Lifestyle Tips for Managing Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a type of diabetes that can develop particularly during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy due to various physiological and hormonal changes. These changes can lead to the body not producing enough insulin due to an increased need for energy and carbohydrates. If GDM is not diagnosed early enough and treated effectively, it can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes among mothers and the risk of hypoglycemia and complications among newborn babies. In addition, poor blood glucose management in GDM can cause diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition that can result in serious medical conditions including fluid loss, an electrolyte imbalance, and coma. 

Nutrition goals for GDM include promoting healthy maternal weight gain and fetal growth, normalizing blood glucose levels, and preventing complications after birth. This can be achieved through sufficient energy and protein intake, optimization of maternal nutritional status, and effective blood glucose management. 

Weight gain recommendations vary among women with different BMI status. Please consult your doctor to learn more about your energy and protein needs to support healthy weight gain. Adequate intake of micronutrients such as iron, folate, and calcium are also important in maintaining a healthy weight and feeding your baby for optimal growth. 

It is recommended that women with or without GDM consume a minimum of 175g carbs per day to prevent ketosis, which is the body’s alternative way of producing energy when little or no glucose is available in the body. Ketosis can negatively affect your ability to gain or maintain your weight and promote normal fetal development in pregnancy. Selecting the majority of your carbohydrate sources from low glycemic index foods such as non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and some fruits can effectively meet your carb needs while minimizing the risk of blood glucose spikes and diabetes. Pairing these nutrient-rich carbohydrates with lean proteins and healthy fats can help you stay healthy and active and meet your nutrient requirements during pregnancy. 

 LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR MANAGING GESTATIONAL DIABETES 

Consume a healthy, balanced diet that is high in fiber and protein for better management of blood glucose and energy levels. 

Physical activity is shown to help improve your energy, mood, and blood sugar levels. Enjoy safe, non-strenuous activities such as walking, yoga, and stretching. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

Gestational diabetes can develop during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy due to various physiological and hormonal changes. 

Adequate calorie and protein intake with mindful carb choices can promote healthy weight gain while managing blood glucose levels effectively. 

Physical activities are recommended for pregnant women with or without GDM. They help you manage blood glucose levels, feel energized, and reduce pregnancy-related stress. 

KEY NUTRIENTS & FOODS THAT HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS 

Consume a VARIETY of foods each day to ensure adequate calorie, protein, and key nutrient intake. 

Select LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX foods which can help minimize blood sugar spikes and provide adequate amounts of carbohydrates to prevent ketosis and weight loss. Low glycemic index foods include most high-fiber fruits and vegetables such as apples, berries, broccoli, and spinach. Beans, legumes, and some whole grains such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils and wild rice are also great sources of carbohydrates that are considered low glycemic index foods. 

Consume foods high in FOLATE, IRON, and CALCIUM for a healthy pregnancy. These nutrients are found in lean meats, dairy 

Selection of Our Meals That Are Suitable for This Condition: 

Tomato Basil Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

Stroganoff Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

Quinoa and Veggie Enchilada Verde

Moroccan Chicken with Quinoa

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Cuban Chicken and Rice

Barbecue Chicken Bowl

Vegetable & Chickpea Curry

• Coconut and Lemongrass Chicken

Great Karma Coconut Curry

 

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding diet. 

This article has been reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Sayuri Barritt, MS. RD. and Dani Cuddeback, MS. RD. CD.

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