EPISODE 39 | CAN BLOOD SUGARS AFFECT YOUR FERTILITY & PREGNANCY w/ Lily Nichols RDN, CDE

This week, we are joined again by the very knowledgeable (and one of our most popular Fertile Minds podcast guests) Lily Nichols. Not only is Lily a devoted mom, but she is a stellar author and a registered dietitian/nutritionist with a flair for interpreting scientific data and applying it to the modern-day woman. She speaks with Hillary today on her work helping women learn how to prevent or manage their Gestational Diabetes. She also discusses how we test for it, what makes someone more susceptible to acquiring it, and what the long-term complications are for both mama and baby once they are diagnosed with it.

Lily presents a unique approach in helping women manage their diet and lifestyle in her bestselling books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetesand Real Food for Pregnancy.

Takeaway:

[2:13] Lily describes what Gestational Diabetes is and is not. It is a type of Diabetes that develops or is diagnosed during pregnancy. Typically, your body is having trouble processing carbohydrates, causing high blood sugar.

[4:06] Lily uses a hybrid approach when screening for Gestational Diabetes, mixing traditional glucose tolerance tests with discussing their diet and lifestyle choices.

[7:08] Diet and lifestyle are two factors we can be proactive about in pregnancy, as well as in pre-conception.

[8:26] We are seeing that even mildly elevated is an issue, so it’s important women find out early. 49 to 52 percent have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and most of them have yet to be diagnosed.

[8:50] We want to use A1C readings in pre-conception and in the first trimester and after that look at blood sugars. If A1C has not gone down later in pregnancy, that is a warning sign that something is going on. We recommend getting an over-the-counter glucometer and monitoring your blood sugar at home first thing in the morning and one to two hours after meals to get an idea of how your body responds to specific foods.

DOWNLOAD BLOOD GLUCOSE TRACKER

[12:58] Lily discusses the acceptable levels of fasting and non-fasting blood sugars in pregnant women. We naturally see lower blood sugar levels in a typical pregnancy, along with changes in the significant thyroid and the burning of more fat to send fatty acids to the baby.

[17:32] During pregnancy, if your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, there is a direct line from you to your baby to via umbilical cord. There’s also a physiological reason that women may not feel like eating during pregnancy, to try and push towards ketosis. This makes sense as to why breastfeeding is the best diet ever, as it pulls all the fat to give to the baby.

[22:19] When we have been on a sugar binge and try to come off of sugar, that is happening to the baby the first couple days, so you can imagine how jarring that is until they re-regulate.

[23:34] Even with a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, the recommendation of allowable daily carbs is still very high. Lily observed her clients blood sugar getting worse when they followed the protocol and found that a lower level of carbohydrates is ideal.

[27:34] The second part of Lily’s research was looking at ketones and the different part of ketosis. The benefit of the ketogenic diet becoming popular is now there is more discussion on what it means to be in ketosis and what types of ketosis are safe to be in.

[33:39] Lily observes that most women gain their weight in the second and early third trimester and tend to level out unless there is fluid retention.

[36:06] The pancreas is not accustomed to pumping out a large amount of insulin consistently.

[39:11] While it may be annoying and tedious, testing your blood sugar levels daily is well worth it for acquiring interesting data.

[40:41] We discuss the risk factors of how blood sugar issues may affect our children’s fertility and generations down the line. What we may be seeing now may be the epigenetic effect from our low-fat diet from the 1980’s.

[45:21] As you tend to get beyond the 35 and 40 BMI, you do see more pregnancy complications and macrosomia with an epigenetic carryover effect through generations and beyond.

[48:59] People feel like they have acquired a disease, but really your body is adapting to the environment in which it is currently in.

[49:18] Plan of action:

●     Start monitoring A1C & post-meal blood sugars pre-conception, if possible.

●     Pull an A1C in the first trimester and if it’s suspect get in touch with someone like Lily to get it under control. Check out Lily’s books AND video course, or join her Facebook group.

●     Eat real food throughout your pregnancy and a reasonable amount of carbs that works for you.

●     Continue to eat the same way, maybe even more good fats while you are breastfeeding to enhance your breast milk.

●     Bring up your children on the same diet they were exposed to in utero and educate them about blood sugars and food in general so they can affect the next two generations in a healthy way.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

Pilatesnutritionist.com

http://pilatesnutritionist.com/why-i-drank-the-glucola/
http://pilatesnutritionist.com/i-failed-the-glucola/

Gestational Diabetes Course

California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program

Real Food for Gestational Diabetes: An Effective Alternative to the Conventional Nutrition Approach,
by Lily Nichols

Does Gestational Diabetes Occur in Pregnant Mares?  

