Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. When you have gestational diabetes your body is unable to keep your blood glucose, or blood sugar, within normal limits. During pregnancy, abnormal blood sugar levels can increase the risk of health problems with the mother and baby. By watching what, when, and how much you eat, you can usually keep your blood sugar within normal limits.
There are three main principles behind the diet for gestational diabetes:
1. Your hormones at this stage of pregnancy keep your blood sugar higher in the morning. Because of this, you need to eat a very small breakfast.
2. Your body can only manage small amounts of carbohydrates at a time. This means eating smaller meals more often. It is recommended that you have 6 small meals per day. Carbohydrates are found in starchy foods, fruit, milk and sugary foods. You do not want to cut the carbohydrates from your diet - carbohydrates are still the basis of a healthy diet. You just want to control the amount of carbohydrate eaten and spread the carbohydrate foods throughout the day. By eating six small meals, you help fuel your body and your baby's body and also keep your blood sugar within a normal range.
3. Eating a little protein at each mini-meal helps meet the needs of pregnancy and helps stabilize your blood sugar.
Most women need about 2000 calories during the third trimester once they have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
> Download the 2000 calorie meal plan here