Effective Diet Tips For Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes: Effective Diet Tips For Optimising Glucose Levels During Pregnancy

gestational diabetes
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Gestational diabetes mellitus (or, more colloquially, gestational diabetes or G.D.M.) is a commonly occurring condition that pregnant women often develop during pregnancy.

Similar to diabetes of other types, it happens when your body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or can’t use insulin well, to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels, thereby elevating glucose levels in the blood. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can increase certain risks to you and to your baby, some of them serious.

 

Understand the risks of a G.D.M. diagnosis

Recent evidence suggests that more and more women are being diagnosed with this condition and cases have jumped substantially within the past decade. 

The galloping surge in the rate of GDM can be attributed to obesity, sedentary or inactive lifestyles, poor dietary habits, and the increasing prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Most babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes will be perfectly fine, with some — albeit rare — risks, especially if your G.D.M. isn’t managed.

A spike in blood sugar levels can put you at higher­ than n­normal risk for a range of conditions, including:

 

    • Pre-eclampsia (elevated blood pressure & protein in the urine) 
    • Labour complications (higher-than-normal birth-weight baby)
    • Preterm birth
    • Low blood sugar in the baby
    • Respiratory distress syndrome
    • Enlarged organs
    • Increased risk of obstructed labour

 

Gestational diabetes can be managed

Finding out that you have a “condition,” even a manageable one, can be scary and most women who get tested for gestational diabetes experience fear disappointment and confusion. Typically, the first reaction is self-blame: “I got this because I ate too many sweets.” However, it is not the case. 

If you do get diagnosed, do not feel overwhelmed because thankfully the condition can be controlled more easily than you can imagine. GD can be easily managed with routine monitoring, lifestyle changes and — if needed — medication.

Also, in most cases, gestational diabetes can be navigated effectively with proper diet planning and healthy eating for promoting the best outcomes for your baby.

If you have gestational diabetes, your nutritionist or your healthcare provider has most likely already advised you to pay special attention to your food. If you are unsure how to go about it, you are definitely not alone? Read on to keep yourself and your little one healthy and strong.

 

Healthy dietary recommendations

For women with gestational diabetes, one of the first and simplest things you can do is to readjust your diet. It is important to adopt a healthy gestational diabetes meal plan to keep your blood sugar stable and reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby. 

Additionally, it is also important to stick to the meal plan and not to have a sporadic eating pattern to maintain consistent blood sugars. 

Here’s a comprehensive list of what you should and shouldn’t eat for gestational diabetes:

 

    • First and foremost, it’s particularly important to eat evenly-spaced meals (breakfast, mid-day and evening meals)
    • Have a balanced three solid meals and two or three snacks a day so you’re not going too long without eating, which would cause a drop in your blood sugar
    • Do not skip meals
    • Limit or avoid eating unhealthy foods containing refined carbohydrates
    • Balance the number of carbohydrates in your diet
    • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Enjoy fresh fruit in moderation
    • Increase intake of lean protein (e.g., tofu, nuts, beans, seeds, fish, chicken, fish)
    • Limit fat intake, and watch your portion size
    • Eat more fibre
    • Avoid white and processed foods, sugary drinks, fried or fast foods
    • Choose probiotic-rich foods
    • Opt for low Glycemic Index (G.I.) foods (e.g., sweet potatoes, yoghurt, lentils)
    • The last non-negotiable rule is to drink at least eight glasses of water every day

 

Foods to eat

Certain foods that are especially helpful to maintain a healthy blood sugar level include:

 

    • Whole fruits and vegetables
    • Lean proteins
    • Healthy fats
    • Whole grains

 

Foods to limit or avoid

Certain foods cause unsafe spikes in your blood sugar levels and should be avoided or consumed in moderation. These include:

 

    • White bread, white naan, or non-whole wheat pasta
    • Soft drinks
    • Fruit juices
    • Pastries, muffins and cakes
    • Soda
    • Sweets, jams and desserts
    • Fatty or fried foods
    • Sweeteners like honey and syrups
    • Fast food and junk foods
    • Candies and chocolates

 

Final thoughts

If you have gestational diabetes, your pregnancy may feel like a lot of hard work at times! This is understandable.

There is, however, no reason for you to be pessimistic. Gestational diabetes can be treated and you can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy if you manage it properly.

To ensure successful and efficient management of your GD, you should speak with your obstetrician and a dietician to show you how to select the right foods and design the best eating plan for your needs.

This will ensure that your blood sugar levels stay under strict control and that your kid has the finest possible environment in which to grow and develop normally.

Also, it’s best to get regular diabetes check-ups to see how much of an impact are these changes making on your blood sugar levels.

 

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