In case you missed it:
– Part 1 What is it and how to test
Let’s Talk About Diet
Now that you know a little bit about Gestational Diabetes, what it is and how to test for it (discussed in part 1), let’s talk about diet.
I mentioned that women diagnosed with GD should always measure your glucose levels fasting and postprandial. In my opinion, if a woman has higher than normal blood sugar numbers, it would be good to measure glucose prior to going to bed to see if the woman needs a snack. I find that in some women, that final reading is the most useful.
As I said before, pregnancy is a naturally insulin resistance stage. During the night fast, when no calories are consumed, the body works harder to prevent insulin from doing its job, so that more glucose is available for the fetus. Fetuses are not like us. They don’t need 3 square meals and 2 snacks a day, or whatever your eating patterns are, they need fuel constantly throughout the 24 hours to grow leaps & bounds and to go through those amazing changes that they go through daily. This is the reason why, most women who seek my help come to me because their first morning reading is elevated, off the charts, maybe 100 or 105, but their glucose numbers after meals are all in the range. The baby needs food, and after a woman has been fasting for 8 hours, 7 hours, is it physiologically normal for blood sugar to be higher than 90 mg of deciliter of blood.
For women with high fasting glucose, it can be helpful to set an alarm for around 3 or 4 in the morning and have a snack. Usually a snack at that time is what tricks the glucose meter into having a better reading in the morning. It also provides the baby with fuel.
Make sure your snack is composed of proteins and fats. A hard-boiled egg, celery sticks with nut butter or guacamole. Avocadoes are a wonderful food for pregnant women & their baby’s. As are sardines, canned tuna. But who wants to eat those foods at 4 in the morning? So the best bet is to have half an apple with a few nuts or peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, some women can tolerate cheese or full-fat yogurt.
I have never seen a salad satisfy a pregnant women or building a baby. It’s hard to tell a pregnant woman to eat salads for the rest of her pregnancy and they aren’t going to get the nutrition that they need.
The diet for pregnant mothers, Gestational Diabetes or not, is a diet full of healthy fats, soluble vitamins and mineral, and moderate amount of proteins.
It is true that there is not one perfect diet, and that the diet that better suites our needs depends on our ancestry, where we are from, what foods are available in our region, our activity level, etc. It is safe to say that some people may need more carbohydrates, some people may need more fat, but generally speaking, to build a healthy baby we want a lot of fat soluble vitamins in the form of A, D, E, and K. these fat soluble nutrients come and are absorbed in the presence of fatty acids. They are foods that help with the development of the brain, the immune system and the skeletal system of the fetus. Having plenty of these nutrients allow a mother to build a baby without robbing her own stores. The fetus is still considered a parasite, because it is allowed to steal nutrients that are on reserve for the mother. There is a saying that goes “with each pregnancy, here goes a tooth.” Those women did not eat/absorb enough calcium while pregnant, so their body broke down the calcium stored in the bone tissue, and of course, teeth, to make calcium available for the healthy baby, finding themselves depleted at the end of the pregnancy.
If you’re not eating the right kind of foods, it doesn’t matter how many calories you bring in. If they are empty calories, in the forms of processed, refined, white foods, then your body isn’t going to get the nutrients that it needs to help healthy babies and that’s when your stores are going to be touched upon. It’s like having a bank account. If you keep taking out money without putting it in, eventually you’re going to be at a zero balance and eventually you’re going to get negative. That is what happens to most women.