From type 1 to type none: Woman raises funds to help those living with diabetes

PUBLISHED: 

Kelly Schmidt is working to fundraise for a purpose.

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on my 8th birthday in second grade,” she told 10TV’s Angela An.

That was in 1991, when according to Kelly’s website, she learned the power of “food is thy medicine.”

But it wasn’t until Kelly’s senior year in high school when she says she found a new purpose: to make living with type 1 diabetes better for everyone affected by the disease. She is now a registered dietitian, speaker, author, and wellness coach.

Her goal is to guide clients with type 1 diabetes on how to live a life where diabetes is less hard.

She is hosting an invite-only pig roast she hopes to turn into a mini-fundraiser “to make this disease less hard and nonexistent.”

Kelly, who is also a JDRF Board member, said this is not just a mission for her — Kelly’s father also has type 1 diabetes.

JDRF Central Ohio will also hold it’s annual One Walk on Sunday, Sept. 29 at the CAS campus at 2540 Olentangy River Road. Check in begins at 9 a.m. with the one-mile walk starting at 10:30 a.m.

The goal of the event is to raise more than $600,000 for juvenile diabetes research.

Back-To-School Breakfast Ideas

Summer is nearly gone at the advent of school starting next week. I keep thinking of this phrase as I will be sending my oldest off to kindergarten (tear) on Thursday.

“I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

Funny, right? But silly stupid true. Where did summer go?

Speaking of time, this week I’m highlighting ways to save time in the kitchen in the morning.

  1. Make waffles from Birch Blenders mixes in bulk and store them in a Ziplock freezer bag until they are ready to be toasted/eaten. Bonus tip, add a few scoops of collagen peptides to the batter (+ a tbsp of avocado oil) to increase the protein content, satiety and brain-boosting amino acids for learning.
  2. Banana Pancakes: mash 1 small banana with 2 eggs and make a pancake or 2 in a skillet like you would traditional batter.
  3. Chia Seed Pudding: mixing 1 part chia seeds with 4 parts liquid. Example: 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup of coconut milk. Add spices and sweetener to your liking. Make multiple of these ahead in mini mason jars.

Quick & Wholesome Dinner Ideas

  1. Meatballs & Veggies using kale or shaved Brussel sprouts as a base. I often opt for legume noodles for my kids. How do I make this quick + easy? I throw a bag of Beetnik grass-fed meatballs in a slow cooker w/ a jar of sugar-free marinara sauce. I allow this to cook for 6-8 hours.
  2. Chicken Tacos. While the slow-cooker is out, make some tacos the following night. Add frozen (or fresh) chicken breast or tenderloins to a slow-cooker on high, allow to cook for 6-8 hours with a jar of salsa. My go-to? Salsa verde. We love our chicken tacos w/ a purple cabbage leaf for the “taco shell,” black beans and some sour cream or guac.
  3. Salmon Burgers + Roasted Veg. If my hubs is home, I’ll have him fire up the grill to make the wild salmon Kirkland burgers (look for any salmon burgers that are made with wild, not farmed, salmon), but if he isn’t, to save time, I bake 4-6 burgers in my toaster oven. Leftovers are a blessing. I also make multiple trays of veg on the weekend, like the pic above, which happens to be 100% from my garden. I use ample amounts of avocado oil, cook at 350F for 30 minutes and douse the vegetables in the Unami spice from Trader Joe’s.

Insulin Resistance

Breaking the insulin resistance cycle involves a number of things, including reducing simple carbohydrate-rich foods, like grains, juices, processed foods, etc, in our diet. Below are 5 guidelines that will help slash insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control overall. This is useful advice with people who have diabetes, PCOS, metabolic syndrome and for those who just need assistance to lose weight. 

