The need for a gestational diabetes diet occurs when you are pregnant and your blood glucose level gets too high. This type of diabetes often disappears after the baby is born. But it will leave you more susceptible to developing diabetes later in life if you have it while you are pregnant.
If you are affected by diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin to break down your sugars, or the insulin it does make does not work properly. This will cause your blood sugar to measure out at too high a level. This can be harmful to your unborn child and yourself. You need to control your blood sugar during pregnancy to protect your baby's good health.
Your ob-gyn will put you on a gestational diabetes diet so that you can control the levels of sugars in your body. The carbohydrates that you take in when you eat become glucose in your body, an important source of energy. Carbs come from foods like grains, rice, potatoes, pasta and exports. They are also found in sweets, sugars, dairy foods, vegetables and fruits.
Even more so than usual, you must watch your carbohydrate, protein and sugar intake when you are pregnant. It will require you to do more planning, if you need insulin to control your blood sugar during your pregnancy.
You may need to count your carbohydrates, which simply means keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat every day. Eat roughly the same amount of carbs at about the same time every day, to help keep your blood sugar level normal.
Pregnant women generally need about three hundred extra calories per day in their second and third trimesters, so they can store enough nutrients for their baby. This should add up to approximately 16-17 calories per pound of what your ideal body weight is.
Your dietitian will help you to develop a gestational diabetes diet plan that is not too hard for you to follow. She may have a sample menu to start you off with and give you some ideas. She should also give you a handout called CareNotes, which will explain about the diabetic exchange diet, and to help you find serving sizes for foods not on your sample plan.
If you have gestational diabetes, you may still be able to control your blood sugar with just your diet. You will need to eat three meals and one to three snacks a day to do this. Eat a bedtime snack to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too far down overnight. Then you may need snacks in the morning or afternoon to keep the levels normal between meals.
You will need to eat your meals at about the same time each day, to get your body on a regimen. Following the gestational diabetes diet will help insure that you and your baby will both be healthy.