Gestational diabetes diet
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (glucose) that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes tend to have larger babies at birth. This can increase the chance of problems at the time of delivery.
This article discusses the diet recommendations for women with gestational diabetes who do NOT take insulin.
Eating a balanced diet is an important part of any pregnancy. The food you eat helps your baby grow and develop while in the womb. Diet is even more important if you have diabetes. Most of the time, eating properly can keep your blood sugar (glucose) levels from becoming too high or too low. Eating properly can also help you avoid needing medications for your diabetes.
You can help manage gestational diabetes with diet and exercise. Every pregnancy is different. Your doctor and dietitian will create a diet just for you, based on:
Remember that "eating for two" does not mean eating twice as many calories. You usually need just 300 extra calories a day (such as a glass of milk, a banana, and 10 crackers).
The best way to improve your diet is by eating a variety of healthy foods. You should learn how to read food labels, and consult them when making food decisions. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you are a vegetarian or on some other special diet.
In general, your diet should be moderate in fat and protein and provide controlled levels of carbohydrates through foods including fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice). You will also be asked to cut back on foods that have a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries.
You will be asked to eat three small- to moderate- sized meals and one or more snacks each day. Do not skip meals and snacks. Keep the amount and types of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) the same from day to day.
GRAINS, BEANS, AND STARTCHY VEGETABLES
MILK AND DAIRY
PROTEIN (MEAT, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS, AND NUTS)
Expect this diet to change periodically to meet the changing nutritional needs of your pregnancy.
OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Your doctor, nurse, or dietitian may ask you to keep track of what you eat. You may also be told to take a prenatal vitamin everyday, possibly with iron and calcium supplements.
It is important for all people with diabetes to monitor their blood (sugar). Your doctor may ask you to check your blood sugar (glucose) every day or several times per day. You may also be asked to check for ketones in your urine.
You should avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
Your doctor may also suggest a safe exercise plan. Walking is usually the easiest type of exercise, but swimming or other low-impact exercises can work just as well. Exercise is an important way to keep blood sugar in control, and physical activity in pregnancy has been found to decrease the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2009. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:S13-S61.
Metzger BE, Buchanan TA, Coustan DR, et al. Summary and recommendations of the Fifth International Workshop-Conference on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2007 Jul;30 Suppl 2:S251-60.
American Diabetes Association. Nutrition recommendations and interventions for diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:S61-S78.
Cunnigham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al. Diabetes. In: Cunnigham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al, eds. Williams Obstetrics. 22nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2005:chap 52.
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