  • No naked carbs. What? Since carb-rich foods (legumes, fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and sugar) give us quick energy and have the greatest effect on raising blood sugar levels, it is ideal to have a source of protein or fat with this food to buffer the absorption of sugar going into the bloodstream. For example, an apple (carb) with peanut butter is far more favorable than eating an apple alone.
  • Reduce snacking and eliminate grazing. Be sure to eat enough at each meal (review plate visual) by cueing into your satiety and hunger levels, so you do not need to eat more than three-four times a day. When we have smaller, more frequent meals, we cause our body to produce more insulin, creating higher circulating levels of insulin. High insulin levels cause insulin resistance. Transition to 3 meals and an optional snack each day.
  • Hydrate. Drink 20 ounces of water first thing in morning. I play a game by making myself drink my water before I am allowed to enjoy my coffee. Do what motivates you. Overall, aim to drink half of your weight in ounces every day. For example, if I weigh 200 pounds, I need 100 ounces of water or herbal tea per day. Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve your hormone (including insulin) functionality, hunger, and fat-loss.
  • Forecast meals. No need to make a formal meal plan, but spend five minutes a week reviewing which meals you will be eating out or at home. Sketch out at least 3 meals (doubling some of the recipes can save you time) and reflect these meals onto a grocery list. This can help you get in front of your health by making healthy food the obvious choice. It can also help reduce food waste. Win-win.
  • Eat with the sun. Eating during daylight hours supports our natural body clock, and therefore our hormone functioning. The more in sync we are with our circadian rhythm by eating with the sun, we support hormone balance, improving insulin resistance. Doing this also improves sleep and high-quality sleep is the “secret sauce” for health. Additional motives to eat earlier? Data suggests when we eat past 7 PM we increase our insulin secretion by 50 to 70%. High insulin leads to insulin resistance. If you find yourself eating late, make it a smaller, lighter meal.

My Forever Love for Juice Boxes

I write to you today with a frog in my throat, feeling humble, scared and grateful.

Last week, immediately after my Endo appointment, we headed to FL to have a reunion with 2 other families. I felt like a badass driving down because my A1c returned to a territory I want to stay in, reading at 5.6 (a non-diabetic range). Yet, just when I think I have a routine, a plan, momentum, I realize I am at a loss.

Days into the trip I woke up with a blood sugar of 383 mg/dL. “Wtf?!” I haven’t seen a high like this in years.

Is it bc we ate a late dinner? I always have a high fasting when I eat late; but not this high. Was it the Prosecco I drank last night?? Maybe the alcohol made me low, I didn’t wake up, and glucagon shunted into my bloodstream??

Maybe it’s because I’m not sleeping enough? I was often the first to go to bed because I know less than 6 hours of sleep makes blood sugar control hard, but I’ve had 2 newborn babies and my blood sugar never behaved this bad.

Was it because I was less active than being at home? I was still running and swimming. Was I dehydrated severely? No.

What’s going on? Is the insulin bad? It worked fine yesterday and the day before and since then I haven’t stored it differently. I had it on the bathroom counter; maybe the room got too hot when we had our showers?

I take action – I’m aggressive with my basal/Tresiba for the day, upping my dose from 8 units to 12, then layer on another 2 units, making it 14. I take an intramuscular injection to correct the high.

Is it the heat? I always go really high with high humidity and temps above 80F. But I’ve lived in Australia with 100-degree temps and no a/c and it never got this bad.

Two hours later I’m only at 220 mg/dL, arrow across. Blood sugar goes up 2 points. I take more insulin.

Trying my best to keep my fears and frustrations to myself, I head to the beach with everyone.

I see diagonal down on my CGM. “Yay, the insulin is working.”

I have some dried mango in my beach bag in case the insulin begins working too well.

I’m in the water and run back to our things, aka my phone to read my blood sugar via my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and grab my daughter her floaty.

Double arrow down reading 45 mg/dL. Where is the mango??? I eat it.

Five/ten minutes pass and my friend comes back to get her son a snack.

I actually start feeling really scared. I started praying. The mango isn’t doing a thing, still 2 arrows down (this means my blood sugar is dropping 4 points per minute).

My friend pulls out a cooler with juice boxes for the kids. Amen! Juice will help.

I chug the juice.

I’m so low my CGM can’t read my blood sugar. CGM reads, “LOW” double arrow down.

My friend has no idea I’m scared for my life at the moment. Am I going to go into a seizure?

I ask my friend to get my husband. I start crying. Am I going to die because of this damn high blood sugar, now firing back?

Thirty minutes in, I level out, head back to our house and over-analyze everything for the next 2 days with 1 more similar low blood sugar scenario. The second time I used maple syrup to bring my sugar up, followed by a juice. I asked my husband to hold me until the carbs kick in. 

I threw out my current pen of Fiasp for fresh insulin starting day 2, but I robotically took the same Tresiba day 2, and I was hesitant to take another full dose of a new bottle. So now day 3, it’s confirmed on what the problem was…

Spoiled Tresiba/basal insulin.

Sometimes I think I’ve got this disease, but it can be mean, scary, horrific. Diabetes teaches me day in and day out to make my time count and I’m so grateful for my insulin, my CGM, my juice box, my life.

I had a great trip overall, diabetes won’t taint it, and I’m happy to be home to ground myself and make a difference in this world. 

This scary event was a gentle reminder of what it may feel like to be newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or going through a confusing time of diabetes management. There is always something to learn, and I should have been more bold with changing out my insulin sooner.

Variables that Play Into Blood Sugar Control

When I help my clients with diabetes understand how to best manage their blood sugars, of course, I mention nutrition and insulin, but there is a large emphasis on a number of other variables, including, but not limited to the following…

  • Hydration – being well hydrated can help your insulin work most efficiently
  • Allergies – seasonal, food, medication
  • Food sensitivities – if the gut is inflamed, the body is, hence poorer insulin sensitivity
  • Stress – good and bad stress can impact blood sugars.
  • Movement – move every 30min and exercise every other day
  • Hormones – male hormones fluctuate as do females
  • Puberty 
  • Pregnancy
  • Excitement
  • Public speaking (a form of stress)
  • Mood
  • Outdoor temps – heat makes some type 1s high (me!), but others it runs blood sugars down.
  • Breakdown of the meal fat, protein and carbs
  • Activity, bad insulin (this happens), 
  • sleep duration and quality, 
  • Altitude and this includes flights. I will go high shortly after takeoff and my blood sugar drops ~30-40 pts after landing.
  • the timing of meal the night before (if it was later than the norm, that can throw blood sugars the next day), 
  • lack of exercise, over-exercising, 
  • supplements,  
  • gut health, 
  • time change, jet lag, 
  • alcohol, esp if alcohol was drunken the day before
  • period, ovulation, 
  • insulin resistance, 
  • overeating, 
  • overdoing carbs, etc.

We Made History May 18th 2019

It is with great pride and gratitude to announce that this year’s JDRF Gala on May 18th broke an all-time fundraising record! Your generosity resulted in nearly $700,000 raised for the mission to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

The gala was a result of so many hands and I am so thankful for your support…and we couldn’t have done it without our family, friends and JDRF community.

Below I have captured the script of my speech and some of the pictures I snapped from this AMAZING evening. As well, here is a video from the live event.

How many presents does an 8 yo girl get when she is diagnosed with diabetes the day before her birthday? (long pause) 

A lot. 

Looking back, on my earliest memories, they all begin in second grade. No matter how hard I try, I can’t recall much before then. It starts with my diagnosis.

But as I drift through that memory on, I remember more of the hard ones than the happy. In those first few years, I had several seizures – a few at school and some in my sleep. 

I remember writing a letter in crayon to my mom and putting it in her bathroom drawer – saying “I don’t want to try anymore. It isn’t fair that I am the only kid in the family who has diabetes. I hate it (stomp foot) and I don’t want it.”

My siblings
My siblings

When my mom found it, I was waiting for her to yell at me, but she surprised me instead.  She pulled me aside, sat down with me and told me to never take life for granted and that I was capable of overcoming this.

I AM capable, but it’s a heavy burden. There are so many layers to Type1 that are invisible. There is no limp or mark to distinguish us. We often look perfectly healthy until you see the tubing from a pump poke out from our waistband, or a little white pod stuck to our arm. Then you wonder – what is that? 

Meanwhile, we wonder if we dosed enough insulin. If I should’ve eaten more before walking my kids to school, if that 30 grams of carb is going to kick in at Teagans soccer practice or if I need to tell a stranger I need help. We wonder if this is the high that is going to tip the scales to a complication.  

