Gestastional diabetes can have negative consequences for both mother and baby. Gestational diabetes causes a pregnant woman to have high blood sugar levels even though she was not diabetic before pregnancy. The high blood sugar levels associated with gestational diabetes are often controlled with a gestational diabetes diet. If the blood sugar levels continue to be high, insulin injections may be necessary.
A gestational diabetes diet is similar to a diabetes diet. The difference is that the gestational diabetic diet must take into account the caloric demand of pregnancy. Therefore, the gestational diabetes diet may include more calories than the diabetic diet may include if the woman was not pregnant.
The obstetrician may recommend that the gestational diabetic patient meet with a nutritionist to devise a gestational diabetes diet. Like the diabetic diet, a nutritionist can structure a diet that specifies the servings of the food groups for each meal and snack. The nutritionist can educate the gestational diabetic patient on portion sizes and healthy food choices.
Fruit juice, large servings of starches, and sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike. The gestational diabetic patients check and record their blood sugar levels after meals. If the blood sugar levels are too high, the nutritionist can make recommendations on foods to eat and those to avoid. If the first blood sugar level, or fasting blood sugar level, is too low, the nutritionist may recommend a snack at night that would help prevent the blood sugar level from becoming too low.
If the pregnant woman’s blood glucose levels remain high, the baby’s blood glucose levels are higher than they should be. The high blood glucose levels of the baby causes the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin. The insulin turns the glucose into energy. The energy that is not needed by the baby is turned into fat. Babies whose mothers’ had gestational diabetes tend to be large due to this extra fat.