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Avatar universal

Gestational Diabetes

I think the thing that worries me most during pregnancy is gestational diabetes because it can cause some pretty serious complications, especially for the birth.

So my question is - is there anything I can be doing to help prevent GD? A certain diet? Or is this something that just develops regardless of what you do?

I never had it my other pregnancies but my last pregnancy I was close to the cutoff. My midwives' cutoff is lower than most doctors' cutoffs, too, which is kind of frustrating. I think this is something that needs to be consistent nationally. I don't want to "cheat" the test; I definitely want it to be accurate and treated accordingly. But I'm just hoping there are things I can do to decrease the risk of developing it.

P.S. I'm usually a chocoholic and I could care less about sweets this pregnancy. So not sure if sugar or chocolate plays a role in the development of it (if it does then I am hopefully good to go since I'm not eating it, ha ha ha)!
15 Responses
Avatar universal
Just like anyone with diabetes, you can control or prevent it by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Many people just assume sweets are what causes surges in blood sugar, but most of it is actually from carbs. Watch the amount of carbs you consume and have the same amount daily. Eating multiple small meals a day can keep your blood sugar levels even. Also eat less carbs in the morning at breakfast than any other time of day because insulin resistance is greatest in the am. Eat foods high in fiber, avoid sugars, and drink enough water. Hope your pregnancy goes well.
280369 tn?1316705641
It worries me too. I was pretty close to the cut off last pregnancy as well. =/  I have 1 more month and then I get tested for it! I'm so nervous!! I am trying my best to eat healthy and I can barely eat much these days because I get full so quickly. So the small meals I do eat, I try to make sure they are healthy and limit my sweet intake!
Avatar universal
First of all, cut down on high calorie food. Second, increase your intake of RAW vegetables. It must be raw because you want to take in as much vitamins as possible (cooking kills them). Do take lots of bell pepper, red cabbage and broccoli, before every meal. They are rich in vitamin C and selenium, and anti-oxidizing. Besides these, take everything in moderation. Try to take natural food and avoid processed ones.
1428239 tn?1333460653
Why do thye test for gestational diabetes so late?  

I am really worried about it too.. I try not to eat too many sweets right now but this week I found that I get really weak and sick and i try eating bananas and other food but then i just get worst. but if i eat something sugary it goes away..  I call my baby my sugar baby because of it...  Sometimes berries help as an alternative and i have been trying to have say a granola bar instead of chocolate... but why do i feel so sick and weak if I avoid sugar?
1440696 tn?1307120809
I had gestational diabetes (GD) with both of my previous pregnancies. With my first it was severe; I was on a diabetic diet and 90 units of insulin a day and that still didn't bring it down to normal levels.

When I got pregnant with my second, I began following the diabetic diet as soon as I found out. I still ended up getting GD, but it wasn't as severe. Whether it wasn't as severe because I started the diet early on or because it was my second baby and my body was able to adjust a little better is uncertain.

Now, I am pregnant with my third. I asked my doctor in the beginning of this pregnancy if there was anything I could do to prevent GD. He said good nutrition and an exercise program are good things to do, but there is no solid proof that it will help prevent GD.

Because of my increased risk for GD, they did a 1hr glucose test at 8wks, which I passed. My next one is scheduled for April 6 (I'll be almost 26wks). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will pass that one too!

I hope this was somewhat helpful and you have a happy & healthy pregnancy. Best of luck to you!
1271927 tn?1310583962
Amino - I think you gave the best advice so far. My dr also said that you can NOT prevent gestational diabeties. In fact, all pregnant women are slightly diabetic anyways NATURALLY. What you can do is eat a diabetic diet to help control it.

As far as diet is concerned, it's not about eating sugar. It's about eating, balancing, and timing. One person said to eat lots of veggies....I know carrots are bad for MY gestational diabeties, so not good advice there. EVERYTHING you eat turns to sugar in your blood. Red peppers, milk, cereal, lettuce, whatever - it all turns to sugar. A gestational diabetic diet focuses on eating a balanced amount of protien and carbs at each meal. The easiest way to describe the diet is to follow an Atkins diet.

