Diabetes diet in pregnancy is essentially crucial for a healthy gestation and an uncomplicated labor and childbirth. During pregnancy, it becomes exceptionally more difficult to control diet due to crazy food cravings especially with the general mantra of eating for two.
Diabetes occurs due to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas resulting in the store-up of high levels of dietary glucose in the blood. When blood sugar levels remain high, damage to blood vessels and vital organs may occur, a situation that may possibly affect the overall outcome of pregnancy. It’s therefore recommended to control blood sugar levels to save your developing baby from any complications.
If your blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy, the glucose levels of your growing baby will be high as well. When you control your glucose levels within normal range during pregnancy, the risks of possible complications will be greatly reduced for you and your baby and diet is essential in counteracting this problem.
It’s strongly recommended to see a dietitian or nutritionist or doctor who will formulate a specific diabetes pregnancy diet plan for you, in view of your weight, height, energy requirements, blood sugar control and size of your baby. Your diabetes diet in pregnancy must also take cognizance of your current insulin or diabetes medication dosage. These basic factors will guide your dietitian in formulating your diet plan. The principle of diet plan formulation is to have the right mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that necessary to keep your blood sugar levels within normal range.
The primary issue in a diabetic woman is improper release or functioning of insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels. It’s therefore recommended to avoid direct sources or carbohydrates like chocolate, candies, fruit juices, smoothies and bakery items.
Instead eat more complex carbohydrates that are rich in fiber (whole grain bread) combined with lean proteins (beans, cheese) and low cholesterol (soybean), fulfilling your appetite and helping to keep your energy levels high. Fiber is believed to help reduce insulin demands in diabetic pregnancies. If you make it a practice to regularly get enough carbohydrates in the morning, it’ll help you maintain normal blood levels.
The rule for a healthy diabetic diet is to divide your food in portions and space it evenly through your day. Most physicians recommend dividing meals into 5 to 6 portions (3 meals and 3-4 snacks). Most dietitians also recommend post-dinner healthy snacks to supplement your meal.
Instead of consuming empty calories and concentrated sugars in the form of chocolates and bakery items to satisfy your cravings, focus more on natural foods to satisfy your hunger. This includes fresh vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes and fruits. All natural dietary sources are rich in fiber that maintains a balance between sugar content between and after meals.
Calculate your Calories and Eat accordingly:
Caloric requirement of every expecting mom is different and governed by height, weight, level of activity and eating habits. Consult a registered dietician to calculate your caloric requirements and eat recommended portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It’s advised to divide each component sensibly in all your diets.
Avoid skipping Meals:
With a diabetic pregnancy, it’s essentially more important to maintain steady blood glucose levels, implying that you must not skip meals. Maintain a strict timetable to supply energy to your body as skipping meals activate compensatory mechanisms in the body that deteriorate normal blood sugar control.
Any food or beverage that directly adds sugar to your system must be avoided. This includes soda, aerated drinks, ice-creams, chocolates and milk. Milk is considered healthy by a number of women, but it’s to be kept in mind that milk is the richest source of lactose (that readily gives glucose in the body). Moreover, ask your healthcare provider regarding the inclusion of artificial sweeteners in your diabetes diet in pregnancy.
The success of diabetes diet in pregnancy lies in following your dietary plan religiously and continuously monitoring blood sugar levels using glucometer at least 2 to 4 times a day. Physicians recommend having at least 1 pre-meal and one post meal blood sugar assessment.
Keep up with your antenatal visits so that your healthcare provider can suggest more tests such as vision test, urine test and tests to assess fetal growth and development. Studies have confirmed that a combination of diabetes diet and exercise are enough to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy, it’s therefore advised you maintain regular physical activity or exercise in addition to your prescribed diabetes diet in pregnancy for effective and sustainable blood sugar control.