Most people, when asked to describe a gestational diabetes diet, would describe it as being restrictive and difficult. In fact, this is pretty far from the truth. A gestational diabetes diet, in most cases, is very similar to any healthy pregnancy diet. Any pregnant woman is going to be recommended to eat a similar diet with plenty of protein, fiber, and nutrients. This is all necessary to maintain the healthiest diet and lifestyle for your growing baby.
A gestational diabetes diet is going to have a few restrictions, of course. These are normally going to be foods that most pregnant women should avoid, however the consequences of indulging are certainly higher when you have gestational diabetes. To understand these consequences better, you need to understand the basics of gestational diabetes.
Understanding the Basics
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is the occurrence of diabetes during pregnancy. In almost all cases, gestational diabetes only affects the mother until delivery and then goes away. In some cases, the mother has a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life but not directly after pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes, when left untreated, could be potentially harmful to both mother and baby. One of the most common side effects of gestational diabetes is high birth weight, which can be a challenge or even potentially dangerous during the birth of the child.
The cause of gestational diabetes is mostly unknown, but it is strongly linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy.
How Will Gestational Diabetes Affect My Daily Life?
For the most part, women who have gestational diabetes have normal and healthy pregnancies. The biggest difference for these women is in the monitoring of their condition. Gestational diabetics need to test their blood sugar level regularly, which requires obtaining a drop of blood. This is usually done with a simple prick of a finger. You may also have a few extra checkups and blood work as your pregnancy progresses.
Your diet is a huge and important part of your treatment. You will be asked to maintain the healthiest diet possible in order to keep your blood sugar stabilized. Usually this is not a huge change from any other pregnant woman’s diet, depending on the seriousness of your condition.
Foods to Avoid
Although it is usually best to concentrate on the recommended and best foods to eat for gestational diabetes, it is a good idea to be aware of foods that you should outright avoid.
Here is a list of foods that you will want to eliminate from your diet:
Processed Foods: Processed foods have little in the way of nutrition and are full of carbohydrates, sodium, hidden sugars, and all sorts of chemical additives.
High Sugar Confections: Nothing will spike your blood sugar and then have you come crashing down like a bunch of empty sugar calories. These sugary snacks aren’t just bad for you when you have gestational diabetes, they can be outright dangerous.
Simple Carbohydrates: White bread, flour tortillas, white rice and other simple carbohydrates are pretty much just like eating sugar.
Fruit Juices: Store bought fruit juices are typically just liquid sugar. Instead, use a juicer at home and juice your own fresh fruit and vegetables.
Gestational diabetes actually will not change your diet much, unless your diet before pregnancy was particularly unhealthy. You will need to be more vigilant about including plenty of protein, fiber, healthy fats and nutrients into your diet, but that is true for any pregnancy diet. Be vigilant about the foods that you should restrict, and replace them with healthier options.