It’s not just about nutrition and insulin, there are dozens of variables that affect our diabetes management. As a dietitian, I help my type 1 clients with what’s on their plate but also looking beyond. We need more options to manage this disease. Thankfully JDRF is racing to find a cure for tomorrow while striving to improve the lives of those with T1D today through advocacy and outreach. 

We have studies being funded focusing on beta cell regeneration, research, screening individuals at risk of developing T1, vaccines that might prevent it, and work underway for Open Protocol, taking the closed loop system one step further. 

JDRF is also working to improve the odds for expectant mothers with their closed-loop insulin pump research – some of this research is here at OSU. I was on shots nearly the whole time I was pregnant with my daughter (we didn’t do the best family planning!). And pregnancy means fluctuating hormones, fluctuating hormones mean fluctuating insulin needs and there were days I would take 17 shots. Not finger pricks – shots. 

Can you fathom what it’s like to fear you are hurting your baby because your insulin isn’t working nor absorbing as you’d predicted? 

Type one is scary. But when we come together, we make it a little less lonely, and with perseverance we build hope. We have events like tonight where we can make a tangible difference.   

My family and I are grateful for all of you being here and I am going to be bold, as bold as I am with my insulin, and ask each of you to do all you can to help us make a difference. Your generosity and support this evening will 100% go towards JDRF mission of finding a cure, better treatment options and to prevent it in the first place.

Tonight, please help:

  • build the hope all of us need, 

  • fund research that can resolve some of the hardships and the mental burden this chronic disease carries, and 

  • break a record on the generosity a room in Central Ohio can create. 

5 Ways To Workout Your Mind & Body

Do you workout for your mind or your body? Do you do it to lose weight, be stronger, or just have more energy? Yes, I’d love to have a 6-pack, but I personally do it to be a better mom, for my blood sugars and for my mood.

Exercise invigorates our minds and is a form of self-love and stress management. It seems far-fetched to say that your workout will be spiritual, but it can leave you feeling mentally refreshed! Try one of these 5 workouts to see what fits you best, mind and body. 

#1: Running

If you’re looking to clear your head, then running or jogging is a great option. Hit 2 birds with one stone and phone a friend to come with you. I do this weekly with my friend Cindy.

Forget the treadmill, and head to a park or beach. Sure, you can do this in the city, but nature is good for your stress hormones. Push yourself to a level of attaining that ‘runner’s high’ that people talk about so often.

#2: Martial arts

Whilst martial arts isn’t perceived as very ‘zen’, there’s something to be said for taking all of your stress out on a punchbag. If you’re having a difficult week, or you just feel like things are building up, try a session like martial arts and come out of the other side on the positive.

#3: Pilates

Pilates is so good for a stressed HPA-axis (aka stressed adrenals, chronic stress). Not only is it wholly dependent upon good mental and physical control, but many people report that it helps them to feel grounded, too. As those at c2b state, ‘when you’re truly connected, you really are the best you can be.’ If you want to experience this interconnectedness, then pilates should be on your list.

#4: Yoga

Holler! This girl just signed up for a 13-month contract at a yoga studio less than 2 blocks from my house. Yoga has taken the world by storm recently, and whilst it’s not really the most energetic of workouts, it really is a test of strength, flexibility, and mental prowess. Whether you’re taking part in a hot yoga class, or you’re just trying it out at home, there is no reason not to give this a try if you’re really looking to regain some control over your mind. There are plenty of yoga options out there! PS, stay-tuned as I share the progress I’ve made in my mind, business, relationships, and body after investing months of a solid yoga practice. 

#5: Walking

Walking is the secret sauce of blood sugar control. A slightly brisk stroll will lower blood sugar in type 1 diabetics by 1-2 mg/dL per minute. Many cultures (Italy) who engage in an after-dinner stroll have a lower BMI and I am sure the bonding over the leisure exercise enhances relationships.  However, going for a long walk will help you to burn fat for energy, and it’s great for your fitness levels. On top of this, it allows you to reconnect with nature and it can really give you a chance to clear your head. Go for a walk, and think about all of the things that you appreciate!

Let me know which movement speaks to you the most. 

Have a healthy and fit day!

