Carbohydrates (and insulin and estrogen and progesterone and cortisol and serotonin)

Conversation over the phone with nurse from my doctor's office:

NURSE: I saw in our records that you called late last night with a blood pressure of 88 systolic and 49 diastolic. Did you go to the emergency room?

ME: No. I put some salt on my tongue and the blood pressure went back to normal. I figured I was having a hypoglycemic episode because I felt dizzy a few minutes after eating a few... hum... sweets...

NURSE: It could be hypoglycemia. Your body processes sugar differently when you are pregnant, do you know?

I know. When pregnant, the excess estrogen affects how fast and efficiently insulin is released and breaks down sugar, and also the body's retention of water. Insulin is the hormone responsible for taking sugar off the blood and carrying it into the cells. When there is not enough of it or the insulin is lazy (e.g. insulin resistance), the blood gets "sugary" and sugary blood will clog everything (hence why diabetes can be fatal and can cause blindness and loss of limbs) and when there is too much of it all at once, the body runs out of cells to feed and stores the excess as fat.

This discrepancy of the insulin's job during pregnancy causes some ladies to become diabetic, others to become hypoglycemic and for most of us to just become fat.

Since we are talking hormones, I'd like to mention that progesterone during pregnancy makes women loopy (as if I needed any more "loopiness"). To counterbalance this, the body releases an insurmountable quantity of cortisol; which usually is the stress hormone, but in this case it is the "alert hormone" to keep us ladies from running into walls.

Because there is this crazy amount of cortisol, serotonin, one of the sleep and mood hormones, has very little saying on anything, and this is one of the reasons why we get blue sometimes (and a tad moody) and can't sleep.

Once the baby arrives, estrogen and progesterone leave the body like they are busted from smoking crack, leaving cortisol and insulin like a couple of belligerent drunks in a party where poor serotonin has no chance of controlling. In non-scientific terms, this is called post-partum depression.

Anyway, back to my conversation with this nurse person, I want to impress her with my nerdy knowledge of hormones, so I ask, referring to her comment on carbohydrates being processed differently while pregnant:

ME: Is this why we gain so much weight so fast while pregnant?

NURSE: Hum. I think it has more to do with the fact that you are eating a few too many...hum... sweets?

ME: :o/

1 comment:

  1. I hope the instances of hypoglycemia go away and don't return. The few times I have had it, it scared the daylights out of me!

    But you did have your mom there to help with the cooking and nummies! :)


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