Diabetic Diet for Non-Diabetic Mom

September 19, 1994
Lake Mary, Florida, USA
Fedora S. walks into her doctor’s office for a routine prenatal check up. She is 32 weeks pregnant. Her estimated due date (EDC) of November 15, 1994, is slowly getting closer, and each prenatal visit marks another milestone on the joyful journey. A nurse calls her name, and she gets up and walks into the back office to be put through the customary pre-appointment paces. She steps on the scale as usual, and the nurse’s eyes widen slightly as she double checks Fedora’s chart, but she says nothing. In the exam room, the Nurse Practitioner who sees Fedora today has the same reaction to her weight gain over the last three weeks…but it is her responsibility to do something about it.

Fedora is a small-framed woman, just five feet tall, who weighed 111 pounds in January before she became pregnant. She is now 32 weeks along and weighs 142 pounds…a gain of 31 pounds, which is still well within the normal range.

Overall, she’s gained a reasonable amount, but she has gained 15 pounds since she was in for her one hour glucose screen on September 2 - that was just three weeks ago - which means she has doubled her total pregnancy weight gain in just three weeks. Her glucose screen came back normal, but the Nurse Practitioner is still concerned about the suddenness of her weight gain. So she gives Fedora a pamphlet called, “Managing Your Diabetes” which includes a 1500-calorie meal plan and tips for reducing salt, sugar and caloric intake…and sends her on her way.

Following this appointment, Fedora called Dr. Brewer’s Hotline. The next day she wrote him a letter documenting her prenatal visit and enclosed a copy of the diet she was given to follow.

“Dear Dr. Brewer, “Included is a copy of the diet given to me by the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office due to an increase of my weight of 15# in 3 weeks…” [no other “reason”!!]

The diet itself is frightening, particularly if you consider that her unborn baby is relying on every bite of food she takes for it’s nourishment, bone and muscle growth, and brain development. This diabetic diet specifies fat-free drinks, such as bouillon, coffee and diet soda. All “sweet substitutes” are to be sugar-free (which in today’s culture almost guarantees the use of aspartame (NutraSweet) which has it’s own set of problems and is definitely contra-indicated in pregnancy). Seasonings are to be salt-free, and there is a whole list of ways to avoid salt and salty foods.

Dr. Brewer is amazed and even angered that this diet was given to a pregnant woman in 1994. “Fedora is a NON-DIABETIC mom!” he says emphatically. So why in the world was she given information on How to Plan Meals for Better Diabetes Control? “Fedora [gained weight because she] was on our excellent, adequate diet for over a month. She did not have diabetes!”

He continues: “This diet - only 70 grams protein, low on salt and calories - causes low blood volume, premature birth, and low birth weight human infants….In the last trimester of human pregnancy (32 weeks here) this creates iatro-hypovolemia, IUGR, LBW, MTLPMetabolic-Toxemia-of-Late-Pregnancy---th...…”

“No mercy, no reason! And no hard data!” he exclaims indignantly.


Fedora’s letter to Dr. Brewer closes:

“…Thank you so much for all the information your provided me during yesterday’s phone conversation. The nutrition video and your book have been particularly helpful and informative.”

Isn’t it about time all pregnant women became aware of the truth about diet and drugs in pregnancy? Have you asked your Ob-Gyn what you should be eating? Has s/he ever talked to you about nutrition, or just about weight gain? There is a big difference between the two!

Epilogue

A baby girl, Monica Ashley, was born to Fedora on December 1, 1994, two weeks past her EDC. She weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz. (3174 grams) and was 20 1/4″ long. Certainly nowhere near a macrosomic or LGA (large for gestational age) baby, the feared result of diabetes during pregnancy. And even that fear remains unproven, as both diabetic and non-diabetic women have equal rates of macrosomic babies. (Macrosomia is thought to increase the incidence of shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulders become lodged in the birth canal. But dystocia can usually be corrected if your care provider knows about the Gaskin Maneuver.)


Notes: “Iatro” indicates something doctor-caused, often a disease or condition, as in iatrogenicCaused-by,-or-originating-with,-the-doct....

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