Having diabetes while you’re pregnant means that you have to take extra care to eat the right foods. Your baby has a higher chance of gaining too much weight, which can put her at risk for preterm delivery or a difficult childbirth. Fortunately, through careful planning, you can manage your diabetes during your pregnancy.
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes vs. Gestational Diabetes
Those who have diabetes before they’re pregnant are able to have a normal, healthy pregnancy. The American Diabetes Association suggests getting your blood sugar levels under control before you plan to conceive, which can make for an easier pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that shows up only when pregnant. There is no difference in a diabetic pregnancy diet based on the kind of diabetes that you have, but those with gestational diabetes may find the transition more difficult, since you’re not used to paying such close attention to your diet.
Your goal should be to eat the right combination of foods at the right times to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Revolution Health recommends eating between 40 and 50 percent of your food as carbohydrates and limiting your fat intake. Protein should consist of about 25 percent of your diet. Take care to eat small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
Pregnancy Diet for Diabetics
Keeping your calories in check can prevent additional weight gain — you only need about 300 extra calories per day to support your baby. It can be helpful to keep a food diary to keep track of what you eat. Choose whole grain options over refined ones — blend the two if you don’t care for the taste. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables offer excellent nutrition without many calories. Lean protein can help you reduce your overall caloric intake.
Your doctor may ask you to test your insulin levels more frequently than you are used to. Your body may perform differently while pregnant, and you need to monitor the response to certain foods.
In some cases, you have more restrictions to your diet when you are pregnant than when you are not. For example, if blood sugar levels are still too high, you may need to eliminate fruit or dairy products from your diet in addition to refined carbohydrates.