are giving birth for the first time or looking to try something different with this next birth experience, practicing touch and massage in different positions is a great way for you and your birth partner to learn to work together to make your labour smooth and comfortable. 

Add massage to your tool kit!

This workshop is perfect for anyone looking to learn skills that will help them work through the intensity of labour and birth together with a partner. Whether you are a first time parent or having your second or third baby, touch can play an important role in managing your labour together with your partner.

During the workshop, Melanie will give you tools to:

  • Feel empowered as a team to cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and birth

  • Confidently know how and when to perform massage

  • Decide which positions may be more helpful at different times and easily accommodate the use of massage

  • Manage the different stages of pregnancy and labour naturally with massage techniques

  • Increase your sense of connection, support, and relaxation as a birth team

Go team!

Register for this great workshop happening Wednesday June 20th from 7-9pm at the Hello, Baby! hub, downtown Peterborough. The workshop fee includes a spot for you and a partner!

Fear Release Workshop

It is O.K. to let it go. 

Join Bonnie Carl, Family Mindfulness Educator & Certified Meditation and Yoga Teacher from Mindful Mama's Family Wellness on April 21, 2018 from 9:30-11:30am, for a workshop to bring gentle awareness and acceptance to our fears surrounding pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery, parenting and unresolved traumas. In this 2 hour workshop you will gain tools to:

  • Release fears and minimize anxiety
  • Maintain a state of presence, bringing calm and relaxation to the entire nervous system
  • Increase melatonin and promote deeper sleep
  • Improve happy hormones, serotonin & oxytocin, boosting mood and cultivating serenity
  • Increase JOAS- vital life energy that is drained by lifestyle, physical & mental exertion and trauma
Hello Baby Fear Release

Healing through words and movement.

During this very special two hour workshop, Bonnie will lead you through a series of exercises to help you name your fears and begin to let them go.  The workshop will include: 

  • "What If" - a releasing activity to begin class and work through at home
  • Gentle restorative Hatha yoga
  • Pranayama (breath control) 
  • A healing/sharing circle
  • Meditation to ground and connect with self, in awareness and presence

A mini-retreat for your mind and body.

The journey through pregnancy, birth, and adjusting to life postpartum affects us all in different ways.  The way we feel emotionally and spiritually has very real effects on our bodies, the way we labour, and our ability to transition into parenthood. If you are struggling with the physical and emotional changes that come with creating life, you are definitely not alone!  Bonnie will gently guide you through this workshop and a few steps closer to healing and release!

Breathing for Birth: Pranayama Series with Mindful Mama's Family Wellness

Take a deep breath.

Discover the therapeutic benefits of pranayama during conception, pregnancy and postpartum!

During this six week session, Bonnie Carl will guide you through simple techniques using conscious breathing from a comfortable, seated position!  Pranayama - the practice of mindful and purposeful breathing - is perfect for everyone regardless of fitness level or experience with yoga.  The techniques Bonnie will teach you will bring your awareness to the present, increase the depth of your breathe and prepare you mentally and physically for pregnancy, labour and birth.

Bonnie Carl of Mindful Mama's Family Wellness will be leading this beautiful six week session focusing on the power of breath. 

Bonnie Carl of Mindful Mama's Family Wellness will be leading this beautiful six week session focusing on the power of breath. 

What are the benefits of pranayama?

Pranayama (breath/energy control)  will help you to:

  • reduce anxiety, depression & fear
  • increase energy, memory & focus
  • induce a state of calm & relaxation that can be carried with you for hours after each practice
  • promote deeper sleep, balanced hormones and improved mood

Manage your contractions with calm and control. 

Pranayama - mindful and purposeful breath work - is a wonderful tool for preparing your mind an body for labour and birth. Breathing exercises during labour help you to move through contractions with calm and control. They also help to make sure that you and baby are getting the oxygen you need for the hard work you will be doing!  Breathing well during labour focuses the mind, helps to alleviate pain and tension, and is something you can do on your own or with a birth partner. 

Prepare for a positive birth.

The Pranayama series will run every Wednesday for six weeks from 12:15 to 12:45 pm downtown at the Hello, Baby! hub.  Join  Bonnie in the bright and cozy Wellness Studio to learn these simple and effective techniques. Space is limited so register now!