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Conception and blood sugar levels

Insulin resistance affects the success of trying for a baby because it throws the conception hormones out. How can you ensure it is not an issue for you?


Posted: 5 September 2009
by Laura Lee Davies


If you are diabetic, it is worth discussing this with your GP before you start trying for a baby. However, so long as you are keeping your blood sugar levels in check and are in good general health, there is no reason why you and your baby can't enjoy a healthy pregnancy and birth. The same is true for women who have PCOS which can make conception tricky, but not always impossible.
However, even those women who are not known to have a related condition like those above can find that their blood sugar levels get in the way of successful conception.

What is insulin resistance?
Eating foods which contain carbohydrates causes our blood sugar levels to rise and as a response, our bodies create insulin to make sure the sugar can be used as energy. If we eat foods which have a low-GI count (they figure low down on the glycaemix index, which allows the body to go through the blood sugar-insulin process gradually) then we do not tax our system too heavily. However, if we foods which cause our blood sugar levels to shoot up too quickly (high-GI foods) then our insulin levels can be stretched too far. A regular diet full of these foods can build up such a strain on our bodies that we develop insulin resistance.
This skews the hormonal balance needed for ovulation and consequently it will affect your chances of getting pregnant.

What can you do about it?
Although being overweight does not mean it is impossible to get pregnant, it can affect your chances of developing insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
If you have a history of diabetes in your family, you should also reign in your diet. Indeed, it is good practice for any woman trying to get pregnant.
Try to avoid getting really hungry and then having a large meal, as this can affect how much strain it puts on your system in one go. Instead, have smaller main meals – don't miss breakfast – and carry around smaller, healthy snacks like nuts or fruits.
Don't cut out high-GI foods altogether as some are very nutrious and, when eaten as part of a meal with lower-GI foods, can be just what your body needs. It is a very complicated art, though many supermarkets now label some foods for guidance.
For some ideas about what foods are low or high on the GI, visit www.glycaemicindex.com.


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