Twitter.com/LilyNicholsRDN

Lily’s Instagram

 

Continue Your Journey:

Link to sign up for free 29-day meditation challenge

@ladypotions4uon Twitter

@ladypotions4uon Instagram

Disclaimer * 

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 31 | REAL FOOD FOR REAL PREGNANCY w/ Lily Nichols RDN, CDE

How to Feel Good, Build a Healthy Baby and Avoid Gestational Diabetes

Description: Today we welcome Lily Nichols, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator,  researcher and an author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Lily draws from the current scientific literature and blends it with the wisdom of traditional culture and nature. We talk about the Western expectation of women managing it all directly after pregnancy and giving birth, and Lily’s prescription for healing and self-care. She shares how she began backing philosophy with results and clinical data to author two of her groundbreaking books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes and Real Food for Pregnancy. She also gives some of her top picks for pregnancy food, embracing mindfulness, and how she feeds her family for months at a time using only two animals. Let your intuition guide you, and then use Lily’s book to prove these decisions with scientifically proven data.

Get the first chapter of Real Food for Pregnancy Free

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

 

Takeaway:

[2:26] Lily wrote Real Food for Pregnancy when her son was 10 months old, and she herself was healing from pregnancy and birth.

[3:48] Lily encourages prioritizing food and self-care at all stages of pregnancy, including the preventative stage prior, and the fourth trimester, the postpartum months.

[7:38] It was almost by accident that Lily got into the nutrition field. She was looking for a part-time role in the nutrition field that did not include a hospital, saw an opening for California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program and starting working clinically in Gestational Diabetes. As she implemented the nutrition element of the protocol in the clinic, she noticed a lack of improvement. The common sense side of her observed the current guidelines didn’t emphasize real foods, and were pretty high-carb.

[8:47] Women with Gestational Diabetes are often not able to tolerate large amounts of carbs without elevated blood sugar. These findings led Lily down the path of researching a low carb and nutrient dense diet from real foods. She started using it clinically and knew she was on to something with excellent results. This led her to author her first book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. This changed the course of how many viewed their philosophy in the nutrition and pregnancy field.

[14:38] Lily comes at the information from a proactive and informed outcome, not a fear-based one.

[18:12] Lily shares some sample meal plans compared to the current recommended ones, and the breakdown of the ratio between protein, carb, etc.

[21:20] Carbohydrates are in many vegetables and fruits.

[22:07] There is very little nutrition education for MD’s, and much of what they are learning is outdated. One example is the hesitancy for the low carb diet due to ketones in the urine.

[24:27] Organ meats and liver are the most nutrient dense parts of an animal. Supplying a high amount of iron, choline and B12, Lily supplies recipe ideas in her books on incorporating it dishes, so you aren’t eating a whole plate of just liver.

[35:07] When choosing animal products, Lily is a proponent of choosing the highest quality and best sourced meat. Nothing goes to waste and she encourages families to purchase from a farmer and utilize the whole animal.

[38:57] Even the most culinary-challenged person can develop basic skills to make a flavorful and nutritious meal.

[45:14] Lily gives us some good news — her opinion is that small amounts of caffeine are okay. A lot of the foods that are mentioned to avoid due to food borne illness are also ones that provide critical nutrients. She suggests eating foods sourced from high quality places, and the risk is extremely low. 

[52:58] Eating well is one of the ways we can be mindful in pregnancy. Mindful moments, spiritual self-care and moving our body are also key elements to keep our body aligned through the process. It’s not about pushing and resisting, it’s about being mindful and going with the flow in a gentle. guided way.

 

Continuing your journey:

Lily Nichols Blog

Real Food for Pregnancy- amazon

Real Food for Pregnancy — Get the First Chapter Free 

Gestational Diabetes info and course by Lily Nichols

Real Food for Gestational Diabetes

California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program

@lilynicholsrdn on Instagram

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Disclaimer * 

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 27 | ADVANCEMENTS IN TREATING RECURRENT PREGNANCY LOSS | Dr. Zev Williams, M.D, PhD

Today’s episode features Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D. He is the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center and is a nationally-recognized clinician and researcher in the area of recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. Not only is he one of the most brilliant minds I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing, he is incredibly humble, gracious, and passionate about his work. His intentions to help couples overcome recurrent pregnancy loss by building healthy happy families came through so clearly during this chat.