Kelly, your Diabetic Dietitian

How I Hack My G6 Dexcom CGM

Hack Your 6 Dexcom Sensor - KSW - #insulinpump #diabetic #type1diabetes #diabetes #diabeticnutrition #diabetichacks #diabeteshacks #diabetictips #diabeticinfo #dexcom #g6dexcom
Infographic designed and made by Tayler Silfverduk, DTR

Thanks to the awesome DOC (diabetes online community) I seamlessly hacked my G6 Dexcom and am currently on day 34 of my first sensor. I hope I don’t jinx it!

So this is how I went about it: Make sure you write down or keep the paper off of the sensor that has the code on it. You’ll need it to do a restart.

To restart:
1) Once the session ends, start new session with NO CODE.
2) Let it warm up for 5 minutes.
3) Go into the settings in the Dexcom app on your phone and stop session (towards the bottom, you will need to scroll).

4) Start a “new sensor” with the code you used when you first put on the sensor. I keep the little paper in a specific spot in my nightstand.
5) 2-hour warm up and done!

I LOVE the G6. I am so excited about it, I got a smaller wristlet that doesn’t have to carry around my meter and supplies 24/7.

Let me know if you have any questions.

When I hack my G6, I will often have to change out the extra adhesive on the site every 10 days or so. This is a 2 person job (thank you for the help husband!) and here is a link to the Simpatch adhesive I like. 

 

Q & A: TYPE 1 DIABETES AND PREGNANCY

This was originally posted on my type 1 friend’s site, Caroline Potter, when she was pregnant and going through the changes in diabetes for each trimester. Enjoy.

Please welcome Kelly Schmidt to the Flourish blog today for an encouraging and informative Q & A about Type 1 Diabetes and pregnancy!

From Caroline: One of the most beautiful parts of my very difficult pregnancy has been connecting with so many of YOU—I can’t tell you how encouraging your comments, prayers and emails have been to me and the saying “it takes a village” has come true to life!

Managing not only a difficult pregnancy but also the effects of Type 1 diabetes has been exhausting and most days far too draining to want to talk online  I wanted to bring on my beautiful friend and fellow Type 1 mom, Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN, to chat all things Type 1 pregnancy.  She is a beauty inside and out and such a wealth of knowledge! Kelly has been such an encouragement to me and I know you will love her!

**Please note, this information can also be helpful to those with gestational diabetes or blood sugar issues in pregnancy.  This is not medical advice.**

Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy Q & A with Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN & Caroline Potter, NTP

Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy Q & A

Pregnancy can be such an emotional time, but then you add the extra emotions of being high risk and managing the ever so changing and complicated task of having Type 1 diabetes.  What is your encouragement to expecting moms to manage this time of both joy and anxiety?

I am grinning as I write my response as I so easily remember the moment I found out I was pregnant. I first told my husband and then ran for my phone and called my mom with fear. I was scared to eat, exercise or cause any movement in my blood sugars with a growing fetus inside me. But then I realized there are many babies born to mothers with diabetes and I was going to be okay.

Embrace each moment and know there is a higher plan, and to tap into that inner strength and intuition and do the best you can in taking care of yourself. Round up your medical team and even social media support. I found extreme value in connecting with other women who were in the same stage I was during the initial weeks of pregnancy. While my CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) was rather awesome, I really benefited from connecting to other type 1s and I even made a Pen Pal from across the country. We had our first baby just weeks apart, but it was very beneficial to exchange notes of what foods were working for stable control and noting when crazy increases happened with our basal/long-acting. To say the least, Type 1 Diabetes allows us to have an automatic connection with one another. Don’t hesitate to seek a tribe. In the least, I’d be happy to connect.

How can meal timing and consistency play an important role in managing blood sugar levels?

I approach a client who is newly diagnosed with diabetes and a woman who is newly pregnant with diabetes in a similar fashion, and with this, consistency is one of the most important things to implement to feel good and to learn what works and doesn’t work for blood sugar control. There is an incredible value to eat at the same times and with consistent portions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It was key to have a soft plan of batch-cooked meals for the week, and by no means, did they need to be fancy.

