Pregnant women should eat a healthy diet in order to have a healthy pregnancy, but women with gestational diabetes must follow an even more stringent plan to maintain good health throughout their pregnancy. Diet and exercise are two main components to a healthy pregnancy when managing gestational diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you should work with your doctor, midwife or a nutrition specialist to create a diet plan that will work for you and your body’s specific needs.
An easy way to keep your blood sugars in check is by following a specific meal plan that is based on your height, weight and physical activity level, in addition to the needs of your growing baby. If dietary changes are not enough, you may need to take insulin as well. Here are some steps you can take to control your gestational diabetes and maintain your health during pregnancy through your diet:
Plan Your Meals
One key to maintaining an even blood sugar throughout the day is to eat 3 regular meals, as well as 2 to 4 snacks throughout the day. You need to make sure that all of these snacks and meals are balanced and contain a variety of foods with the calories and carbohydrates evenly dispersed throughout the day. Though you should cut down on your carbs, you should get most of your calories from complex carbohydrates.
Eat a Good Breakfast
Eating a good breakfast as one of your meals is also key, as morning is the time that your blood glucose levels will generally be the most unstable. Limit carbohydrate intake in the morning, increase your protein intake and depending on your body’s reaction, you may need to avoid fruit and juice completely.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
High fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, peas, beans, legumes and whole grain breads and cereals, should make up a large portion of your diet. All of these foods are all broken down and absorbed by your body more slowly than simple carbs, which will help to keep your blood sugar from spiking after meals.
Limit Your Milk and Sugary Beverage Intake
Milk is high in the simple sugar lactose and should be limited for anyone working to control gestational diabetes. Look for other sources of calcium, as well as other healthy beverages to include in your diet. Additionally, you should limit your consumption of soda and fruit juice, as these can very quickly elevate your blood sugar levels.
Increase Your Activity Level
Moderately increasing your activity level can do wonders in keeping your blood glucose at normal levels. Walking, or another low impact activity, can be a great way to stay in shape, maintain good blood sugar levels and stay active throughout pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife about how much exercise and what kind of exercise is right for you.
By following these simple steps, you can help to prevent as well as control gestational diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, talk to your health care provider about both your diet and exercise level to create a program that's right for your needs.