gestational diabetes diet, pregnant woman touches stomach and holds healthy food

Following a healthy gestational diabetes diet is a crucial part in managing the disease. Gestational diabetes occurs in 6-8 percent of pregnancies, a sharp increase from 3-4 percent in previous years. Here’s what you need to know about the disease and how to manage it.

How it works

Gestational diabetes works similarly to type 2 diabetes: the body loses its ability to use the insulin it creates to turn glucose into energy. With gestational diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood stream and can be unhealthy for both the mother and baby. Gestational diabetes usually disappears after giving birth, but about half of the women who develop gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Complications

Gestational diabetes can cause health problems for both the mother and baby. For example, the baby’s shoulders could become stuck during birth. After birth, the baby could have difficulty regulating its blood sugar because it’s used to an increased amount of glucose.

The mother faces several health issues as well, like increased bleeding and preeclampsia, a sometimes life-threatening rise in blood pressure.

The gestational diabetes diet

What you should eat:

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Baked fish
  • Eggs or egg whites
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt

What you should avoid:

  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Candy
  • Sugary drinks
  • Baked goods
  • Starchy food, like white potatoes and white rice

gestational diabetes diet, what to eat and what to avoid infographic

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Treatment

Gestational diabetes is typically treated with a healthy diet and exercise. It is recommended to get about 150 minutes of exercise every week, or about 30 minutes 5 days per week. Depending on how high your blood sugar is, your doctor may prescribe you blood sugar-regulating medication, like metformin or insulin.

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Kayla Pearce
Kayla Pearce is a Content Developer at Diabetic Nation in Memphis, TN. She has backgrounds in professional and creative writing and over a decade of experience in research and editing. She is deeply interested in literature, poetry, cats, and dessert.