I have gestational diabetes mellitus. What should I eat to stay healthy?
Ask your physician or midwife to refer you to a dietitian that specializes in diabetes. You will need to eat a variety of foods, but generally speaking you should stick with low-fat protein, like chicken and some kinds of fish, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Many women find that having three small meals and two to three snacks each day works best to help them reach their blood sugar goals. Try to avoid foods high in carbohydrates, which affect your blood glucose level more than other food, such as meats, vegetables and fats. Carbohydrates are the primary nutrient affecting post meal blood glucose levels. The ideal amount of carbohydrates for pregnant women with gestational diabetes is unknown. Ask your physician for a referral to a dietitian who will create an individualized meal plan to help you meet your blood glucose goals. In most cases, three small meals and two to three snacks each day works best. It is generally recommended the foods high in sucrose, such as soda, candy, desserts and jams and jellies, be avoided.
Your dietician can help you plan how many servings of carbohydrate-rich foods to have at each meal or snack. The glycemic index is a measure of the change in blood glucose level after eating carbohydrate-containing foods. Foods that have a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed slowly and as a result produce only a gradual risk in blood glucose levels. Examples of low glycemic index foods include oatmeal, whole-grain breads, nuts and fresh fruit. Conversely foods that have a high glycemic index are rapidly digested and absorbed and increase blood glucose levels more rapidly. Examples of high glycemic foods include breakfast cereals, white rice and instant potatoes.
For more information on diabetes, please visit the American Diabetes Association.