5 Diet Tips for Dealing with Gestational Diabetes
Monitor Your Glucose Levels
Glucose levels aren't tied just to the intake of sugar, but to all carbohydrates. Even though your body needs glucose to function, when you have gestational diabetes, eating carbohydrates results in an imbalance of glucose in your body. Carbohydrates are present in fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and legumes. If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor is likely to recommend a maximum level of carbohydrate intake per day, and you must measure your foods to make sure you're staying within safe levels. While you're pregnant, you're likely to need about 175 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Many women with gestational diabetes find that their blood sugar levels fluctuate the most in the early mornings. Stave this off by eating a good breakfast that helps your blood sugar stay well-regulated. Start with some oatmeal or whole grain cereal, adding a little bit of protein, such as eggs or yogurt. Some women find that fruit or milk for breakfast can be disruptive to their blood sugar.
Don't Skip Meals
When you have gestational diabetes, you can keep your blood sugar from spiking by eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day. Distribute your daily calories and carbohydrates evenly across three meals and two to three snacks.
Avoid Unnecessary Sugars
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes should especially avoid sugary sodas that wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Avoid fruit juices and sweet tea as well, swapping them out for water. To build your baby's bones, you can also drink nonfat or low-fat milk. Avoid sugary desserts as much as possible to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Keep Food Records
While pregnant, keep track of everything you eat. Note not just the foods themselves, but the amounts you're eating. If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor is likely to have you check your blood sugar several times a day. When you also keep food records, you can correlate what you've eaten with any spikes in blood sugar levels to help you plan better in the future.
Gestational diabetes is the name for a type of diabetes that arises in a small percentage of pregnant women and that disappears as soon as the pregnancy is over. If a pregnant woman is able to control her gestational diabetes through lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, she may not need to take insulin or other medications to control it. In gestational diabetes, the body isn't able to produce enough insulin to process the sugar ingested, resulting in very high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes must be kept under control because, if left unchecked, it can result in dangerous pre-eclampsia or damage to the unborn baby.
Regular exercise also helps the body maintain its glucose metabolism at healthy levels, so plan for some walking or swimming to stay healthy. If diet and exercise don't keep your gestational diabetes under control, your doctor may want to prescribe insulin or other medications to help you stay healthy.