We touched on why miscarriage rates are so high and why the public has false perceptions about it being a rare event. He spoke about how his research has even uncovered a way to find out if the cause of a miscarriage was chromosomal even years after the fact in some cases. He explained the differences in PGD and PGS testing when using IVF and when and for whom it might be highly beneficial. We also spoke about MTHFR gene mutation, and what it really means in regards to treatment strategy and further testing. We even touched on his work with stem cells and the potential they have for one day helping women who experience premature ovarian failure to overcome this devastating diagnosis. He explained new ways to treat endometriosis and preserve fertility and new ways to diagnose PCOS. 

Takeaway:

[1:15] Dr. Williams completed his M.D. and Ph.D. training in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine before continuing to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital for his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. After completing his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Weill Cornell, Dr. Williams then did a post-doctoral fellowship in RNA biology in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Tuschl at Rockefeller University.

[1:45] Dr. Williams has also achieved success in federally-funded research projects in several different areas of study, having received numerous NIH grants to support his work. Currently, as part of an NIH R01 grant, Dr. Williams is engaged with a research project intended to use placental RNA as a screening tool for diseases and complications of pregnancy, to enable early intervention, and to provide insights into disease pathogenesis for things like pre-eclampsia.

[4:35] Dr. Williams works with couples and doctors all over the world, and the research that he and his colleagues find benefits those all over looking for answers on fertility.

[5:16] The PEARL Program that Dr. Williams started stands for Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. It is one of the only centers in the world that is both clinically focused, and a basic/translational research program dedicated trying to understand what causes unexplained miscarriages and trying to find ways methods to prevent them in the future.

[12:22] One of the realities of human reproduction is that is a very inefficient process. Of the eggs that get fertilized, very few result in a live birth.

[19:22] Dr. Williams explains the difference between PGD and PGS testing when using IVF, and who may benefit from these tests.

[26:54] We cover the MTHFR gene mutation and antiphospholipids, and what it really means in regards to treatment, strategy, and further testing.

[32:45] Dr. Williams explains the work on helping the brain to produce its own FSH (follicle stimulating hormones) which is the bodies own version of that hormone compared to traditional injections with his CORAL IVF which is an oral IVF requiring only one shot instead of 30.

[41:23] Dr. Williams shares the new ways to treat endometriosis and preserve fertility and new ways to diagnose PCOS.

[45:27] Diet is, of course, important to overall health, but also very important to pregnancy success. There are some factors that lead to Dr. Williams’ recommending a diet low in carbs and sugar.

[46:12] Egg freezing has become successful, but the challenge is that often women are thinking about freezing their eggs in their 20’s when the eggs have already lowered in quality. And fertilized eggs freeze better than eggs which require a partner.

[49:58] Once you are trying to conceive (and of course through all of the process), make sure to support each other. It’s a tough journey and you want to be going through it together.

Take the Fertile Minds Meditation challenge and see what a fertile mind feels like. Each day you’ll receive access to a 15 minute guided meditation designed to yield more clarity and calm no matter where you are on your path to building a family.

If you are feeling frustrated and wish you could experience feeling more patient this challenge is for you.

If you are finding yourself resentful and want to feel empowered instead this challenge is for you.

If you are feeling lost and overwhelmed with all things fertility and long to be more centered during the process of striving for a family this challenge is for you.

If you’ve wanted to add meditation to your self care routine but had no idea where to start this challenge is for you.

You'll learn how to shift your attention from the future to the present moment helping you to feel more fulfilled and patient with the process, your life, your partner and maybe even God.

You won't know though until you commit to the challenge. I'll be there with you every step of the way, one complete menstrual cycle, until it becomes your new favorite habit. Meditate, Listen, Trust, Repeat

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Dr. Zev Williams 

Dr. Zev Williams Bio 

Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology  

Efficient Differentiation of Steroidogenic and Germ-Like Cells from Epigenetically Related iPSCs Derived from Ovarian Granulosa Cells

FMR1 targets distinct mRNA sequence elements to regulate protein expression 

Nytimes.com/2015/11/26/health/progesterone-may-not-help-women-with-history-of-miscarriages-study-finds

Huffingtonpost.com/science-of-us/miscarriage_b_8000760.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

Wsj.com/articles/solving-the-mystery-of-miscarriages-1434389396

Columbiaobgyn.org/profile/s-zev-williams-md

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26000502

Nyp.org/enewsletters/advances/2018/gynecology/2018-Advances-Gynecology-Issue1.html

Continue Your Journey:

Link to sign up for free 29-day meditation challenge

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

 

Disclaimer *

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.


EPISODE 5 | MINDFUL MOMENTS | Don Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

 

Episode 5- Mindful Moments and The Four Agreements

Thank you for joining me for the first installment of Mindful Moments on Fertile Minds Radio. If you listened to episode 1 or you have worked with me in the past than you already know meditation is a large part of what I do to keep rising towards the best version of myself AND a big part of what I teach to my patients in order to help them have a deeper inner awareness and to achieve high mental clarity. Now, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with fertility? 

