As some of you may already know, my husband and I are expecting our 2nd child's arrival this April. I had developed gestational diabetes (GD) during my first pregnancy and was scared to death that I would have the same complication this time, as the chances of acquiring GD again becomes greater. Thankfully I was able to prevent it from happening again. Perhaps it is purely a simple fact that each pregnancy truly is individual and completely different, but I strongly believe that the following things helped make me stronger and less stressed, which resulted in my passing the 3 hour glucose tolerance test (GTT). Acupuncture, herbal therapy, meditation, nutrition, and exercise all had a cumulative effect on my well being for a healthier pregnancy.
Acupuncture is extremely effective at boosting the body's metabolism and decreasing stress. There are specific acupuncture points that research has shown to help the body enhance its ability to absorb the sugar from the blood.* I received acupuncture about three times a week throughout my pregnancy (at least till the GTT). There are a number of herbs which also help boost metabolism to treat diabetes, even gestational diabetes. The exact herbal formula I put together was specific to my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, as there are a number of different causes or reasons for developing GD. Nutrition played a big role in my journey to a healthier pregnancy as well. Since having had GD once before, I learned a great deal about following a low carbohydrate diet. From the beginning of this pregnancy I mostly followed that same low carb diet. Taking a probiotic is another important factor, as probiotics may improve the absorption and assimilation of, not only the food we eat, but also the supplements/herbs we consume.** Exercise was also part of my strengthening process, for I was/am running around after and lifting a one and a half year old. I even added 30-40 minutes of walking or recumbent bike but only once a week, which is better than what I did in my first pregnancy – nothing. Moderate to light exercise helps your muscles absorb glucose, which lowers blood sugar levels. Meditation, along with my cheery wonderful daughter, helped to reduce my stress, making this pregnancy much different than the first. I also listened to the guided imagery meditation CD, Rod Stryker's "Relax Into Greatness", on a semi-regular basis. Utilizing all of these methodologies together helped strengthen my body and calm my mind, making my second pregnancy a much healthier more pleasant experience - free from gestational diabetes! If you have any questions or wish to make an acupuncture appointment you can email us or call our office.
Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM
*Enhanced insulin sensitivity using electroacupuncture on bilateral Zusanli, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16762373
**Microbiome: That Healthy Gut Feeling, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v480/n7378_supp/full/480S88a.html