Gestational diabetes and nutrition during pregnancy

This is in continuation on the topic of pregnancy. I came to know about Gestational diabetes from one of my friends, whose wife developed this condition while expecting her second baby. She was advised to take proper rest, do some light excersies and have a balanced diet during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes (or gestational diabetes mellitus, GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes generally has few symptoms and it is most commonly diagnosed by screening during pregnancy through inappropriately high levels of glucose in blood samples. Though Gestational diabetes affects 3-10% of pregnancies, no specific cause has been identified ans it is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy increase a woman’s resistance to insulin, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance.

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of problems:

  • Being large for gestastional age, leading to delivery complications
  • Low blood sugar
  • Jaundice

pregnant

img src: motherandbabyart.com

Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus after pregnancy, while their offspring are prone to developing childhood obesity, with type 2 diabetes later in life.

Gestational diabetes is a treatable condition and women who have adequate control of glucose levels can effectively minimize these risks. Patients are generally treated with diet modification & moderate exercise and sometimes with anti-diabetic drugs, including insulin.

So important to eat right during pregnancy specially in the cases of gestational diabetes and to work towards keeping the blood sugar levels under control.

The doctor & the dietician generally provide a customised diet plan / balanced meal to determine the daily total calorie based on eating habits (personal food preferences; being a vegetarian / non-vegetarian) with the right combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

The diet plan is based on individual weight, height, physical activity, week of pregnancy including the requirements of the growing baby, as well as the level of glucose intolerance.

Some things to be careful about:

  • Do not skip meals or have long gaps between meals. Follow the prescribed diet-plan to maintain the blood-sugar level.
  • Include a variety of foods & vegetables and consume a well-balanced diet; include high-fibre foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and cereals in your meal.
  • Avoid fruits rich in sugar (mango, banana) and vegetables (potato, sweet potato, colacassia etc.).
  • Record the sugar levels carefully before and after every meal for future reference.
  • If you feel hungry in between meals, consume home-made vegetable soups (without oil & cornflour), fresh lime juice (without sugar), raw vegetable salads with cucumber, radish / lettuce and slices of cottage cheese / paneer instead of  instant foods / oils snacks.
  • Avoid sweet chutneys, oily pickles, ready-to-eat foods that contain high levels of sodium, pastries, cakes, ice cream, honey including fizzy drinks and packaged juices.

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3 Comments

  1. It is very difficult to follow the diet when it happens but it is ofcourse worth it.

  2. Thank you, many Indians have this. I was afraid I had it last time, and followed a good diet for a while. I pledged that I would make that diet my habit, but alas!

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