Friday, February 17, 2012

32 week appointment update

I am now 33 weeks, but figured I better update before 34 weeks hits and we have our next appointment! We are every 2 weeks now - the 34 week one takes place at the midwife's office, but the 36 week one takes place at our home! Exciting!

Anyways, 32 weeks appointment was somewhat boring - and that's a good thing! We went over labs and my liver panel was great, everything else looked good, only thing that had dropped down since my first trimester blood draw was Vitamin D, which I chalk up to the winter, so I added another 2,000 IU pill to my daily regimen (from 4,400IU a day to 6,400IU a day.) My blood pressure was taken and wasn't ideal at 139/74, but then my pulse was high, too - about 104 - so I thought my positioning must have been off and we decided to retake it. My blood pressure is pretty sensitive to how I'm sitting, it seems. If I have crossed legs, I need to have them uncrossed for awhile beforehand. In this case, I was sitting on the daybed and one of my legs seemed to be tucked and bent under the other beforehand, so I made sure to sit back and straighten my legs out for a long time beforehand. The next time we did my bp & pulse, it was perfect :) 128/60-something, I believe? Something like that, which is my baseline this whole pregnancy. Yay! We discussed some things about homebirthing, such as when to start gathering and ordering supplies, and I mentioned how crazy it felt to actually be talking about a homebirth! I think I so badly wanted to get to 29 weeks that I never thought about the time AFTER 29 weeks...which I now get to do!

Friday, February 3, 2012

thoughts on heart health & preeclampsia on Go Red for Women Day.

Did you know today is National Go Red for Women Day? I forgot, until I saw something on TV about it over my lunch break at work. It was started by the American Heart Association as a way to bring attention to the high number of women with heart disease. The show on TV was "The Revolution," and they were talking about risk factors for heart disease. One of them guessed it, pre-eclampsia. The doctor on the show mentioned that having pre-e was like a failed stress test for your heart.

I think it was sometime in late 2010 or early 2011 when research came out saying that pre-eclampsia is linked to heart disease risk. From

"Women who have had preeclampsia are at a roughly twofold increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life, compared with women who did not have preeclampsia," said lead researcher David Williams, a consultant obstetric physician at the Institute for Women's Health at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Obstetric Hospital, University College London. "Specifically, these women have an almost fourfold increased risk of hypertension, and a doubling of the risk of heart disease, stroke, and venous thromboembolism," he added.
I first heard that news story on the Today Show and it hit me - hard. I was 22 when I had pre-e the first time, and I had already been diagnosed as having high cholesterol by then. But I've never topped out past 135 lbs at 5'8"! I didn't LOOK unhealthy. Then at 24, I get pre-e and HELLP syndrome at 29 weeks along in my pregnancy, and after that, it hit me. This was my wake-up call. It was my "girl, you have GOT to get healthy" call. I had to change my ways. And I have chronicled most of that in this blog here. Many things I am doing just in this pregnancy, but before I was pregnant, I had started exercising and had revised my diet - a high protein diet filled with a variety of healthy options and less junk and carbs. I also quit drinking pop - because pop consumption is linked to heart disease, too.

So today, I wanted to post about the link between the two. I had to change my lifestyle or I was just asking for more trouble. And the many things I've done to improve my health will not be stopped when this pregnancy is over, but will continue for the rest of my life. I have to do everything I can, with the increased risks, to live a long, heart-healthy life for myself, and for my kids. And I have to educate my own children about heart health and instill these health values in them as well - particular my daughter - because of my increased risks, she is also at risk of pre-eclampsia & heart disease, just because she had a mom who had pre-e. I feel like I'm doing a small part in raising awareness, at least in my own circle of family and friends, anyways :)

protein is my drug!

This is from a personal journal of mine, one where I tend not to capitalize words, but I thought it was worth sharing some thoughts I had today on my high protein diet.

"i have to believe that a LARGE part of the reason i had pre-e the last two pregnancies and not this one (so far, knock on wood) is my diet. honestly, i know it was a large if not the largest part. i still can't believe sometimes how positively my body responds to protein intake, either because it's used to it or it needs it - probably both. i was so naive before and i had so little nutrition knowledge, it's no wonder my body shut down on me. to think if i'd not changed things with this third baby...i would have probably had a preemie earlier than 29 weeks. 

it's like a drug, almost. tired? eat protein! cranky? eat protein! the response my body has to protein is super quick, too. and let's not even think about what my day would be like without the protein smoothie first thing in the morning. i literally can't function without it - the other day i was super behind in making it when i cut my finger on a can and had to deal with nonstop bleeding for about a half hour. in that time, my body was FREAKING out at me. once i had the smoothie...ahh. all was well. it's like my body breathes a big sigh of relief and thanks me. today, i was unfocused, tired and cranky at work. i realized the last time i had protein was about 10AM, and it was nearly noon - time for some protein! i had turkey jerky and within like, 5 minutes, i was zippy and alert and feeling NORMAL!

i wonder what my nutritional needs will be in the postpartum period. late summer 2010 is when i started watching my intake of protein and carbs (like, my body responds to carbs if eaten alone, but if eaten with protein it's fine, or when i wake up from a nap, eat protein ASAP, etc.) i imagine i'll need to intake a fair amount again, though not 125+g like in this pregnancy. maybe 75-100? i don't know. i'm sure i'll be nursing two kids. i am a little sick of this protein smoothie business, but it's so helpful, so i'm sure i'll have to keep that up for a long while."