Tips for Managing Gestational Diabetes with a Healthy Diet
Between 1 and 2% of pregnant women in the USA have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and 6 to 9% develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, according to the CDC
. Getting a diagnosis of gestational diabetes diagnosis may seem completely overwhelming, but there's no need to panic—gestational diabetes (GD) can be controlled. While medication may be needed in some instances to help you get your blood glucose levels under control, the condition can, for the most part, be managed with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight
, and following a balanced diet
. Here are some professional tips for managing GD (and of course, always consult your doctor before making any changes to diet or exercise!).
A gestational diabetes diet is easy to follow
Thankfully, for the women who contract gestational diabetes during their pregnancies
, a GD meal plan is not much different from a regular healthy eating plan. Depending on your current diet, you may simply be required to reduce your intake of some foods, while increasing others. This will help stabilize your blood glucose levels
. According to the American Diabetes Association
, a woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes should aim for a meal ration that consists of 25% protein, 25% grains and starchy food, and 50% non-starchy vegetables. While common sense is often enough to keep you on track, your healthcare team will provide invaluable advice about the necessary adjustments you need to make to your existing diet and overall lifestyle.
Make eating healthy a habit
There are a number of things you can do to ensure you eat well with gestational diabetes. Start by having small, regular meals and forget about the old-wives tale that you need to 'eat for two'. Cut back on your salt intake; too much salt can increase your blood pressure which, in turn, increases the risk of diabetes-related complications. Where possible, steer clear of any special diabetic foods as they not only tend to be overpriced, but are also high in hidden fats and calories. Remember that what you drink is as important as what you eat, and stick to drinking a lot of water and sugar-free drinks.
Make healthy eating a long-term goal
Following a healthy, balanced diet benefit both you and your baby during your pregnancy
. Not only will it help control gestational diabetes, but it also contributes towards a healthy weight and reduces your long-term risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Remember that gaining some
weight during your pregnancy is normal, and that following a strict, weight-loss diet is not a good idea. Rather make small changes to your diet and increase your activity levels to avoid gaining excessive amounts of weight and continue with your healthy habits after your pregnancy to ensure you and baby remain in good health.
While gestational diabetes may add substantially to your pregnancy worries, it is important to realize that it can usually be controlled with ease. As long as you make the necessary lifestyle changes and follow the advice of your healthcare team you and your baby will continue to enjoy good health throughout your pregnancy.
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