Hiking, Pregnancy


It’s interesting (lame, but interesting) that two diseases that lurk in my family history have reared their ugly heads during pregnancy – first hypothyroidism, and now, diabetes. Luckily, both should disappear after I give birth.

Gestational diabetes behaves similarly to Type 2, but is caused by pregnancy. Hormones coming from the placenta make you insulin resistant (to make sure the fetus gets enough glucose to grow), and problems arise if your pancreas is not able to keep up with your body’s increasing demands for insulin. Congratulations, you now have diabeetus! If undetected or uncontrolled, this will lead to your fetus getting way too much glucose every time you eat, which can make her gain an excessive amount of weight and possibly become hypoglycemic after birth when her constant stream of glucose is cut off. Once you deliver the placenta, you will no longer be diabetic. Huzzah!

Basil as Ferdinand Diabeetus

Now I have to follow special dietary guidelines and measure my blood glucose four times a day. Luckily (most of it is luck, but there’s also a lot of work and commitment) I’ve been able to control this with diet and exercise so far, but since my body’s insulin needs will keep rising until week 38 or so and you just never know what the placenta is going to decide to do during that time, I can’t rest easy quite yet. If I do have to go on medication to control this, I will be moved from the midwifery clinic to a high risk OB. I love my midwives, so I am very, very motivated to make this work…but like I said, it really is the placenta that’s calling the shots.

All Hail Kale! Wellie on the Powerline

The dietary changes haven’t been that bad – most of my normal meals fit into the guidelines (and beans, my beloved musical fruits, work wonders for mah sugahs), but I have to make sure all my meals and snacks are a balanced mix of enough carbs, protein and fat, and no more pizza or Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup binges. (There’s a Trader Joe’s next to our hospital though, so you can guess what my first post-partum snack is going to be.)

Summer on the Powerline Tricolore

The biggest surprise for me is how important exercise and general movement is. I knew theoretically that physical activity is a good way to fight insulin resistance, but it wasn’t until I could see it in my own blood glucose values that I realized just how big of a difference it really does make. I make it a priority to exercise after every meal now, whereas before, I would honestly usually just eat and then plop down in front of the tv or computer for a couple of hours.

Rutaburgers! Walking to yoga class

In the interest of finding the silver lining(s) of this whole situation and staying positive:

more frequent exercise is making me feel great mentally and physically – my pelvis even seems less cranky now that I’m spending less time lounging on the couch – and I’ve finally started doing some strength training again (when it’s too hot to go for a walk)

Wellie and Basil are in heaven when I take them for walks after every meal and pretty much think I’m the best human ever

Housework counts as physical activity, so JK pretty much thinks I’m the best human ever

I’m motivated to eat so much healthier than I would normally (especially when it’s hot as Hades outside and ice cream exists), and Lil’ Fetus and I are getting all sorts of excellent nutrition from all the greens and veggies I’m eating

I’m also gaining less weight than I normally would have, which will hopefully make it easier to keep hiking through these last few months

Speaking of hiking, if(/when) I do at some point crave some sort of foodstuff that I really shouldn’t eat, I can most likely eat it while on a hike, ’cause that shizz burns glucose like nobody’s business. We hiked to Talapus and Olallie Lakes a couple of weeks ago, and no matter how many date balls I threw down my gullet, my blood sugar stayed nice and balanced the entire time. Maybe I can try some peanut butter cups next time…

29 weeks Good ol' Talapus

Talapus & Olallie Lakes | 6 miles | 1200 feet elevation gain –

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  • Reply ARC July 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    You are all over this!! Awesome!

    I failed the first test with both pregnancies, and squeaked by the second one twice, so the doc advised me to switch to the diet anyway, and that worked wonders. I can only imagine how much better exercise would have made me feel!

    That is so awesome that you are so active – it really will pay off in how you feel later. Yay!!

  • Reply Michelle July 9, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Boo to GD, but at least you know its a temporary condition. eat foods higher in protein with good fats (avocado oil on salads, salmon, raw nuts, coconut oil), avoid sugar (even on the trail your body will still be going through an insulin response after ingesting sugars) – keeps the blood sugar stable whether hiking or at home due to satiety and slower burn…you are doing great and looking wonderful though, not long to go now!! PS. In some ways getting a better eating pattern locked in now will help postpartum – if you plan on breastfeeding those carb cravings will just knock you over!!! Took me months to get mine under control!

  • Reply Ingunn July 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Yes, fats, fiber, and protein are my friends right now for sure! Oh, and the nutritionist said that one of the upsides to having GD is that it sets you up to follow what she called “the perfect breastfeeding diet”, so a huge thumbs up to that. This whole thing has also made me realized just how much having Type 2 would suck, so I’m feeling very motivated to get rid of my spare tire and keep eating more balanced meals after this is all over.

  • Reply Elle July 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    All I really have to say is that I too adore those mini peanut butter cups, so I feel your pain.
    And I’d love to go for one of those walks with you- maybe meet on the Tolt pipeline for a stroll? We can compare pregnancy stories- even though mine was 21 years ago- I remember every detail. So will you.

  • Reply Melissa July 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    You are such a motivation! You should post some of your recipes ;) I really need to exercise more off of the trail and get back on track eating wise. I tend to just eat whatever because I dont have a lot of time to cook at home even though I should take the time. Haha. Man I am full of excuses! Anyways you are awesome ! and Look amazing!

  • Reply Karen July 14, 2014 at 3:53 am

    I suffered from the same thing 19 years ago with my son…..now hypoglycemia has reared its ugly head again in the past three years and my dr. says it was bound to appear eventually.

    I am happy to hear you are feeling better with more movement. I can’t wait to meet the little one and see how you and your husband enjoy hiking as a family and not just a couple.

  • Reply jill i July 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Hope things are still going well. Sounds like you’ve got it down. Take care!

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