In my opinion it has everything to do with conceiving and here’s why. I think of meditation as a tool that we can use to help cultivate peace during stressful times. It’s a practice that starts to leak into the rest of our daily life, helping us to feel calm and clear even when we are in the middle of the storm with big decisions to be made. Further more, it’s a tool that we can use to calm the nervous system. 

When the nervous system is in fight or flight, it’s broadcasting the message to every single sell in our bodies that the world is not a safe place at the moment and it’s certainly not a good time to procreate. It’s telling our immunity and sex hormones to drop, our blood to clot incase we get cut and shunting our blood flow to our limbs away fro our organs so we can fight or run away. Now most of us have pretty stressful lives and end up in a low grade fight or flight most of our day. The problem is, that the reptilian part of our brain that governs our body's reaction to whether the Nervous System is broadcasting the message “fight or run” vs “it’s time to feed and breed,” doesn’t realize that normal stressors like your boss, a full email inbox, or getting your period when you were sure that you were pregnant this time, isn’t exactly the same as a saber tooth tiger ready to make us their next meal. This is why meditation is a valuable tool now more than ever. It can over-ride this very primal part of our brain that hasn’t yet caught up to the immense stimuli we come into contact with moment to moment. Life has changed at a rapid pace, but our brains are a little slow to catch up- and believe it or not the tool of mediation can help us to hack our own nervous system. 

 

 

So it can help us to stay calm not only while trying to conceive, but while we are pregnant which is super important because that baby is being bathed in a biochemical reaction you creating in reaction to every thought you have. Think about that for a second. You have a thought, an emotion occurs, neurons in your brain fire changing your biochemistry and bam, your baby absorbs it. This is why I love to teach women to meditate BEFORE they get pregnant. 

And lastly, don’t forget the ultimate test for which you will be super glad you have access to this tool called meditation- parenting. 

Your kids are going to challenge you to grow on every single level more than you could ever dream. They’re like little mirrors of self realization beaming back at you 24/7 and we all know self awareness or constructive criticism is easier to take when your calm, so why not cultivate this practice now?

At the beginning of the episode I read a quote for Ghandi that I absolutely love. It’s such a great reminder that it’s our minds that ultimately create our destiny.

There is alignment between our inner dialogue and our outer dialogue... between what we’re thinking and what we’re doing; between how we’re feeling and how we’re living life; between what our thoughts are and what we’re saying.

It’s easier to speak from the heart when there’s alignment.  It’s easier to not have to wonder, “Is this person really on my side?”  There’s passion and excitement in your alignment, there’s freedom and a code that lets you live your human expression from a more universal space.  This couldn’t be more important than when you are communicating with your partner and your health care providers during this vulnerable time of trying to conceive. 

Today’s meditation is based on a simple code that I find relevant to clarity, daily evolution, & personal transformation: the Four Agreements by the author don Miguel Ruiz. Now, my meditation teacher davidji has encouraged me to get this meditation out there because it’s so useful to so many. It’s so simple, yet so true. I used to have a print out of the four agreements hanging on the wall next to my desk during graduate school, because it seemed that every patient I had that was emotionally suffering could somehow be relieved by simply adopting one or a few of these agreements into their lives. 

It's a powerful code to integrate into every word, thought and deed, and mostly likely –these four timeless truths- are already integrated in some way into your Sacred Values.  If nothing else, they can act as a powerful opener of your heart; and that will allow you to create more love in your life, feel more love and give more love. If you are asking yourself right now, I don’t know what my sacred values are, I encourage you to check out davidji’s new book Sacred Powers launching this Winter. In it you’ll find powerful exercises to execute after you meditate to help you design your divine code. Once you decide the principles you are committed to living your life by, making decisions big and small get a whole lot easier. 

The Four Agreements are:

#1.  Be impeccable with your word. 

#2.  Don’t take anything personally

#3.  Don’t make assumptions

#4.  Always do your best

For today’s meditation I’m going to give you examples of how don Miguel Ruiz’s concept of the four agreements could pertain to a fertility journey. So Get comfy and let's meditate together. 

If you love this meditation and want to own it without this intro so you can do it anytime anyplace simply text 4Agreements to 44222. 

 

Continue the Journey

Your Brain On Meditation- What Happens?

My beloved teacher davidji

The Four Agreements- Audible

The Four Agreements- Amazon

Special Thanks to Musician

Christopher Lloyd Clark

This Meditation- text 4Agreements to 44222- if you get a message that say service access denied call T mobile and ask them to "enable short message codes."

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