Pregnancy is the most exciting period for an expecting mother. It is the period of change. You change completely when pregnant. Your body, both externally and internally, mindset, thought process, attitude, lifestyle, routine everything changes. You feel a ‘’new person’’ within you who cares more for the baby than you. Diabetes during pregnancy or gestational diabetes is one of the common changes your body may have.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Your body may cause diabetes during pregnancy even if you are already not diabetic. In the United States, 2% to 10% of pregnancies are affected by diabetes. It usually develops in the 23rd to 32nd week and disappears after delivery. There are possibilities from the very first week itself.
Insulin maintains healthy blood sugar levels in the human body. Pregnancy causes producing hormones that can prevent insulin to function properly. It is important to main a healthy blood sugar level for the well-being of both mother and baby.
The risk factor
High blood sugar helps the baby to gain weight. It may cause complications in delivery. The baby’s shoulder can get stuck while childbirth. Gestational diabetes can cause bleeding while delivery too. The possibility of infant diabetes for the newborns also cannot be denied. High blood sugar will increase the risk of high blood pressure too.
Diabetes when pregnant can be controlled by a few lifestyle changes. Proper exercise and a well-planned diet can give you the expected results. Aerobic exercises are best suitable for women with gestational diabetes. Aerobic exercises such as walking, stationary cycling, swimming, or any other aqua exercises are good. A daily routine of 20 – 60 minutes of exercise can be effective for gestational diabetes.
It is necessary to have a proper diet plan. A balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, enough proteins, and whole grains is necessary for the proper growth of the fetus and the health of the mother.
Tips for you
There are a few dos and don’ts we should know when we are diabetic during pregnancy. These tips will be helpful for a balanced diet.
👉Have a proper plan.
Diet doesn’t mean skipping food. It is a planning of meals including all the necessary nutrients. Keeping a diet book can help you. Have a plan and never forget to include your healthy cravings too.
👉Include lean proteins.
Protein-rich foods are essential for the baby’s healthy growth. They are the real building blocks. Always include food items that include more lean protein content. Chicken, eggs, fish, low-fat dairy, and turkey are the best picks among them. A protein-rich breakfast can lessen morning sickness and control your unwanted cravings by giving you a full feel.
👉Pick these vegetables.
Always pick non-starchy vegetables with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are very low in carbohydrates. Broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, onions, peppers, and salad greens are the best picks among them.
We are all well aware that fat content must be reduced in our day-to-day meals as they are unhealthy. But supplementing healthy fats will definitely be needed for the fetus, especially for heart health. Consuming avocado, nuts, olive oil, and seeds can supplement healthy fat for you and the baby.
👉Be careful with carbs.
Carbohydrates are necessary for energy, fiber, and nutrients. It is good to use complex carbohydrates when there is gestational diabetes. Beans, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, brown rice, Greek yogurt, and berries are good. It is suggested to avoid simple carbohydrates which increase the blood sugar level drastically. Simple carbohydrate foods include potatoes, French fries, white rice, candy, soda, fruit juices, and ice creams and sweets.
Pregnant women should eat regularly. The most recommended way is three meals and two light snacks. Skipping meals can develop serious health issues in fetuses as well as you. Having a proper breakfast including proteins and carbs must be the first aim in the morning. Lunch and an early dinner can make the process complete. You can have 2 snacks when you feel hungry a day. Choose healthy snacks and avoid biscuits or sugary juices.
Fruits can be the alternative for French fries and other cravings. It is always good to opt for fruit as such instead of fruit juices as they have more fiber. Even if you are drinking juices, try to use juices with zero added sugar and preferably homemade. Berries, such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are usually recommended by nutritionists. Always use fresh fruits and juices as they are more nutritious than canned or frozen items.
👉Keep yourself hydrated
Do not restrict yourself from drinking water. Drink water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle along with you make it a habit of taking a sip within a small interval. Water plays a vital role in regulating your blood sugar.
What should I Avoid?
Pregnancy is a time of cravings. Cravings are different for each person. When you are diabetic during pregnancy, it is not good to satisfy all your cravings if there is a diabetic issue. You will have to avoid certain food items. At least you should reduce the consumption. Fast foods have to be restricted as they are unhealthy for even a normal person. Pregnant women, especially those who have diabetes cannot eat fast food as the danger fact is considered.
It is strongly suggested for pregnant women avoid alcoholic beverages. This may lead to long-term health problems for the infant including birth defects. Alcoholic beverages increase blood sugar levels drastically. Baked foods such as muffins, donuts, cakes, fried foods, and sugary drinks can cause a quick increase in the blood sugar level and must be avoided. Very starchy foods like pasta and white rice are also not good.
While pregnant we are preparing ourselves to be great mothers. We care for the smaller ones a lot. It is our responsibility to give birth to a healthy baby. If you are struggling with gestational diabetes, a few light lifestyle changes can help you to be healthy and to make the fetus so. It is nothing but stress-free days, a planned diet, and proper exercise.