Where are all the teaching doctors?

I have a bone to pick with you people.  

No, not you, lovely readers.  No, not you, dear friends.  Not you, man, standing there, arbitrarily pushing buttons.  (<- If you get this reference, we are surely kindred spirits.)

Unless you happen to be a nurse or medical practitioner, I do not have a bone to pick with you.  

I’m only concerned with those who’ve done me wrong.  

I have been complaining to my docs and nurses this entire pregnancy about being fatigued.  Like, not my normal exhausted-ness.  But often feel like I’m going into shock, or have severe dehydration or heat exhaustion symptoms.  Am I dehydrated?  No.  Am I over-heated?  No…  “Well, what’s going on with me, Doc?”  

“Oh, it’s normal…  you’re pregnant…  you have all these hormones floating around in your body, which can make you feel tired.”  “Are you eating regularly?”

“Well, I guess so.  I’m usually not that hungry.”

“Well, if you’re not eating, you could be having low blood sugar episodes.”  

“I know what a low blood sugar episode feels like, and this is different.  I do feel better for a while after eating salty foods, though.”  

“Are you taking supplements?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you look pretty healthy.  Just try to eat 6 small meals a day.  Eat plenty of protein to keep your blood sugar stable.  You’ll make it through, mama.”

And that’s the end of the visit.

Thanks…  thanks, a lot.

Number one:  I don’t “look healthy.”  I was a good 40 pounds overweight before I got pregnant.    I have extremely pale skin.  I repeat, I don’t look healthy.

Number two:  I know my body.  I know when something is not right.  I know what low blood sugar feels like, I know what a hormone spike or lag feels like, and if I tell you I don’t that’s what it is…  You should listen to me.  

Number three:  You can’t just give me generic information that I can read on any pregnancy-centered website and expect me to trust your expertise as a doctor.  That doesn’t cut it with me.  

Soooo…  after doing my own research, I find the ACTUAL reason to eat lots of protein and to eat small meals, etc.  I’ll try to explain how I understood what was said.  This, in no way, is medical advice to you.  I’m just ‘splaining how I understand what’s going on.    

The Brewer Pregnancy Diet website discusses Dr. Brewer’s investigations and findings into the causes of toxemia (or eclampsia) during pregnancy.  (This is what they check for when you pee in that cup every visit.)  Until Brewer, many many ill-advised physicians prescribed treatments that actually harmed patients, instead of helping them.  

Dr. Brewer found that because it’s vital to the fetus that a pregnant woman is carries a larger blood volume (50% more than “normal”), her body will go to great lengths to maintain that blood volume, if it senses a decrease.  

The body regulates your blood volume by maintaining an optimal osmotic pressure in your blood vessels (so the fluid in your blood stays in your blood, and doesn’t go to other places, like urine, or your tissues, for example).  The liver is in charge of producing albumin from the proteins you eat.  The albumin is what controls the osmotic pressure.  Salt also helps regulate osmotic pressure.  

If you’re not getting enough protein from your diet (Dr. Brewer suggests 150g/day), your liver will produce less albumin.  Less albumin means reduced osmotic pressure, which means blood volume will decrease (because your fluid will not be able to stay in your blood).  

The body (not sure which part) senses the decrease in blood volume, and goes into fetus-protection mode.  It will start stockpiling fluids in your extremities (face, hands, feet, ankles), it will slow your metabolism, and start sourcing fluids from other parts of your body (like your brain, fatty tissues, and muscles) to your bloodstream.

I think this is the point where you start feeling symptoms of heat exhaustion.  You’ll get muscle cramps in your arms and legs, brain fog, and extreme fatigue.  (You have seen me refer to this in myself as “mini-death,” as it’s quite horrible.)  

If you don’t correct your blood volume issue quickly by way of eating salty foods or protein (and probably water), this will eventually lead to extreme swelling, rapid weight gain, seizures, and coma.  A mother’s body is totally okay with destroying itself to keep your baby alive.

Anyway…  THIS is why protein and eating an adequate amount of calories and nutrients is SO vitally important for YOU in the second and third trimesters.  Also, Dr. Brewer said that pregnant women can eat as much salt as they want.  So, that’s a plus, too.  🙂     

So, that leads me back to my title question.  Where is a doc who will tell me what’s really going on?  Where’s one who will teach me what she knows, to help me help myself?  Seriously, people.

Here’s where you can learn more about Pre-eclampsia and the affect of low protein levels in your diet.  http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/id36.html

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