Tip #: Have Early Blood Sugar Tests To Assess Your Risk
Women who go into pregnancy with pre-existing insulin resistance, or undiagnosed pre-diabetes, are much more likely to develop GD.18 In addition, the physiology of pregnancy naturally increases insulin resistance, potentially compounding the issue.
An HbA1c test which measures the average blood sugar levels in the previous three months taken prior to pregnancy or early in the first trimester can help identify women at risk in advance. Values greater than 5.7% may indicate prediabetes, and many doctors treat this the same as gestational diabetes. The higher the number, the higher your average blood sugar. A level of 5.9% or higher accurately predicates gestational diabetes 98.4% of the time.19 Note: HbA1C tests later in the pregnancy are less reliable because of rapid blood cell turnover and low iron stores.20
A fasting blood glucose prior to pregnancy or early in the first trimester can also help flag potential problems, if values are higher than 5.6 mmol/l , which is suggestive of prediabetes. Depending on your result, you may need to make blood sugar control a bigger priority. Tackling it upfront can prevent blood sugar issues in the pregnancy and future complications, Nichols said. Jovanovic agrees: Waiting until 24 to 28 weeks to diagnosis GD means the fetus may have spent many weeks earlier in the pregnancy exposed to high blood sugars. You want to be on top of it early.21
Can You Be Low
Dietitians and healthcare providers are increasingly endorsing a modified keto diet during pregnancy. This is often called the dirty keto diet in the keto community.
In dirty keto, many keto principles are adopted without the focus on staying in ketosis. While a lower-carb diet is safe for pregnancy and the production of ketones is a normal sign of pregnancy, dirty keto encourages mostly fat in the diet followed by
protein and carbohydrates, however, the ratios vary depending on your provider.
How Is The Keto Diet Good For Pcos
The primary reason why the keto diet is so good for PCOS is because it naturally helps you to avoid foods that might negatively impact your insulin resistance.
Given that up to a large majority of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, it makes sense to treat this symptom when we are trying to reverse the illness.
The keto diet is also great for reducing inflammation in the body which can contribute to infertility.
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Carbs Can Be Comforting And Counter Morning Sickness And Other Pregnancy Symptoms
Another concern: Adhering to a restrictive diet like the ketogenic plan could add to a woman’s stress while shes having fertility treatments, or it could have a negative impact on her relationship with food, Mallik says. To cope with nausea during pregnancy, women often reach for carbohydrates, like plain crackers or pretzels, she notes. The keto plan would put those on the no-fly list even if a woman has stopped the ketogenic diet by the time shes pregnant, she may have a lingering sense that those foods arent good for her and feel guilty about eating them.
The Risks Of Eating Keto While Pregnant
When you get pregnant, your doctor will give you a series of nutritional advice thats vital for the pregnancy. Most of them would be keen to tell you to avoid Keto and other low-carb diets like it. And its not without cause.
Remember when I said theres a discrepancy between the nutritional requirements of Keto and that of a pregnant woman? Well, when youre pregnant, your body needs these nutrients:
Most of these nutrients are found in fruits, veggies, and other carb foods. However, because Keto outlines a low-carb intake for its users, your body will likely possess the nutrients mentioned above in low quantity.
These nutrients arent only essential to you. Theyre just as vital to your babys development. Thus, having an insufficient amount of them could lead to complications.
Ketos emphasis on a high-fat intake could also constitute a problem if youre pregnant. Too much fat could lead to a high accumulation of cholesterol in your system. And thatll make you susceptible to cardiovascular health risks, and in extension, put your baby in danger.
Of course, theres the discomfort of the keto flu to consider. An extra dose of fatigue, nausea, and dizziness isnt something you want to couple with pregnancy illnesses.
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Can Keto Help Fertility In Those With Pcos
Aside from fat being a necessary component of reproductive hormones, women with PCOS are interested in keto for another reason when it comes to fertility.
PCOS and insulin resistance tend to go hand-in-hand, and chronically elevated insulin and blood sugar levels contribute to inflammation. The thought behind keto for PCOS infertility is that decreasing the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream will reduce insulin and inflammation levels.
In an extremely small pilot study, 2 of the 4 women who followed a medically prescribed keto diet for 6 months, followed by a non-keto yet low-carb diet were able to achieve pregnancy . The results of this study look promising, but the study is very small and doesnt tell the full story.
Other important aspects to improving fertility in PCOS include exercise, eating antioxidant-rich foods, and ensuring adequate and regular nutrient intake which can include carbohydrates.
The latter two will help provide the body with a slow and manageable release of glucose in order to prevent the body from feeling undernourished and compensate with the release of cortisol, worsening the inflammatory cycle .
