Gestational diabetes affects nearly four percent of all pregnant women. Much like other forms of diabetes, women suffering from gestational diabetes must deal with elevated blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can cause complications for expectant mothers and the babies they are carrying. Managing your blood sugar levels throughout pregnancy is vital to preventing developmental problems in an unborn child. The good news is that gestational diabetes is relatively easy to manage with a healthy diet, exercise, and medication.
Developing a Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
Once a woman has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she will work together with her doctor and a dietician to develop a plan to manage her blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Your doctor and dietician will go over the importance of exercise and regularly scheduled meals. A typical diet plan for women suffering from gestational diabetes includes three primary meals and three small snacks spaced evenly throughout the day. In general, eating every three to four hours is recommended for maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Doctors recommend that roughly 50 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates.
Managing Your Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
While developing your meal plan, doctors and dieticians will offer you a number of tricks and tips to help you make healthy meal choices and encourage you to make use of the plan you have created. Here are a few of the most important tips to keep in mind.
- Keep a schedule – The goal of a gestational diabetes plan is to maintain stable and safe levels of blood sugar. Meals are planned to give your body a slow infusion of sugar throughout the day, keeping your levels in the normal range. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops. Low blood sugar can cause an expectant mother to feel light-headed, weak, or so hungry that they overeat and send blood sugar levels from dangerous lows to highs that are even more dangerous.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently – When suffering from any kind of diabetes, eating smaller meals at fixed times throughout the day is a good practice to keep. The small and frequent meals help regulate blood sugar levels so that your insulin response does not become overwhelmed.
- Eat a variety of foods – Each meal that you eat should have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Snacks consisting mostly of carbs will cause your blood sugar to spike and can cause problems for you and your baby. By eating a well-balanced snack or meal, carbohydrate absorption can be slowed so that sugar is released into your system gradually instead of in a quick rush.
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications in the world. If left untreated it can cause complications from minor irritations to stillbirths; however, routine prenatal care catches nearly all cases of gestational diabetes early enough to avoid complications. Working with your doctor to develop a gestational diabetes meal plan allows you to easily manage your blood sugar and spend your time worrying about what color to paint the nursery, instead of how your blood sugar levels are affecting your baby.