Especially in the second half of pregnancy, insulin need to manage Type 1 diabetes can greatly increase.  Some days I feel like I am just pumping myself full of insulin and I don’t love that feeling.  What is your encouragement to women who also don’t like that feeling but also know that balanced blood sugar is best for both mom and baby?

Do whatever you need to do to keep blood sugars in range. If you are worried the excess insulin will put on weight, understand your wellbeing and baby’s well-being is most important, and the weight will come off.  IT, Will. Come. Off. Cross that bridge when you get there, and put your best health first.

Also know, as the weeks go on the amount of time needed for a pre-bolus goes up as does basal/long-acting needs. For example on pre-bolusing, first trimester you may find 15 minutes is needed before eating, 2nd trimester moves towards 30 minutes, and 3rd trimester it indeed may need to be 45 minutes. By third trimester it’s common to be on 3x as much basal as well. The amount of insulin isn’t the worry, keeping blood sugars in range is.

How can hydration affect your blood sugar in a negative way?

A 2011 study from Diabetes Care, found when adults who drank only half a liter of water (~two glasses) or less each day, they were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water. While we already have diabetes, this study is important, because it highlights how other hormones, such a vasopressin increases with dehydration, telling our kidneys to hold onto water, and this can influence higher blood sugars. As well, water/hydration, helps insulin do its job. And lastly, if wearing a CGM, being properly hydrated can help our it work be more accurate.

Beyond water, those of us with diabetes, are at risk of losing our electrolyte balance as our blood sugars move up and down. Sea salt, mineral water, and a diet abundant in vegetables can help counteract this. Please note, the use of table salt/iodized salt is not recommended. It can stress our thyroid, among other negatives in the body. Pure, unrefined sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, and Celtic salt, are all great options. Last note on salt, if you are eating mainly a whole food diet, low in dairy and grains as well, you will need to salt your food more. If you are craving salt, listen to that as a sign you need to sprinkle a little more on your food, as well as, making sure you are getting enough rest. When our adrenals are working hard, they can also stimulate salt cravings. Proper hydration can take effort, and it’s handy to always have a water bottle on you (preferably glass or stainless steel).

How can hormones, blood sugar and insulin need change postpartum—both immediately after delivery and in the months that follow?

I had a pump on both times I delivered, and I knew coming to the end of my third trimester, I needed to plan new rates. With my CDE we agreed on a total basal for after delivery and it was about 10% lower than my pre-pregnancy insulin needs. Everyone is different, but it’s common for that basal to be even lower than that, and I had to change my insulin immediately, right after holding and bonding with my child.

In the following months, there were some jumps in my insulin needs but insulin needs vary from one mom to the next. I know a few friends with type 1 – and when they nursed they needed to eat something simultaneously to prevent a low. I didn’t have that so much, but my rates were very low for the first 3 months, and went up, as my baby’s milk needs grew less. When I introduced solids (which I did at 10/11 months), my insulin needs dramatically went up.

I feel like we as Type 1 diabetics have been taught that only food influences our blood sugar, but I personally notice that stress—both physical and emotional—greatly influences my blood sugar.  What are some great ways to minimize the stress and some calming activities you enjoy?

  1. Walking is magical. A fast-paced walk can lower blood sugar 1-2 mg/dl per minute, and I took advantage of this when I knew I didn’t take my insulin early enough before eating. I still utilize walking even not pregnant. It can help catch a high, pick up the pace of insulin or mobilize a carb immediately. I remember when we lived in Chicago and all I wanted when pregnant was a little gluten-free pizza, and just 1 triangle slice sent my sugars up. So on that Friday night, I just walked up and down my stairs for 10 minutes. Also don’t be scared of highs, just work to correct them quickly. A high BG won’t hurt baby, a constant high is where the risk comes in.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, deep breaths and then hydrate. Both water and breathing (plus prayer or meditation) make everything better.
  3. Flip the script. I delivered both of my kids in Chicago and especially with Teagan, the care was horrific (sorry for the transparency NorthWestern). I was informed falsely I had ovarian cancer, then I was provided the wrong genetic results, then given results scaled against a non-high risk female, and was tossed around 10 different doctors. I wanted to go bonkers and leave the practice when I was 20/30 weeks but was nervous no one would want my high-risk case. But to say the least, I treaded through the stress and remained as calm as possible because baby feels it all. Every challenge is an opportunity and our response is more important than the circumstance. 

