Many newly pregnant mothers to be, wonder if there is a special need for a pregnancy/gestational diabetes diet. They have probably heard stories about women who develop diabetes after becoming pregnant and wonder if there is anything that they can do to prevent it.
It is true that gestational diabetes can be dangerous for both you and your child. So, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, you and your doctor need to work together to control your blood sugar and keep your blood sugar levels from spiking.
Gestational Diabetes Testing
After type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is the next most common diabetes around. Gestational diabetes is a special form of diabetes that occurs in approximately 5 percent of pregnant women. Because this happens so often, and because there are no typical gestational diabetes symptoms, as a way of monitoring the situation, doctors are very likely to have the woman take one or more diabetes tests during her pregnancy. If they notice her blood sugar becoming higher than normal, she may be placed on a gestational diabetes diet to help forestall her developing the disease.
In a normal situation, most women are traditionally given a gestational diabetes test after they are about twenty weeks pregnant. They are given glucose drinks and told to fast after which fasting blood work is performed on them. When women find that they have gestational diabetes or pre-gestational diabetes, many of them immediately act to improve their diet.
General Guidelines For Your Gestational Diabetes Diet
Primarily, you need to follow the medical advice of your doctor. And, do not skip meals. The kind of diet that we are talking about here is not one to lose weight. It is one to make you healthy and less likely to develop gestational diabetes. In fact, while pregnant, it is probably best to stay away from taking any kind of diet supplements at all.
Now, changing a diet when not pregnant to meet diabetic guidelines can be difficult enough. But changing your diet while carrying a baby is doubly hard. Many women cope with food cravings and worries about gaining sufficient weight.
But, often times, a reasonable gestational diabetes treatment plan can be very effective in lessening the odds of developing gestational diabetes.
Foods To Include In Your Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan
There are, however, some easy steps to switching over to a gestational diabetic diet. It includes incorporating lean meat, large amounts of fruits and vegetables, and continuing exercise.
Of course, one large concern for women when they’re pregnant is the nagging bit of nausea at the back of the throat that doesn’t ever truly leave. A mother-to-be is sensitive to thoughts about certain textures, smells, and what time of the day it is. As a result, some are almost totally at the mercy of eating whatever can stay down.
Chicken is one of those foods. It tends to be a food that stays down well and can be eaten either with herb flavorings or with no seasonings at all. Another choice is fish which is also low in calories. Even so, however, it is rich in protein and the omega-3 fatty acids that are good for prenatal growth – making it part of a perfect diet for gestational diabetes.
Many women find eating fruits and vegetables a little easier than meats. Strawberries are an excellent snack as they are low in calories and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, they are mainly water. Carrots, radishes, celery, and many other fruits can be eaten raw. Many women find that eating these foods raw is often easier on the stomach than if cooked.
Fruits are a good addition as well. They can be cut up and added to high-fiber cereals such as shredded wheat, bran flakes, or corn, rice, and wheat squares to make breakfast tastier and healthier.
And, don’t forget to exercise. Exercising is something else that many pregnant women struggle with. It’s difficult to hold down breakfast, let alone go out and run a mile. But before throwing the running shoes into the closet for the next several months, consider the fact that to stay relatively fit, you likely won’t really have to exercise as much as a non-pregnant woman. Many pregnant women experience a heightened metabolism to help develop the new baby. So, things like a slow walk around the block often means more than it did pre-pregnancy. And as an added benefit, exercise is also helpful in keeping your blood sugar levels in the normal range.
Using A Registered Dietitian For Gestational Diabetes Meal Planning
If you don’t know much about food nutrition and are unsure about developing a diabetes meal plan for gestational diabetes, a registered dietician can be a godsend in helping you to choose foods and beverages you should eat and in developing gestational diabetes recipes.
A key thing that a dietician will help you to do is to choose the proper foods for your diabetic diet menu. She does this by making use of something called an “exchange list”. Exchange lists were developed specifically as a way to to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels. It does this by suggesting certain complex carbohydrates or other foods that can be exchanged with simple sugars and other ‘bad’ foods that are in the mom’s current diet.
Using such an exchange list, your dietician will evaluate your current diet, meals and snacks, and suggest swapping out certain ‘bad’ foods for more nutritious choices – ones that can lessen your chances of developing gestational diabetes and increase the odds of a healthy pregnancy. She may also suggest one or more methods of carbohydrate counting to control your carbohydrate intake.
Gestational Diabetes Causes
During pregnancy, a woman will experience a plethora of hormone changes in her body. Some of these hormones, in some women, interfere with the insulin that the body normally produces to handle glucose in the bloodstream. As a result of this interference, the body is not able to keep the blood sugar levels under control. And, eventually, the glucose overloads the system, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.
This condition can be controlled somewhat if a gestational diabetes meal plan is followed and a gestational diabetes diet menu is developed which restricts the amounts of high glucose causing foods eaten by the mother and helps to keep your blood glucose levels under control.
Fortunately, in most cases, the diabetes will gradually receded once the baby is born. However, women with gestational diabetes, will always be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later than a woman who has never had gestational diabetes.