So while there is some limited evidence that high-fat diets might boost chances of conception in women with PCOS, keep in mind that this research is new, the studies are small, and that the women in the studies were part of a program that provided close medical monitoring for safety.
Potential Shortcomings Of The Keto Diet And Fertility
Aside from the sparsity of scientific research around the topic of keto and fertility, there are a number of practical shortcomings worth considering.
Shortcoming #1: The keto diet is extremely restrictive of folate-rich foods.
When people are eliminating carbs, they are eliminating fortified grains and large amounts of fruits and vegetables groups of foods that are rich in nutrients like folic acid.
Women who are trying to conceive are told that their intake of folic acid and folate are important to reduce the risk of babies developing neural tube defects. In fact, in the United States, many carb-heavy foods are made with flour that is fortified with folic acid.
The keto diet restricts many of these fortified foods, and therefore women who are following a keto diet run the risk of not eating enough of this important nutrient.
This point is so important that data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study was closely evaluated to assess the association between carbohydrate intake and neural tube defects.
The results of this study revealed that women who restricted carbohydrate intake were more likely to have an infant with neural tube defects. Although its not clear whether these women were all taking a prenatal vitamin, it is important to highlight that a greater risk of negative outcomes can occur when following a low carb diet.
Shortcoming #2: The keto diet is typically lower in antioxidants.
Shortcoming #3: The keto diet can create added stress on the body.
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Diet Can Affect Body Weight Hormones And Ovulation
Using a ketogenic diet to improve body weight can definitely help women who do not ovulate release an egg regularly, including those with polycystic ovary syndrome , explains Rashmi Kudesia, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Houston IVF, a CCRM Network Clinic in Texas. If they lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, they may resume ovulating.
Myth #: Im Lean I Cant Possibly Have Gestational Diabetes
Being overweight can impact glucose regulation and insulin resistance because of the influence of releasing fat-stored hormones in the body, but the inverse doesnt apply concerning thinness being an indicator of metabolic health.
Research has shown up to 50% of women with gestational diabetes dont have any of the classic risk factors, like a family history of diabetes or being overweight before becoming pregnant.
For the sake of due diligence, its wise to request an A1c test in the first trimester of pregnancy, especially given the risk related to the birthing experience and beyond that, even mildly elevated glucose levels in mom may create problems for mom and baby.
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Lchf Diet: The Natural Way To Restore A Healthy Metabolism
Having had a personal experience with these complications noted above, Dr. Fox sought other ways of achieving pregnancy using a less invasive, more natural approach. While we have long known that nutrition is an important aspect of health during pregnancy, according to Fox, diet also plays a major role in the ability to fall pregnant. With an already established link between insulin elevation and ovulation disorders, Dr. Fox investigated the effect of using nutrition to lower insulin and improve fertility. In particular, he focused on the principles of the low-carb high-fat diet to treat his patients.
According to Fox, patients would come into the clinic having struggled to fall pregnant for years. Many would be diagnosed with PCOS and would be on the verge of giving up on their dreams of having a family. Fox encourages these patients to get as close to zero carbohydrate consumption per day as possible. He believes that the lower the carbohydrate intake, the purer the metabolic state. In fact, he reports that patients who really commit to the nutritional guidelines are able to conceive in one or two cycles following the change to a low-carb diet.
Add real butter, whipping cream, hard cheeses, homemade mayonnaise, pork and olive oil says Dr Fox. Though Fox favours the LCHF diet as a treatment for infertility over more invasive procedures like IVF, he does acknowledge that the treatment is most effective when coupled with fertility medication.
Myth #: Ketosis Is Unsafe Like Ketoacidosis
Last but certainly not least of the myths to dispel: ketosis and ketoacidosis are the same. The truth is that ketosis and ketoacidosis are entirely different and here’s how:
Nutritional ketosis is a healthy metabolic state with many benefits, where the body converts from running on glucose to using fat as fuel in the absence of carbohydrates in the diet. However, unlike the dangerous state of ketoacidosis, ketosis is known to facilitate the proper growth and development of an unborn child and provide much-needed fuel to the baby boy or girl’s expectant mom.
However, again, diabetic ketoacidosis is a perilous physiological state it often develops in people with diabetes or those with insulin resistance.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is harmful to anyone’s health, but it poses a particular risk to a pregnant woman. DKA can cause blood sugar levels three times higher than usualsomething to avoid in consideration of how this may increase a woman’s risk of developing or worsening glucose regulation issues during pregnancy, and the ramifications that may have on mom and baby.
