31-Week Pregnancy Update and Belly Picture

I have been terribly lax in posting pregnancy updates lately! I guess that I got a little too busy with work and all of my summer activities. Here I am at 31 weeks, and the time is simply flying by! I have been feeling great lately: no aches, pains, swelling, or any other symptoms to report. Sleeping has become a bit trickier lately, but only because I am a side-sleeper who likes to flip from left to right fairly frequently – with such a large belly, flipping over requires a bit of maneuvering now, and I have to be at least half-awake to manage it. But that is my only pregnancy complaint thus far, so I figure that I am doing spectacularly well!

My waist is continuing to grow, but I am still wearing that same pair of pre-pregnancy jeans that you saw in earlier photos of me, and they still button just fine. Even though I have only gained 14 pounds thus far, my baby is measuring two weeks ahead in his growth – at my 30-week appointment with the midwives, he was looking like a 32-week-old baby. He is still in the head-down position, and I was amazed to feel how far down in my pelvis he actually is. The midwives showed me how to feel for his head, which was just slipping down behind my pubic bone, and to me it felt like he was ready to come right out. Maybe he is anxious to be born, or maybe that was just the only place he could find the room to accommodate his growing body.

I am still fairly active with my CrossFit workouts, although this week I have made the decision to cut back and only work out five times per week. In addition to my planned workouts I am also spending a lot of time – about five hours per week – out walking with the dog. It is by no means strenuous exercise, but rather a slow-paced (Dakota has to stop and sniff now and then!) form of activity that leaves me feeling energized and healthy. And at this point in pregnancy, my goal is not to push my physical limits, but rather to stay active and in shape, so I feel like I have found a good balance for me.

The big news at this point in pregnancy has to do with gestational diabetes testing. The oral glucose tolerance test is administered to almost all women at the beginning of the third trimester in order to screen for gestational diabetes. I declined this procedure in favor of testing my blood sugars with a glucometer. I have several reasons for declining this standard testing, one of them being I do not think it is healthy to expose my baby to a 50g shot of pure glucose and the insulin surge that is sure to follow. For an explanation of some of the shortfalls of the OGTT, check out this article by Robb Wolf. He is the biochemist, and provides a much clearer argument than I could.

But in any case, I opted out of the OGTT and instead checked my blood sugars, fasting and after meals, to ensure that I was not diabetic. My fasting blood sugar was 81 mg/dL – a fair bit higher than my pre-pregnancy levels, which were in the low 70’s, but that is to be expected. I was still perfectly within the 75-95 range expected for pregnant women.

Then I also tested my blood sugars after meals, in order to see how well I was clearing the sugars in my daily diet. The meals that I planned were fairly high in carbs for me, just to ensure that my body could deal with that bit of extra stress. What I discovered is that I am very insulin sensitive, and my body does a great job of clearing out that excess sugar. I tested myself after a breakfast of two soft-boiled eggs, 2 teaspoons fish oil, and a pumpkin pie smoothie. The macronutrient profile looks like this: 470 calories, 45g net carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 20g protein, 23g fat. As you can see, it was a very high-carb morning for me. Blood sugars one hour postprandial should be below 140, and below 120 two hours postprandial. One hour postprandial I was at 102 mg/dL, and two hours postprandial I was at 89 mg/dL. I tested myself after several other meals with similar results, and I was very happy to see that my body was so efficiently clearing out excess sugars. With the way I have been eating I found it nearly impossible to believe that I could have any issues with blood sugar, and my week experimenting with the glucometer confirmed my hypothesis and gave me a good dose of reassurance that my body is taking good care of my baby.

I am far enough along in my pregnancy that now I am visiting with the midwives every two weeks, so my next visit is coming up very soon. I feel like I am a horribly boring patient because I have no symptoms to report or pregnancy ailments that I need help solving, but I suppose that means that we just have more time during our visits to chat about expectations for delivery and new parenthood. I am so glad that I am working with midwives as opposed to an OB, and one of the reasons is that I do get this kind of support, encouragement, and time with my care providers at every prenatal visit.

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