Babies receive nutrition from the foods that the mother eats, so all women should choose healthy foods when pregnant. Women who have diabetes, however, should take extra care. You have to maintain a healthy weight gain so that your baby is born healthy. Do this by carefully planning your diet to include nutritious foods.
Why It’s Important
Women who have diabetes are more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects, according to the American Diabetes Association, particularly if the mother does not make an effort to get her blood sugar levels under control. The organization also reports that babies born to mothers with diabetes generally weigh more — which can mean a more difficult birth for baby and mother — and may have hypoglycemia and jaundice once born. Following a healthy diet can reduce the risks.
Diabetes vs. Gestational Diabetes
Women with diabetes are able to have a healthy pregnancy. Some non-diabetic women develop gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that only lasts during pregnancy. Both types of women should follow a similar diet plan, but women with gestational diabetes may find it more difficult, since careful diet planning may be new to them.
Foods to Eat
You do not literally need to eat for two. In the first trimester, it’s best to make no changes to the amount of calories that you’re eating. Later on, you only need an additional 200 or 300 calories per day. Revolution Health recommends getting 40 to 50 percent of your calories from carbohydrate-based foods, choosing foods that are whole grains more often than those with refined grains. You can also eat fresh, frozen or cooked fruits and vegetables, dairy products and protein, like meat or beans.
Foods to Avoid
You should avoid refined carbohydrates, junk foods and fruit juices. If your blood sugar levels increase after eating traditionally healthy foods, your doctor may recommend excluding fruits and dairy products from your diet as well, as these might cause your blood sugar to spike.
Seeking Professional Help
If you need help planning a pregnancy diet for diabetes, talk to a professional nutritionist who has experience with planning diets for both pregnant women and those with diabetes. Even a few initial meetings can help put you on the right track when you’re feeling lost.