Exercise does help some with GD. It's always good to get some exercise too! And dr's don't usually do the test until late in pregnancy because that's when most women get it. It is caused by pressure on the pancread (or liver, I can't remember) which produces insulin. You have more pressure at the end of pregnancy. I've taken the test 4 times because I was at risk for GD. 10 weeks before I am due I got GD.
Avatar universal
The Atkins diet is not healthy long term, as your body needs carbohydrates. A healthy diet should consist of 40 to 60% of the food you eat being carbohydrates. Eating good carbohydrates is what is important, to make sure you have whole wheat, fiber, etc. Also the Atkins type diet would deprive the fetus's brain of needed glucose and may impair it's development.

Here's an example of a healthy meal plan for a pregnant woman:

breakfast: 1 whole wheat english muffin, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1 c low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1/2 c fresh strawberries, 1 c orange juice.
midmorning snack: 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1 oz pretzels.
lunch: sandwich(tuna salad on whole wheat bread), 1/2 carrot (sticks), 1 c low-fat milk
dinner: chicken cacciatore, 3 oz chicken, 1/2 stewed tomatoes, 1 c rice, 1/2 c summer squash, 1 1/2 c salad(spinach, mushrooms, carrots), 1 tbs salad dressing, 1 slice italian bread, 2 tbs soft margarine, 1 c low-fat milk.

This sample meal plan is about 2,500 calories with 55% from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 25% from fat, and meets most of the vitamin and mineral needs of pregnant women.
Avatar universal
Wow, thank you all for the information and advice! I'm pretty active with little ones at home but am also going to be walking a lot now that the weather is nice (no more snow and ice!).  

I agree carbs are necessary while pregnant but in moderation. We buy whole wheat bread (I especially like the bread with the grains and seeds in it; I like the texture). I also love soups. I probably need to eat more raw vegetables but that won't be a problem because I'm a veggie lover. I am anti-pasta right now; it makes me want to throw up to think about Italian food, LOL! So at least I'm not eating a lot of pasta.

Awesome, I'm going to make a grocery list and some meal plans based on all of your help ladies! I really hope I don't get GD and if I do I'll at least I know I did what I could to hopefully prevent it.


Petite Wonder - I've noticed the same thing myself. It could be that your blood sugar is getting too low so a piece of candy or chocolate will boost those levels back up more quickly sometimes than other foods. Drink lots of water, too! That is something I am working on as well because I get so distracted with cleaning, cooking and taking care of kids that I forget to stop and drink my water.
1271927 tn?1310583962
Carbs are certainly important and should not be avoided during pregnancy or long term. The Atkins diet does not forbid carbs, as nearly all foods have some carbs in them. And I did not mean to imply otherwise. Also, I would not suggest ANY type of diet for a pregnant woman. Pregnancy is NOT the time to diet - it's the time for BALANCED and NUTRITIONAL meals. For me, refering to the Atkins diet was the CLOSEST thing I could think of to describe the GENERAL type of meal plans I have to eat in order to control MY gestational diabeties.

I should mention that the meal plan suggested by sweetpea might put me in the hospital with raging sugar levels, near the state of convusling, especially with all those sugars and carbs in the morning! I can hardly do pb and strawberries in the morning and my dr  specifically suggested that I eat fruit only at lunch time as eating it first thing in the morning puts me dangerously close to the cut off limit. Drinking oj at that hour would certainly ruin my day!! Once, and only once, since I've had GB I drank about an ounce of oj in the afternoon and I had to wait HOURS for my sugar to come down. I can't have more than 1/2 cup of rice at a time, and should only eat it once in a great while with A LOT of protien. Cranberry juice and pretzels provide NO protien and that would be a terrible combination for me as well. The rest of the day's suggest diet (minus carrots, milk and white bread) would be fine for my diet. The tuna is especially helpful, but I can only eat that twice per week.

I know everyone is different in contolling their diabeties and only a dr should be really suggesting or recommending food plans. For me, I just had to try different food combinations and see what works and what doesn't.
Whole grain cereal and milk are my greatest enemy at ANY time of day. And both have been STRICTLY forbiden from my diet.
Peanut butter seems to be my best friend and one of my easiest sources of protien.
Crystal Light and water are the only things I can drink. And any calcium intake (cheese, non-fat yougurt) must be at lunch time for me.

