Blood Sugar: Where is it all Going? Also… Migraines

I mentioned before that my fasting blood sugar these days is ten points below my normal level, and has been since I got pregnant. I have no idea why, and still have no luck finding any literature on the subject. The web is saturated with info on gestational diabetes, and it seems to crowd out even the possibility of discussing other things that might happen to your blood glucose levels as a result of pregnancy. Irritating!!

My post-meal blood sugars have also been unusually low. I ran a test yesterday with a bowl of oatmeal. Normally a bowl of oatmeal would spike my blood sugar over 130 (possibly over 150, depending on how large a bowl), and my sugars would remain elevated for at least two hours.

8:40– ate oatmeal (with flaxseed meal, butter, and salt– no sweeteners)

9:40– blood glucose 93

10:10– blood glucose 85

10:40– blood glucose 74

11:10– blood glucose 74

So…  never got a measurement over 100, returned to my normal fasting level by 1.5 hours out, and seem to have leveled off at my new pregnancy-fasting-level by 2 hours. You might think I’d be thrilled–after all, my higher-than-healthy blood sugars have suddenly become nowhere-near-too-high. But it’s perplexing to me because I don’t understand WHY that’s happened. It’s not a result of the move, or more exercise, or a change in diet– the numbers dropped as soon as I got pregnant, and BEFORE any of those things happened. I’m not consuming fewer sugars than before, so where is it all going? Did getting pregnant some how make me MORE insulin-sensitive instead of less? Am I suddenly producing truckloads more insulin (which would be bad)? Is the baby somehow taking the hit for me (also bad)?

When I have a good day (i.e. don’t have to go anywhere) I plan to repeat the test over four hours. I’m a little paranoid about reactive hypoglycemia here, given what was happening to me after eating in restaurants. I got a measurement of 60 on my glucometer a couple of days ago, which freaked me out. I immediately tested again– and got 75, so maybe it was a bum test strip. And to be honest, I don’t really feel that great when my blood sugar is at 74. I feel kind of fuzzy-headed and cranky.

And now… migraines.  I’ve suffered migraines since I was 11. Some lucky migraineurs go into complete remission during pregnancy and nursing. Most experience at least a change in the migraine pattern, and often a reduction in the frequency of headaches. This happened to me. I still get migraines, but not as often– the first three months I had only two migraines total, down from an average of 3-5 per month. I’ve had two more in the last two weeks, so it’s not totally reliable, but…  decreased frequency is nice. I’ve also noticed a substantial decrease in severity, which is a great relief since I can’t take any of the effective painkillers while pregnant.

But… even a mild migraine is a bad way to spend a day or two, and I am not just without painkillers– my other top comfort measures — ice packs, and standing under the shower for a long time– are also unavailable to me, thanks to the lack of hot water and a freezer. It’s like being set back to age 11. Then, I had no idea what was going on, or what to do about it, only that I hurt: as a result, I developed, with no prior exposure to the subject (that I know of), breathing exercises and meditation to help me get through it. Now, I know what’s going on, but here I am, back at breathing and meditation. Just like my 11-year-old self, I lie down, imagine my head is an empty eggshell, and think of nothing but the feel of air currents swirling in and out of that eggshell until I fall asleep.  Unfortunately, I discovered painkillers at age 18 or so, and I’m now 10+ years out of practice on the breathing and meditation. I was better at it, when I was 11.