Diabetes, Vegan, Bicycle and Pregnant

9:14 AM
Diabetes, Vegan, Bicycle and Pregnant

Becoming pregnant, it upsets a life! The story of how I "drastically" changed my paradigm about my diet and the treatment of my diabetes... I am very pleased to announce that my spouse Clément and I are committed to becoming parents.es I begin my 17th week of pregnancy, I have a nascent belly, and if all is going well, I will give birth towards the end of July. I will keep you posted!

Here is a return on my first trimester, on my food turned upside down, on the... return to the insulin for the treatment of my diabetes and the difficulties met to ride a bike with a belly.

The first quarter: Yuck!
My experience from weeks 6 to 11 was difficult. I had terrible nausea and intense fatigue. I could sleep up to 12 hours a night, without being able to stop naps for a few hours! I am late at work, which I have happily started catching since.

I felt disgusted for foods that I regularly eat, like lentils or shiitake mushrooms. I was also unable to eat various squash, radish daïkons and roe cabbage remaining from our baskets of organic autumn vegetables. To my dismay, by the way, I who had dreamed all summer! On the other hand, I felt an urgent need to increase my consumption of certain raw fruits and vegetables.

If possible, I was even stricter than before about what I do not want to eat: animal products, processed, refined and chemical products, etc. I have been struggling to endure some odors that I found just unpleasant before (the cigarette, meat or eggs that cook). While going to eat at my cousin's house lately, I came out of the house so much the smell of meat worried me.

The good news is that I've been through this time and I've been like a charm ever since. I feel like in a pregnancy honeymoon. I am overflowing with joy and energy, and I appreciate my body that is transformed almost daily! Clement also adores it, which accentuates my happiness.

Food: I thought hard that I needed the opposite!
I consider that I have "changed the food paradigm". However, the contents of my plate of pregnant woman remains substantially the same as usual. Veganly vegan, I strictly observe my own recommendations for the ten plant food groups. I have not yet had a weird or inexplicable rage of food (pickles and ice cream, for example) that is often associated with waiting for a child.

What changed then? This is my understanding of dietary intakes related to diabetes. Pregnant women are now asked to have a glycated hemoglobin of less than 6% and never to let their blood glucose levels rise to more than 7.8 mmol / L, even within an hour after a meal. As crazy as it sounds, I was not aware! I thought that with a glycated hemoglobin gravitating around 7%, I was super correct. I had read it in many places...

In the hospital, a nutritionist advised me to reduce the size of my meals and to take snacks. It was not the first time people told me that. I've had it repeated, at least a dozen times since I was diabetic. But I thought hard that I needed the opposite because fasting, my blood sugar levels are still normal. This explains my conclusion that it is better not to eat between meals. That I mention to whoever wants to hear it for several years and that is also written in my book .

In talking with this nutritionist, I revised my positions. She compartmentalized my typical diet during a day. I had to eat normally, but in six food intake instead of three. I carefully followed his advice from December 23, and throughout the holidays. No hearty meals, but always something to put in my mouth. I have also become stricter than ever regarding my carbohydrate consumption. I said no to any source of white sugar all the time. Same for dates and dried fruits. My last glycated hemoglobin was on January 13, and it went down to 6.3%. A victory! It's my best for life in over 14 years of diabetes including eight years with insulin.

I was on the right track. Just a cloud on the horizon: I started dreaming that I would stuff myself with chocolate cookies, that I would visit a room filled with fruit to the ceiling, that there was chocolate everywhere... I do not like not act by constraint. I am convinced that deprivation is not sustainable in the long run, that it encourages spreads, cheating, and acts as a magnet for emotional and glycemic rollercoasters. In other words, I did not feel fulfilled by this new rigidity, and she made me unhappy...

And the deficiencies? And the supplements? And folic acid?
I am followed by a medical team at the GARE (High Risk Pregnancy) Clinic at St-Luc Hospital. And if no one reacted negatively to the fact that I'm vegan, everyone looked at me with big eyes when I said I did not supplement folic acid or iron. And yet! My blood tests and my general state of health show that everything is very normal. It must be that my last 6 years of nutritional research have been used for something! Among others: thank you Michael Greger!

