Some female diabetic patients experience gestational diabetes when they go through pregnancy as their blood exhibit high glucose levels. It can get critical when mismanaged because it can affect both mother and child. Babies born to mothers with this condition may be at risk for being large at gestational age, having a low blood sugar, and even jaundice. Because the condition does not have any symptoms, pregnant women only discover this state when screened. Generally, about 3-10% of pregnancies are affected by this condition, and the theory is that gestational diabetes takes place when there is a deficiency in vitamin D.
Once discovered, women should follow a strict diet in order to manage the condition and to avoid any risks. The problem with this is that it is important that the unborn is not deprived of the nutrients needed while in utero. The first step is to manage the blood sugar levels, hence, carbohydrate and calorie counting is part of the task. Normally, diabetes patients are recommended to have about 40-60% of their calories from carbohydrate sources; the same is applicable for gestational diabetes. However, it is important to also keep in mind that these carbohydrates should be also balanced with other nutritional sources, especially protein. To demonstrate, a woman with gestational diabetes can start the day with a vegetable omelet, with whole grain toast, milk and then yogurt.
To design a diet plan, it is important to establish the following that should be consulted with the doctor: the amount of acceptable daily calories per trimester; the extra protein needed that will help the growth of the baby; and the division of calorie sources according to carbohydrate, protein, and fat sources. Normally, the division is 40-60%, 15-25% and 20-30% from fat.
From this information, you can go ahead and design the meal plan. It is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to eat three small to moderate-sized meals a day with two snacks between. The main idea is to distribute the calorie consumption throughout the day. An example of a diet plan, which you can modify, is as follows:
Meal 1 (Breakfast)
Vegetable omelet, whole wheat toast, milk, yogurt
Meal 2 (Snack)
Vegetable sticks, low calorie dip, whole wheat crackers, fruit.
Meal 3 (Lunch)
Whole grain pasta with a tomato-based sauce
Meal 4 (Snack)
Fruits, crackers, cheese
Meal 5 (Dinner)
Grilled chicken with salad, whole grain pita, sugar-free cookie
Meal 6 (Snack, if you are get hungry before going to bed)
Apple or whole grain muffin
It can be observed from this diet plan that fruits and vegetables dominate most of the day because fiber-rich food is important. Food and drinks with simple sugar like fruit juices and colas should be avoided or minimized to prevent the blood sugar level from increasing. Milk should be minimized as well because lactose is a form of sugar; milk consumption should be limited to two glasses.
To supplement the diet, drink lots of water and keep a proper exercise routine. Always monitor blood sugar levels and communicate with the doctor for any concerns. Also, do not limit yourself to the same kind of foods. This is why it helps to ask nutritionists and dietitians to give you a guide when designing your own diet plan according to your needs and taste.