What is a Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A gestational diabetes diet plan is a series of dietary recommendations that can be used by a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes to control the condition. Sometimes, dietary changes alone are enough to stabilize blood sugar levels and address the issue. Exercise may also be recommended. If blood sugar levels remain high, it may be necessary to take insulin to bring them back down and keep them stable. Patients with gestational diabetes will need to develop an individualized plan for addressing it by working with their doctors.

Insulin might be necessary for women with gestational diabetes.
Insulin might be necessary for women with gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes can be dangerous for the developing child. When this condition is identified in pregnancy, it is important to take steps to address it. The gestational diabetes diet plan is the first step to see if the issue can be resolved with tighter dietary controls. If this does not work, more aggressive treatment options must be considered. Pregnant women with preexisting diabetes must monitor their conditions closely throughout the pregnancy to reduce the risk of complications for the baby.

Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes should avoid added sugar.
Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes should avoid added sugar.

With a gestational diabetes diet plan, patients avoid added sugars, focus on eating complex carbohydrates, and up their fiber intake. These measures are designed to control blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates should make up no more than 40% of daily intake on the diet. A doctor may also be concerned about weight control, and this can be integrated into the overall diet plan to strike a balance between supplying the energy needs of the mother and developing fetus while limiting weight gain.

Patients put on a gestational diabetes diet plan are usually advised to eat several small meals throughout the day. This helps to keep blood sugar stable. Breakfast is an important meal since women have not eaten during the night, and is usually loaded with protein and less carbohydrates to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels. Patients may self-monitor their blood sugar or return for periodic medical appointments to have their blood sugar checked for the purpose of determining how effective the diet is.

When a gestational diabetes diet plan is recommended, the doctor will usually provide a list of foods with information about their dietary properties. A sample meal plan can also be provided to help the patient get off on the right start. Some patients may find it helpful to work with a nutritionist to develop a plan that they will be able to adhere to that meets the requirements of the diet. Patients who are struggling should consult their doctors for advice and assistance.

Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes should speak with their doctors to develop an individualized plan.
Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes should speak with their doctors to develop an individualized plan.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: