Gestational Diabetes: What To Eat And What Not

Gestational diabetes occurs in about 2 % to 5 % of all pregnancies. It is a temporary condition and is fully treatable. It may cause certain problems with the pregnancy and requires careful medical supervision.

Diet and gestational diabetes are inherently related. In fact, diet is an important treatment for gestational diabetes. Eating a carefully planned diet is one of the best remedies. Others include having plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight, monitoring glucose levels and, if necessary, daily insulin injections.

Your doctor/ dietitian may ask you to change your food habits while planning your diet. You may be asked to avoid eating foods that contain a lot of simple sugar, such as cake, cookies, candy or ice cream. Instead, eat foods that contain natural sugars, like fruits. You will also be advised to have several small meals instead of one or two big meals. If you get hungry in between meals, it is better to eat foods that are healthy for you, such as raisins, carrot sticks, or a piece of fruit. Other foods such as whole grain, pasta, breads, rice and fruit are also good for both, you and your baby.

To help the blood sugar level stay within a normal range (60 to 120 mg/dl), a dietitian's diet plan will include the following:

1) To stay away from sugar and foods high in sugar.

2) Have complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, grains, cereals, crackers, bread, potatoes, dried beans and peas on regular basis.

3) Eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grain cereals and breads, fruits and vegetables.

4) Saturated fats such as fatty meats, butter, bacon, cream and whole milk cheeses should be avoided.

5) Eat a snack before bedtime that is protein and carbohydrate based.

In sync with a woman's needs, doctor or dietitian will tell you to have about 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day if you are a small woman who exercises, to have about 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day if you are a large woman who wants to lose weight.

As a pregnant woman, it's important that you eat well-balanced meals. You may need to eat less at each meal, depending on how much weight you gain during your pregnancy. Your doctor or dietitian will explain all these to you.