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Gestational Diabetes: What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

Dr. Samina Fayyaz

2 min read

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Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women without diabetes develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Although it can develop at any stage of pregnancy, it usually occurs in the second half. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to satisfy the extra needs in pregnancy. There are generally a very few noticeable symptoms of gestational diabetes and is usually diagnosed when the patient’s blood sugar level is tested. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the patient gives birth and most women with it have normal pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies. However, it is good to be cautious and follow the guidelines of your doctor. Moreover, you should also take care of your diet if you have gestational diabetes.

What should you do?

A specific meal plan can help keep your blood sugar in check. It is recommended that you visit a registered dietitian who can create a proper diet plan for you based on your height, weight, glucose intolerance, the requirements of your growing baby, food preferences, and physical activity. Your dietitian will tell you how many calories you need every day. You will also be taught how to determine portion sizes and how to have the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your diet.

As a general rule of thumb, you should eat a variety of foods during pregnancy. The calories and carbohydrates should be distributed evenly throughout the day.

The American Diabetes Association recommends three moderate meals and about two to four snacks every day. Try to limit the intake of carbohydrates and only include complex carbs as they contain more fiber. Always pair lean protein with carbs during meals. Protein will not only help you feel fuller, it will also keep your blood sugar stable. Do not skip meals and distribute your calories equally throughout the day to keep blood sugar in check.

As far as your carbs go, doctors also recommend that less than half of your calories should come from them. Avoid the bad carbs like foods rich in sugar and starch. Instead, consume whole-grain carbs as these digest easily and have low sugar content.

The specific carbs to ignore include candies, white rice, fried potatoes, and fizzy drinks. These only add to your blood sugar levels which can cause diabetes.

Instead, try to eat as many vegetables as you can. They are good for your blood sugar and overall health. Also, try to keep a count of how many carbs you are consuming. They are measured in grams so it’s easy to count them. This is important in ensuring you don’t over-consume.

Make sure you eat a good breakfast as your blood glucose levels may be low in the morning. Instead of loading up on carbs like bread, cereals, and fruits, try to have more protein-rich foods such as eggs, nuts, and cheese. Try to skip fruit and fruit juices altogether during breakfast.

Eat more high fiber foods such as whole grain bread and cereals, vegetables and fruits, beans, legumes, and dried peas. High fiber foods are digested and absorbed more slowly than simple carbs by your body, which prevents your blood sugar from spiking up after meals.

What should you NOT do?

Avoid eating foods and beverages that are high in simple sugars such as fruits juices, soda, flavored teas, and desserts. These foods can make your blood sugar spiral out of control in no time. It is also recommended that you limit your intake of milk as it is high in simple sugar. Try to find an alternative source of calcium instead.

It is also recommended that you increase your physical activity moderately to keep your blood glucose levels stable. It is best to speak to your doctor to determine the right amount of physical activity for you during pregnancy.

What are the complications?

If you get gestational diabetes, chances are both you and your child will suffer health issues. The higher glucose levels in your body can be transferred to your baby, making him fatter. This is a problem for a few reasons.

The bigger baby might not get stuck during delivery. There is a chance that after the baby is born, he will have breathing and blood sugar issues. Also, you might bleed more during delivery.

Furthermore, gestational diabetes can spike your blood pressure during the course of the pregnancy. There are many issues associated with this type of diabetes, but it goes away usually after the baby is delivered. However, if you already were diabetic then you will still have the condition post pregnancy.

If you suspect that you have gestational diabetes, see your doctor right away to get a diagnosis and treatment to ensure a healthy pregnancy. You can find and book an appointment with top Gynecologists in Faisalabad, Karachi, and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Samina Fayyaz - Author Dr. Samina Fayyaz is a leading gynecologist based in Lahore. She offers services like infertility treatment, contraceptive advice, obesity management, hysteroscopy, and genetic testing. You can seek an appointment with her through oladoc.
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