That said, I supplement myself and I recommend you to do the same. I take my daily dose of vitamin B12, vitamin D plant, and also omega 3 plant DHA, based on algae. A varied and complete vegetable diet should not cause deficiencies or require supplements other than these. Please remember, however, that I am neither a doctor nor a health professional; I'm talking about my experience only. It is of course possible that you have to supplement you differently, according to your antecedents, your genetics, your food, etc.

By wisdom, I started to sting myself...
I started injecting insulin again on January 18, more than 6 years after stopping.

Among my medical team, there is an endocrinologist who I like very much, who is very attentive and takes the trouble to seriously answer all our questions. She explained that my insulin requirements would increase drastically in the second trimester until delivery. I immediately thought about pregnancy diabetes and insulin resistance, and I told her that being vegan should not happen too much, studies in support. But she insisted: she was not talking about insulin resistance, but about insulin requirements. I have since seen this graph:

Insulin Requirements during Pregnancy


Following my sweet dreams at night, and at these discussions, I decided to leave the autonomous mode for the time of my pregnancy.I got a nice new pen of insulin, needles, insulin, I filled up with strips, and I started to sting myself again. My needs have increased from week to week. At first, I took 1 to 3 units of Humalog, once a day or two days, then from 2 to 3 units all the dinners and suppers, then from 3 to 4, and possibly the lunches too, and that s is stabilized (for the moment). Since early February, I take insulin at almost every meal, often 5 units. I do not need it if I eat a good portion of green salad with a small portion of cooked food, or I do a lot of physical exercise in the cold. But I often want more carbs than that, and I do not move after all meals!

My blood sugars are almost always in the targets, and I must admit, it's a relief. For the health of our baby first, to prevent him from malformations, weak lungs and hypoglycemia at birth. And also for me  : if elli is not oversized at delivery, it will make my job easier! And it's a real pleasure to eat more fruits or even sometimes maple syrup, or lately a large portion of homemade vegan poutine, without experiencing a glycemic peak. I feel free.

I can not wait to see the evolution of my new relationship with insulin. There, I benefit all the more because I felt frustrated with my last weeks very strict. I already feel less attracted to sugar than I was 3 weeks ago. I still intend to become independent after the birth of our child, but I ask myself: will I not be happier to live without insulin the majority of the time, but to keep it close of me, to allow me a small gap from time to time without hyperglycemia? I'm thinking about it. One thing is certain: now that I know that I can reach 6.3% glycated hemoglobin without insulin, I will have to reproduce it!

The winter bike with my tummy
Last year, one of my pregnant good friends went on a winter bike until she gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Naturally, I told myself that I would do the same: from the bike to the very end! Carrying a child, I feel even more responsible than before for promoting environmentally sustainable lifestyles (our only home from which we will not be able to move even if we ruin it) and others.

It took me years to ride a winter bike for fear of being frozen. Still, the temperature is the least of my worries today! Everyone is colder than cyclists: pedestrians and motorists alike. Roads are mostly cleared in Montreal. I am even more cautious than usual. I drive slowly, I really avoid the ice patches, and as soon as possible, I avoid driving during rush hours. At these times when motorists are afraid of arriving late or, on the contrary, are eager to arrive home, they are less inclined to share the road with its other users. A few weeks ago, all I was concerned about were cars and trucks.

Today, I have a new "problem". My dear love belly feels compressed when I lean over my handlebars, especially to brake. I had never thought of that! Since 3 weeks, I enjoyed less and less the bike. I was afraid to hurt our child, in addition to the fact that it was uncomfortable.

As a result, Clement offered me the best gift in the world: a pregnant woman's winter bike! Lovingly licensed from two bikes abandoned by our former roommates. A "woman's" frame without upper tube, a lower seat and a higher handlebar. I now walk right back and I found the sublime freedom to move as I see fit when I see fit. Thank you Clement!

And so, girlfriend advice: if you plan a bike pregnancy, also think about changing your bike accordingly! :)

And you, moms, how do you live, how did you live your pregnancy? Diabetic? Vegan? Cyclist? And you, dads, how do you live and have you lived your spouse's pregnancy? How do you live being a parent with diabetes? Veganism? The bike? And you, all other people, do you have experiences to share about these topics?