Also, ketoacidosis floods the body with excess exogenous ketones which lend to a highly acidic embryonic environment and can have adverse effects on mom and her developing babysee, these two states sound similar but are opposites.
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Its The Brand New Ketogenic Cookbook Bundle For Anybody Who Wants To Burn Fat And Lose Weight Fast Without Spending Hours In The Kitchen
Almost every single diet works by temporarily putting your body into a state of ketosis. In this state, your body burns fat for energy instead of burning carbs and protein. But these diets ultimately fail because they allow too many carbs to be reintroduced, which flips your bodys source of energy from fat back to carbs.
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Increase In Hair Growth
Another commonly reported effect of PCOS, is the appearance and new growth of hair. This can be hair on the arms, face, chin, neck, sideburns and even the chest. This affects nearly 60% of all women with PCOS. This growth is due to androgens that excite the hair follicles in these body areas and cause new hair growth to take place.
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Excellent Results For Low
Since placing more emphasis on the metabolic and nutritional aspects of PCOS and insulin resistance, Fox and his team have found that their centres fertility rates have more than doubled as a result of the prescribed LCHF diet.
Remarkably,their successful low-carb pregnancies have surpassed the thousands mark, while the number of patients who use the IVF method has significantly reduced.
From a clinical perspective, Fox reports no negative consequences of this treatment. Rather, he has found the opposite, that the typical adverse pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, cravings, low weight gain and other complications, are reported to be less on the LCHF diet.
The evidence to support this approach lies in the happy success stories and thank you letters shared by former patients on the JCRM website Most have gone through the emotional process of struggling to fall pregnant, have discovered they have PCOS, experienced the psychological trauma of failed pregnancies, and so on. But by following the JCRMs metabolic approach to treating infertility, the majority of couples have walked away from the process with a healthy baby in their arms. Here is one such heartwarming experience:
Myth #: Gestational Diabetes Magically Appears At The End Of Pregnancy
While insulin resistance tends to rise in the latter stage of pregnancy as a standard process of adaptation, to divert as many nutrients as possible to moms rapidly growing baby, gestational diabetes is rarely a condition that comes out of nowhere.
Again, GD is more likely the exposure of a pre-existing condition of insulin resistance now exacerbated by the physiological and hormonal stresses of pregnancy.
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Why The Keto Diet Isnt Safe During Pregnancy
Keto originated as a medical treatment for childhood epilepsy and is used as a last resort when the childs disorder is not responsive to traditional medications.
Keto patients are closely monitored by their specialized pediatric dietitian and neurologist to keep an eye on potential side effects, including keeping up with required routine lab work.
Many adults who follow keto miss this crucial monitoring, putting themselves at risk for severe vitamin deficiencies, low blood sugar, and dehydration .
Ketosis changes how the body performs metabolism. Keto dieters eat a high percentage of their daily intake from fats, followed by protein, and finally, minimal carbohydrates. Ill break down the macros in greater detail below.
Traditionally, carbohydrates are the bodys preferred and most readily available energy source. The human brain actually has only two different compounds it can use for energy glucose and ketones.
When a person eats very few carbohydrates their body has to switch how it is processing energy to create these ketones and keep the brain alive.
During pregnancy, these ketones cross the placenta and are passed to the baby .
For baby, the presence of ketones in utero has been shown to decrease brain size and development, lead to brain and nervous system deformity, and increase the size of the babys heart .
Following a keto diet can also create problems during labor and delivery.
Does The Keto Diet Impact Fertility
Youve probably heard of the ketogenic diet. The keto diet is a hot topic and for good reason its said to offer many health benefits like:
- Curing epilepsy and PCOS
- Helping people conceive after years of infertility
What is keto?
The keto diet is low-carb and high in fat in order to keep your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
What it Does
Our bodies normally burn carbohydrates for energy. When you restrict the number of carbs, the body is in a ketosis state.
Instead of burning carbs, the body will now break down stored fat which is a more consistent form of energy. Youre literally turning your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner.
In the process, your body creates molecules called ketones, a source of fuel for the body.
Effects on Fertility
Weve been told sugar is bad since we were kids it gives us cavities and provides little to no nutrition.
But did you know our body breaks carbs down into sugar too ? Thats right. Those salty fries and bread turn into sugar. Try as we may, sugar is hard to avoid. And it causes many negative, lasting effects on the body.
The higher the sugar intake, the more erratic blood sugar levels become . When cells try to break down sugar into energy, major structural and hormonal imbalances occur:
- Cells become insulin resistant. Theyre no longer able to metabolize sugar.
- The body produces more glycation end products. These molecules trigger more inflammation and contribute to molecular dysfunction.
Keto Quick Tips
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