To manage gestational diabetes effectively a lot of focus needs to be on a proper diabetic diet during pregnancy. This coupled with strict monitoring of blood sugar levels and adequate amounts of exercise should ensure that few if any complications are experienced by the woman or baby.
Unfortunately gestational diabetes is a common symptom that can cause a degree of panic, however in most cases a normal healthy baby is born. It is important to monitor blood sugar levels after pregnancy however as the risks of developing diabetes in the future remain elevated.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes occurs when a healthy non diabetic woman develops high blood sugar levels during the term of her pregnancy. It occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin to cover the extra demands placed on it during pregnancy. It is important to note that a woman’s risk of becoming diabetic after the pregnancy remains elevated.
If you are not aware of the symptoms of gestational diabetes then please click on the link to a helpful article on the issue.
Managing the condition is key…
The good news is that gestational diabetes usually reverses after pregnancy provided that the condition has been well managed throughout the term of pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes once then the chances are that you will get it again in future pregnancies.
The condition is managed by closely monitoring blood sugar levels throughout the term, while ensuring that you are getting enough physical exercise and following a healthy diabetic diet during pregnancy. Ensuring that you adhere to these factors will ensure that the chances of complications are minimised.
Babies are generally larger
Approximately 1/3 of women with gestational diabetes will have larger than average babies. It is likely that they will need to have a cesarean birth. The risks for this are mitigated by managing your gestational diabetes to the very best of your ability.
Woman’s treatments will differ
It is important to note that women are very different when it comes to gestational diabetes. Some women will not need any treatment other than to closely monitor their blood sugar levels through the term of the pregnancy. Other women (up to 20%) may require insulin therapy to manage their condition but for the vast majority their conditions will be managed via a diabetic diet during pregnancy.
The best guide for diabetic diet during pregnancy
There are some changes that you will need to make during the term of your pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes it will be crucial that you speak to your health care professional and nutritionist to manage your condition through your diet. It will be essential that you maintain a healthy weight, this is primarily done by monitoring the amount of calories that you eat. This can be done primarily through portion control.
You will need to choose the right portions of macro nutrients carbohydrates, fat and protein.
Carbohydrates is the macro nutrient that you will need to understand the most. It will be the amount of carbs that you eat divided by the insulin that your body is producing or that you are injecting into your body that will determine your blood sugar levels. Carbs are broken down by your body into the fuel that your cells need. Carbs are found in everything from sugar, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, fruit, vegetables and dairy products. It is important to note that note all carbs are created equal however. You will want to focus on low GI, complex carbohydrates. Please see my blog post on carb counting here. You may also be interested in the article featuring the best foods for diabetics as well. Finally there is an in depth look at the best vegetables for diabetics here.
Fat should be carefully considered before eating. There are good fats and bad fats but as a general rule you want to limit the amount of fat you are eating during pregnancy. Saturated fat is considered to be the bad kind of fat. They are found in fast and fried foods, fatty meat products like hot dogs and sausages and foods like crisps. Good fats are found in olive oil, avocado and nuts. Although they are good fat and help your body produce good cholesterol they should be limited.
Protein is essential for the repair and growth of your body and for the growth of your baby. Protein is found in lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and reduced fat milk and cheese.It is important that you eat the right quantity and quality of protein during the term of pregnancy.
Other dietary factors
It is important that your body has enough iron and calcium. These are vital micro nutrients that your body will need more of during your pregnancy. Iron is absorbed through lean meat, fish or chicken. Vegetarians may need iron supplements to cover the additional requirements. Calcium can be absorbed through dairy products including milk and cheese. An extra serve or 2 of dairy each day maybe enough to cover the additional requirements your body has.
Make sure that you drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. If you drink soda/ soft drink then make sure it is diet or sugar free soda. Sweeteners such as Splenda make good sense to utilise as well.
If you lack inspiration in the kitchen…
This product comes with my highest recommendation. It was written by a 5 star chef who became type 2 diabetic and developed a lot of early life threatening complications as a result. He used his knowledge in the kitchen to turn his disease around and his type 2 diabetes has gone into full remission as a result. I recommend this book to all my type 1 and type diabetic readers and also women with gestational diabetes.
The good news is that the statistics say that even if you have gestational diabetes you should still have a happy, healthy baby if you follow the advice given to you by your health care professional and use the above information as a guide. I highly recommend that you buy the above eBook for motivation and inspiration in the kitchen. The recipes contained are nutritious and delicious. As a type 1 diabetic I own the book and can personally attest to its greatness.
Please let me know how you are going with your diet below or if you have any further thoughts on the best diabetic diet during pregnancy.