Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes affects between two and five percent of all pregnancies. Sometimes, a pregnant woman’s body stops producing enough insulin, which converts glucose into energy. This creates glucose and carbohydrate intolerance, as carbohydrates convert to glucose in the bloodstream. The best treatment for Gestational Diabetes is a diet plan. Some women will require insulin shots to remain healthy, but most of the time, GD can be managed with dietary changes.
Dietary Guidelines for Gestational Diabetes
Balanced Sugar and Carbohydrate Intake
A diet for Gestational Diabetes should be low in simple carbohydrates and sugars. You do need sugar and carbohydrates for a healthy pregnancy, but it is recommended that your intake of them be spread throughout the day. Do not eat too much sugar or carbohydrates at one time. Instead, have a little at every meal and snack.
Regular Meals and Snacks
It is recommended that you have three meals a day with a snack between each one, especially before bedtime. Additionally, you should get plenty of rest and try to exercise a little bit everyday. Eating frequent, small meals will help keep your blood sugar stable, and so will periods of activity and rest spaced apart. Some say that, if they do eat something ‘questionable,’ exercising will help keep their blood sugar in check.
You should keep your meals under 60g of carbs, and snacks should be 15-30g of carbs each. You need 7-11 servings of carbohydrates a day during pregnancy. Fifteen carbs is one serving. As long as you have two servings at each meal and one at every snack time, you should be getting all of the carbohydrates you need. As long as you don’t exceed that by much and space your meals and snacks out, you should be able to maintain balance.
Increasing Fat and Protein Intake
Increase your fat and protein intake, as they counteract sugar. Having some at every meal will help you control our blood sugar. Keep eating the same amounts of other foods and taking your prenatal vitamins. The most important thing is to keep your blood sugar level stable, not too high and not too low.
Monitoring Blood Sugar
You may want to monitor your blood sugar for a while to get a clearer picture of the situation. Every individual is affected differently by gestational diabetes. You may find that there are certain times of day where you are more likely to have high blood sugar or feel rotten, as well as certain foods that you don’t tolerate as well. Pay attention to how you feel, and check your blood sugar a few times a day. This will help you design your diet plan.
May mind that if they have much sugar or carbohydrates in the morning, they feel rotten all day or cannot get their blood sugar to go down for a while. Every individual’s metabolism is different. One woman I know has found that pizza and OJ both spike her blood sugar, but ice cream doesn’t have much of an affect on her. You’ll have to pay attention to notice what things are true for you.
Choosing the Right Foods
If you are craving something sweet, try to avoid what is high in sugar and carbohydrates. Fruits and other natural sources of sugar are best. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners are okay for some, but they do carry risks — such as cancer. Sugar alcohols may be a better substitute. Bananas are a very good snack, as they aren’t as high in glucose as other fruits.
Juice and soft drinks should be avoided. Instead, try having a glass of ice water or unsweetened tea. Adding a slice of lemon or lime for flavor may make the water more appealing. Tea flavored with raspberries, cinnamon, mint, etc. is also a fine alternative. Just make sure not to add extra sugar. Milk is high in lactose, and intake of that should be limited, too. If you must drink juice, find something that hasn’t had any sugar added to it.
For breakfast, many recommend eggs, toast, and a piece of fruit. You may prefer to have sausage instead of eggs or a very small bowl of cereal instead of fruit. For lunch, how about a sandwich, some vegetables, and a serving of fruit or yogurt? Dinner could consist of some grilled chicken, pasta, and a salad. Great snacks include cheese and crackers and vegetables with dip. Be creative, and just focus on health-friendly choices.
All in all, it’s not too hard to follow a diabetic diet. It’s not that restrictive; it mostly just requires care and consideration. Gestational Diabetes usually clears up after delivery, so thankfully it is only temporary. Most people start to feel better within a week of changing their diet, but it may take longer or shorter for you. If the diet is not helping you feel good and keep your blood sugar stable, you should talk to a doctor and/or dietician about taking further action.