As women, many of us were taught to “be nice,” or “be seen and not heard.” As patients, this can translate into accepting tests, procedures, and treatments that we feel we don’t want or need, or that, in this case, might not be safe for us or our babies! ~ 2LifeDoula
So well said!! (insert round of applause) In this case, this statement was in regards to an interesting article on Gestational Diabetes: Please don’t drink the Glucola drink without reading the label! Well worth the read if you are pregnant and exploring your options or care about someone who is.
Where was this article when I needed it? I still remember that sickly sweet drink that I detested so much. I really struggled to drink it (being someone who doesn’t drink soft drinks/ soda normally) It was a BIG shock to my system and I still remember how my baby jumped and wriggled around madly inside my tummy (in protest?!!) when that massive dose of refined sugar hit my body in a big hurry…
I would have done a happy dance if someone had given me a reason WHY NOT to drink it or that I could get the same outcome in a different way…..I wasn’t sure if I needed it but was sure as day that I didn’t want it!!
This article has created quite a stir in my empowering birth community on facebook. I believe healthy discussion is always a great thing as it means we are actually thinking for ourselves and questioning the system as informed adults rather than ‘nice’ little girls that do what we are told without question!
Nice girls have no place in birthing ~ this is women’s work so we better knock that out in a big hurry. (in terms of playing centre stage, I am not talking about kids being present on the sidelines which is a whole other story)
As a pregnant woman (or ‘patient,’ though I loathe that word in this healthy context!) you certainly have the right to read the label on the glucose test drink you are offered before agreeing to the test! And yet how many of us have been taught to do this ~ to question authority figures or the rules of the game? Not many.
We are certainly not told by our caregivers that we have a choice in whether we are to have any particular test or procedure or not done to us, even though it is our body and our baby and it is our absolute right. Where are the pros and cons, the real truth when we need it most?
Imagine if we were encouraged to seek out the truth and our personal truth (that instinctive feeling we get strongly in our gut that is often right) before agreeing to anything? Or to do our own research or get a second opinion before making a decision on our care and yet sometimes this is exactly what is required.
Meanwhile the world famous Michel Odent offers a fascinating new perspective on the whole GD debate on p100 of his book, “Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens” (warning: long but SO worth the read!):
Gestational diabetes” is a typical example of a term with a strong nocebo effect (The nocebo effect is a negative effect on the emotional state of pregnant women and indirectly of their families. It occurs whenever a health professional does more harm than good by interfering with the imagination, the fantasy life or the beliefs of a patient or pregnant woman).
It has the power to transform a happy pregnant woman into an anxious or depressed one. There are no symptoms of gestational diabetes: it has been called a ‘diagnosis still looking for a disease’. It is the interpretation of a test (glucose tolerance test or GTT) that is routine in many countries: if the glycaemia (amount of glucose in the blood) is considered too high after absorption of sugar, the test is positive. One of the roles of the placenta is to manipulate maternal physiology for foetal benefit: the placenta, as an endocrine gland, is the advocate of the baby.
At a certain phase of foetal development, there is an increased demand for glucose. Some women (according to their metabolic type) must make a bigger effort than others to satisfy this demand. These women are labelled as having ‘gestational diabetes’. A huge study, involving all mothers and newborns registered by the Canadian Institute for Health Information from 1984 to 1996 (even numbered years only) could not detect any beneficial effects of routine screening on pregnancy outcomes. A review of the medical literature by the US Preventive Services task force reached similar conclusions.
I have been given the opportunity, in a mainstream medical journal, to suggest that this term should be considered useless. Instead of using it, it would be more cost-effective to routinely spend longer than usual discussing in depth with *all* pregnant women several aspects of their lifestyle, in particular the importance of daily physical activity and, in the age of soft drinks and white bread, issues such as high versus low glycaemic index foods. It is true that women who have been diagnosed as having gestational diabetes are more at risk than others of developing type-2 diabetes later on in life.
This fact is used as an argument for routinely screening pregnant women, and medicalized antenatal care is seen as the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ in detecting women at risk of becoming diabetic. Would it not be better to make antenatal care the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ for reconsidering several aspects of our modern lifestyle? Instead of focusing on the prevention of a limited number of maternal disorders, would it not be more advantageous to positively promote health and to develop long-term thinking?
One of the side effects of the term ‘gestational diabetes’ is to transform the interpretation of the results of a test into a disease. The status of the disease implies that complications have been identified. It is commonplace to claim that macrosomia (a big baby) is the main complication. This should be considered an association. It is obvious that the energy requirements of a big baby are not the same as the requirements of a small one: the mother, who must make a bigger effort than others, is labelled as having ‘gestational diabetes’. The worst scenario is when the so-called disease is actively treated, usually by insulin.
This attitude is based on a lack of understanding of the physiological processes. It is not understood that to satisfy the requirements of her baby the mother must increase her insulin resistance in order to maintain nutrient flow to the growing foetus. Active treatment will neutralize the demand expressed by the placenta and will inhibit the growth of the baby, particularly the growth of its brain. It is significant that active treatment tends to moderate birth weight, but does not influence Body Mass Index at age four- to five-years-old. Children must catch up. From an exploration of the Primal Health Research Database using the keyword ‘catch-up growth’, it appears that the need to catch up after intra-unterine deprivation is a handicap with negative long-term consequences.
The nocebo effect of the term ‘gestational diabetes’ is becoming a serious issue. The use of enlarged criteria to interpret the tests is one of the reasons why the number of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes is increasing.”
Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject ~ feel free to leave a note below the post.
In the end (or in this case the beginning) the choice is always yours. Just do yourself and your unborn baby a favour and make it an informed one that feels right for you. Then you will have found your truth.
Wishing you much sweetness in your journey into motherhood.
Yours in informed decision making,
Birth Goddess: A Positive Birth Revolution