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Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan Ideas

Instructor: Amy Albert

Amy is a Physician Assistant and certified professional coder. She holds a masters degree and has taught at the graduate school level.

Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has high blood sugar levels. Through special diet plans, women with gestational diabetes can lower their blood sugar and keep it under control.

So What Is Gestational Diabetes All About?

Pregnant woman

When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, some people might picture an overweight adult who eats too many sugary sweets. However, females can get diabetes just when they're pregnant. This is called gestational diabetes. Women with a history of pre-diabetes are more likely to get gestational diabetes, but it can happen to any female. During pregnancy, a woman's hormones change allowing the baby to develop. One of the hormones that changes is insulin. When insulin levels change, blood sugar rises. If the rise in blood sugar persists, the pregnant woman has gestational diabetes. High blood sugar can harm growing babies, so it is important for women to control the diabetes. The best way to control high blood sugar is through diet and exercise. In today's lesson we are going to discuss diet plan ideas for women with gestational diabetes.

Cutting Back on Sugar and Starches

Fruit

Donut

The most important dietary change women with gestational diabetes need to make is to cut back on sugar and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are starches, like bread, pasta and rice. Sugar is found in sweets and candies, but also can be found in fruit and juice. When you eat, sugar and carbohydrates are turned into glucose in the body. Insulin, then takes the glucose from the blood and takes it to the cells, where it can be used for energy. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the blood. Women with gestational diabetes do not have enough insulin, so they need to carefully watch the amount of sugar they intake. To control their blood glucose, women with gestational diabetes may find that they have to avoid all sugar, even fruit.

Eat More Protein

Protein food

It is important for women with gestational diabetes to eat protein with every meal. Protein helps to stabilize blood glucose levels after a meal. Foods high in protein are chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, nuts and beans. Red meat, such as steak or hamburger, is high in protein, but can also be high in fat. Women should limit their intake of saturated fat, often called the bad fat. Foods high in good fats, such as avocado and nuts, are good to eat and will also help to stabilize blood sugar.

Go Greens

Vegetables

Just like everyone, women with gestational diabetes should eat more vegetables. Fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli and celery taste great with hummus or a yogurt dip, and they make a great snack. Like protein, vegetables help stabilize blood glucose levels.

Most Important Meal of the Day

The last important diet change that women with gestational diabetes need to make is eating a big breakfast. Blood sugar tends to fluctuate, or change, the most in the morning. Eating a low carbohydrate breakfast with lean protein will help keep blood sugar under control all day.

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