I do just fine with spaghetti, open face sandwiches with TONS of meat (and a slice of whole grain bread), and buffalo chicken tenders.  Any juice or milk is off limits for me. Oatmeal and carrots are no longer friends of mine.

Each person has a different tolerence to sugars, carbs and protiens. Finding a good balance of what works and what doesn't work for each person can only be determined by trying foods, and testing blood sugar on a regular basis. I check mine 4 times a day at a minimum. What worked great one day, might only work ok the next day. Stress and oher environmental factors play into blood sugar as well.

I also want to mention that for some it is very difficult to find a balanced diet when having GD and for these women, continuing to take your prenatal vitamins is very VERY important.
1271927 tn?1310583962
Just for fun, I looked up that meal plan....it came straight from a book that has nothing to do with GD, but rather is a recommended meal plan for a regular pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
1428239 tn?1333460653
I eat alot of fruit.. is that bad?  I thought I was doing good as the dietary recommendations to me has been 3-5 servings of fruit, 2-4 of vegetables.. or along those lines... I probably only have a 1 banana, an orange, and  berries or an apple.. so i mean its really not abundant   justreading what aamandamae said about it being only eaten at lunch time.. i usually have my banana as my mid morning snack.... not quite breakfast...
Avatar universal
Eating raw fruits shouldn't be bad. It is recommended to eat raw fruits and veggies. Fruits can contain a lot of antioxidants. I'm not a huge fruit person myself but I love berries and some apples, bananas are good but I only eat 1-2 a week. I think when you eat fruit with some protein or dairy (think: fresh fruit mixed into plain yogurt, yummmmo!) it is good. I think carrots are a no-no but I'm not sure. My father-in-law is diabetic and he eats a lot of celery and apples. I should ask him about his diet.

Protein is definitely good, Amanda. I definitely need to eat protein as well. I have a really hard time with meat (it grosses me out) but this pregnancy I've turned into a carnivore. I still won't touch seafood, maybe a tuna sandwich but that has a ton of mayo (I may make some with yogurt instead but not sure how that tastes?). But chicken has been great. I LOVE sandwiches. I eat Jimmy John's and Subway when I'm out because I don't eat other fast food (like McDonalds; totally gross!). Steaks are delicious but that's definitely not something I have often at all. Mostly just chicken though turkey is probably a better option.
136689 tn?1419584047
Follow a low GI diet and limit the serves of carbohydrates per meal, i didn't have gd with my first pregnancy but this time i have it and am on insulin with a combination of a rapid acting insulin and a long lasting insulin, just remember too that even though milk is a protein it actually contains sugar is a carbohydrate, but mainly follow a low gi diet, and look at which fruits are high in fructose as these are the high in sugar fruits, eg. grapes and cherries etc
1271927 tn?1310583962
Petite - eating fruit is NOT bad. It's rather important to eat fruite (and veggies, and protien...) while pregnant. I didn't realize that fruit does contain a good amount of sugar and carbs - which is FINE - but people with GD need to be sure to balance protien with carbs. For me, the easiest way to get in my furit servings is to eat an apple with peanut butter. The pb has a good amount of protien that helps to properly digest the carbs in the apple. Another thing to take into consideration is that one piece of fruit is NOT one serving. A normal sized banana can be 2-3 servings of fruit!

Having gestational diabeties is a game of food balance, not food restriction (unless you're talking about cookies, chocolate, and pie - maybe restrict those! LOL!)
1647275 tn?1301293670
I know how you feel.  I didn't have it with my 1st pregnancy but failed the 1st test in my 2nd pregnancy by just a little but I ended up passing the 3 hour test.  I would just eat more healthy and save a small "cheating" snack at the end of the day.  I made the mistake of eating badly during my 2nd pregnancy, so I think eating responsibly will help you avoid elevated insulin.  I found this website, http://egestationaldiabetes.com/,  if you are looking for some more dietary guidelines.
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