How can you balance knowing your own body and trusting your “gut” with also trusting your medical team in a high risk pregnancy?

Be your best advocate in labor. I controlled all my insulin/CGM/Blood sugars during labor, which was not preferred by the doctor or nurse staff, but they honored my interest and my blood sugars were steady through each. Declan was even a 36-hour labor! All of us with diabetes have a different case— the solution to blood sugar control is not the same for one person to the next.

If you want to focus on labor without thinking of blood sugar control, pass the responsibility to your team.

Exercise is a fabulous way to help naturally lower blood sugar.  Both in pregnancy and not, I have noticed walking greatly lowers my blood sugar! What are some great pregnancy safe exercises that will help balance blood sugar and not spike it?

As mentioned, I loved walking, but I also incorporated other exercises into my care. I fell in love with water aerobics and got certified as an instructor when I was 27 weeks pregnant, but I also really enjoyed yoga. I always informed the instructor I was pregnant and asked if they were aware of modifications.

Yes, some higher intensity exercise do raise blood sugar—for me barre classes, HIIT training, and heavy lifting all required and still require taking insulin before a workout.

What are your favorite real-food sources of carbohydrates?

Right now I could have fresh raspberries all day long. Overall the foods I am listing are chosen, not 100% on flavor, but on flavor and easy on my blood sugars. I have a gentle gut and some carbs spike me far more than others. For example, sweet potatoes spike me far more than white potatoes. Usually, it’s the opposite for others. My favorites include lentils (love lentil pasta), berries, cooked onions (odd, yes), Brussel sprouts, green beans, and plantains.

Do you have any supplements or vitamins you find helpful for managing Type 1 Diabetes during pregnancy?

  • Diabetic or not, a good probiotic is so important to take care of our gut while our hormones transition, but also to prevent a positive Strep B test, which is found in 1/3 of pregnant women. If we are positive for this test in the USA, we must put on antibiotics at labor. This isn’t the worse thing, but it’s beneficial to do what you can to avoid it.
  • Additionally, a high-quality fish oil is great for the baby’s brain, but also supportive of preventing postpartum depression.
  • Methylated B vitamins—type 1 pregnancy’s have higher folate needs, and methylated folate is far better than folic acid. Folic acid can even be harmful.
  • Magnesium can help with insulin sensitivity, muscle comfort, bowel movements and more.

*I always make recommendations specific to client needs and please consult your medical professional before taking anything.*

What is your best encouragement to managing Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy?

  1. Test like it’s a part-time job. This is obvious, but the pre/postprandial checks are crucial, and with my second child, I went on a CGM around week 16. It was amazing, and once I did it, it proved to kickoff a good streak of optimal A1Cs. With the CGM I realized my hormones went nutty as I went to bed at night. I remember my line graph on my CGM climbing from 9pm-11pm. I eventually got aggressive with my insulin and prevented this high from happening.
  2. Be bold with insulin. Use your diabetic intuition of when to dose more insulin than what is calculated to bring a number down or cover a food. Once the baby comes, you will have a motherly instinct and I tell my mom diabetic clients to use that instinct with their diabetes too. I understand my diabetes better than ever after having kids.
  3. Calculate insulin needs for protein. The way I do this (and I am sure you have heard of this): add the protein in a meal and divide it in half and finally add in the carbs. That number is what you use for measuring your insulin needs. Example meal: a 3 egg, veg omelet. An egg has 6g of protein, so 6 x 3 = 18. Take that 18/2 and you get 9. So 9g plus whatever carbs are in the veg, so we can pretend it’s 5. So total “carbs” to calculate insulin needs is 14 grams.
  4. Don’t read too far into the “no-no’s” for pregnancy ie. no shellfish, wine, soft cheeses, etc. Every country, as I am sure you know, has different suggestions. Practice using your instincts here. Full transparency, I enjoyed a few glasses of wine with each pregnancy as it was thoroughly enjoyed and gentle on my blood sugars.

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