The diet for people with gestational diabetes is basically a well balanced meal of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables and fruits. It is usually because of an excess, especially of carbohydrates that aggravates the condition. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women. It occurs as a result of the placental hormones that suppress the action of insulin on the glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone from the pancreas that digests and breaks down glucose into the cells for energy utilization. If this is blocked, glucose levels in the blood will go up, forcing the pancreas to create more insulin to lower it down. Unfortunately, the more the pregnancy progresses, the more opposing hormones are created, thus blocking more insulin from being used. In effect, the pancreas runs out of insulin and gestational diabetes sets in.
For pregnant women who have been diagnosed with this condition, through undergoing blood tests like the oral glucose screening test and the oral glucose tolerance test, are advised to control their blood sugar and carbohydrate intake. For mild cases of gestational diabetes, a change in the amount of the food eaten is usually enough to maintain the blood glucose levels in the normal range. But for some, usually those predisposed to having diabetes like obese women and those who have a family history of diabetes, insulin injections are also necessary to control the blood sugar levels. It is also advisable for high risk pregnancies to have insulin shots to help sustain normal blood glucose levels because they cannot undergo much physical activity. It is quite important to have it within normal limits since a prolonged elevated glucose level may lead to nerve damage and high blood pressure which are dangerous complications to have when pregnant, not only for the mother but for the unborn child as well.
Going on a diet during pregnancy is never advised except in cases of having gestational diabetes. Diet is often accompanied by the right amount and degree of exercise and activity. It is always advisable to consult with your health provider before undergoing any exercise regimen and starting the diet. They can give you sound advice on how to manage your diet and activity. In food planning and preparation, you have to be aware of the number of calories each food has and what other nutritious alternatives can be substituted. Each full meal should at least consist of a carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals and fat. What you eat and how much you eat are the critical points of this diet. Eat too much and blood glucose levels shoot up. Eat too little and you are at risk for hypoglycemia.
The type of diet that would fit you depends on several factors such as your weight, before and during the pregnancy, physical activity level, and blood glucose level. Your nutritionist will compute the amount of calories that you have to consume per day to keep yourself healthy and free from any complication from gestational diabetes. There are actually several diet methods available but it will all depend on how you can cope with it and the availability of the ingredients. Diet methods may make you count the carbohydrates you consume per day. This means that the amount of carbohydrates that you eat should be observed since you have to eat the same amount of carbohydrates everyday, provided that your physical activity is also constant. This is too keep blood sugar within normal limits. A serving of carbohydrate rich food has about fifteen grams of carbohydrate. This may be a slice of bread or a half cup of cereal. Vegetables only contain five grams of carbohydrates per serving. It should be included in the count if the servings exceed two. Meat and fat do not contribute to the carbohydrate count.
Women with gestational diabetes can divide the total amount of carbohydrates per day into small portions spread throughout the day. This scheme allows you to have a snack of carbohydrates between meals so as to not go into hypoglycemia. If the carbohydrate that you eat is not filling for you, you can add more protein like eggs, meat, and chicken to gratify your hunger. Sweets like chocolate, candies, pastries, cakes and regular soda are very high in calories and not filling to the stomach. To maintain normal levels of glucose, it is advisable to avoid eating such, to be able to stick to the recommended caloric requirement for carbohydrates.
You would tend to think that since carbohydrates causes gestational diabetes, so then why not remove it all together in the meal? This is not advisable because carbohydrates play an important role in our diet in spite of it also causing your gestational diabetes. When you miss out on your meals and do not eat carbohydrates, you blood sugar will fall down to dangerous levels. Your diet should be balanced with your blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels should be measured regularly by using a home measurement kit or going to the clinic to know whether or not your blood sugar is within normal limits. If the results of your blood glucose levels are high, in spite of following your diet strictly, your doctor may prescribe you some insulin shots to help lower it down. The diet also changes when taking insulin shots to avoid becoming hypoglycemic. Physical activity helps control blood glucose levels aside from keeping your body healthy and fit. It is also an advantage during the later months of pregnancy. Consult your doctor as to what type and how much physical activity is needed for you.
Gestational diabetes, if not controlled and maintained with diet, can cause complications to occur either during pregnancy or while giving birth by a sudden drop in blood pressure. It may also cause your baby to become too large that you might have to undergo a caesarean section. Once you have gestational diabetes, you are at risk to develop it again for the following pregnancies. You should always eat a healthy and well balanced diet, as well as work out regularly to stay fit and reduce risks of that gestational diabetes can bring.