Receiving the news that you have gestational diabetes no doubt comes as a shock to any expecting mother. This condition is one of the most common health problems affecting pregnant women, and tends to occur around the 24-week mark. During this time it’s vital to follow your doctor’s advice for managing your blood sugar levels as high blood sugar can place your developing baby at risk of health complications.
As with all types of diabetes, a healthy diet plays a key role in managing blood glucose levels. Kath Megaw, paediatric dietician and author of Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children (Quivertree Publishing), shares her top tips for eating well with gestational diabetes.
1. Your eating schedule should consist of three meals and two to three small snacks a day to help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
2. Cut out all sugars, refined starches and white carbohydrates.
3. Drink water only. Fizzy drinks, fruit juices and other sweetened beverages are to be avoided.
4. Eat a range of fresh vegetables, particularly green and orange veggies.
5. Eat only fresh fruit. Dried fruit, fruit juices and canned fruits are not suitable during this time due to their high sugar content. Eat no more than three fruit portions per day, of which berries should make up two portions. Distribute the three fruit portions over the course of a day.
6. Include some healthy fats at each meal and at snack time. Good sources are tree nuts, in particular almonds, hazelnuts and cashews; seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds; olives; olive oil; avocado and coconut fat.
7. Protein is very important for the health of the placenta, the baby and the mom. Good protein sources include eggs, meats and fish. Dairy products are also beneficial but make sure they are the least processed available, that is full cream and unsweetened, with no added colourants or flavourants. Plain yoghurt, milk, butter and cream cheeses are good options.
8. When it comes to grains, eat natural, unprocessed grains such as quinoa, oats, spelt, millet and sorghum, and stick to a maximum of two portions a day.
Kath Megaw is a speaker at the 2016 Baby Sense Parenting Seminars, proudly brought to you by Momentum Health. For more information and to book for these informative parenting seminars, visit www.babysense.com. Kath is also co-author of Feeding Sense (Metz Press).
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