What to eat if you have gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a bit like the surprise guest that shows up in the middle of pregnancy. We didn't necessarily want to see him, but once he's there... no choice, you have to deal with it. And when it hits us, the idea of ​​adjusting our diet can seem daunting. Do not panic ! Controlling your blood sugar levels with a proper diet isn't so rocket science, I promise. As long as we have the right information. So, what to eat if you have gestational diabetes? In this article, we dive into the heart of the issue with you. We will explore the different ways to manage this disorder during pregnancy, and we will share with you our best tips for preparing balanced meals.

Gestational diabetes: what is it?

Gestational diabetes often appears in the middle of pregnancy, and results in an increase in blood sugar levels. According to the French Federation of Diabetics , this disorder can cause several risks, such as:

  • Preeclampsia in pregnant women.
  • Excessive growth in the baby.

Although its name can be confusing, gestational diabetes is distinct from types 1 and 2! For what ? Because it appears during pregnancy without prior symptoms and often disappears after childbirth. However, it requires special attention, since it increases the risk of subsequent type 2 diabetes for both mother and child.

When is there a risk of developing gestational diabetes?

Screening for gestational diabetes remains crucial in pregnant women. According to Ameli , we see some main risk factors:

  • Age greater than 35 years at the start of pregnancy.
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • History of gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.

How to manage gestational diabetes?

Medical monitoring

Rest assured: just because you have gestational diabetes does not mean that your medical follow-up will be more complicated. This will really depend on the stability of your blood sugar. If it is well controlled, then you will have monthly prenatal consultations, and quarterly ultrasounds, like all women. You may be ordered to have an additional test to check the growth of the fetus.

On the other hand, if your blood sugar is unbalanced, you will be monitored a little more intensively. This includes, among other things, the possibility of inducing your delivery at 39 weeks of gestation, with the aim of limiting the risk of complications.

Postpartum, you will also be monitored to confirm the disappearance of diabetes, and prevent the risk of hypoglycemia in your baby. Especially if you have had to inject insulin, or if you are overweight.

Diet and blood sugar management

Managing your diet and your sugar level is essential when faced with gestational diabetes. If you are affected, your doctor probably emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels. Here are the tips usually recommended:

  • Eat three meals a day and incorporate two daily snacks to avoid major blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Use a blood glucose meter, provided with a doctor's prescription, to measure your sugar level 4 to 6 times a day. This allows you to adjust your diet and treatment based on the results.
  • In the absence of contraindications, we encourage you to practice physical activity adapted to your period of pregnancy, to help you regulate your sugar level.

Are you in the conception period and looking for a little help? Our pregnancy food supplements are made for you!

Our advice for balanced meals in case of gestational diabetes

As you will have understood, limiting blood sugar peaks remains essential if you have gestational diabetes. Here are some tips to achieve this.

Favor complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates remain an important source of energy for the future mother and her baby. So, opt for foods such as:

  • wholemeal bread;
  • whole grains;
  • vegetables ;
  • legumes.

These foods digest slowly, which will help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Choose lean proteins

Protein, too, is important in a balanced diet because it promotes satiety. Choose products like:

  • cottage cheese;
  • natural yogurt;
  • vegetable proteins;
  • Fish.

They are rich in protein and have a very low impact on blood sugar levels. Which makes them allies of choice!

Favor foods rich in fiber

Fiber is also fantastic for stabilizing blood sugar levels because it slows the absorption of carbohydrates. You will consume them while eating:

  • fruits ;
  • vegetables ;
  • unground seeds.

Limit sugary foods

Bad news: refined sugars don't play well with diabetes. So we know, it can be hard (especially when pregnant)... but try to reduce your consumption of sugary products. I promise, there are plenty of healthy and not boring alternatives:

  • squares of 80% dark chocolate (and more!);
  • jam without added sugar;
  • flower sugar.

Control fat

Fat does not directly cause blood sugar spikes. However, watch out for bad fats! Limit them, and favor foods like:

  • the lawyer;
  • fatty fish;
  • certain nuts;
  • olive oil.

Other foods with a low glycemic index

Are you still looking for ideas of what to put on your plate? Come on, let's give you a summary (not exhaustive!) of low GI foods that you can consume without moderation:

  • Wholemeal bread and cereals: Black bread, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice… They are rich in fiber, protein, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Non-starchy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables, colorful vegetables (carrots, peppers, tomatoes), etc. They contain a low amount of carbohydrates and a relatively low glycemic index (GI).
  • Fresh fruit: Apples, red fruits, citrus fruits… All have a lower GI than fruit juices. They therefore release sugar more slowly into the blood.
  • Legumes: Red beans, lentils, chickpeas… They offer a great source of fiber and protein. They therefore constitute excellent alternatives to animal proteins, the GI of which is sometimes high.
  • Dairy products: Plain yogurt and cottage cheese (unsweetened). These products are perfectly suited to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
  • Unprocessed Food: Raw, unprocessed foods contain more essential nutrients and fiber! And, therefore, a lower GI than processed foods.

Attention ! There are also certain foods prohibited during pregnancy . Try as much as possible to avoid them, especially in cases of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes 2

Balanced meal ideas for gestational diabetes

You understand that you need to take care of your diet, but you are completely lacking in the daily menu? So here are some ideas to help you get started.

Champion Breakfast

Bowl of oatmeal: prepare it with soy milk, add muesli, and a seasonal fruit. Red fruits are also great to eat in the morning. Don't like plant-based drinks? Replace them with a bowl of plain Greek yogurt!

Fiber-rich breakfast

Complete salad: take a bowl of green salad and add seasonal vegetables. Include a source of lean protein (sliced ​​grilled chicken, marinated tofu, white fish fillets). Don’t forget quinoa or bulgur for starches! And finally, season with a tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Light dinner

Sautéed vegetables and proteins: Brown a mixture of vegetables (broccoli, peppers, mushrooms) with a source of protein (shrimp, diced tofu). Serve with whole grains (barley, spelt), or opt for roasted sweet potato, excellent for its richness in nutrients and moderate GI.

Snacks and snacks

Healthy snacks: If you feel a little peckish between meals , choose snacks that stabilize blood sugar levels such as almonds, walnuts, or hard cheese.

Smoothies: Mix spinach, a small banana, berries, and vegetable milk. This is a great way to incorporate low GI vegetables and fruits while ensuring maximum hydration and nutrition.

So, what do we take away from all this? Well, gestational diabetes remains entirely compatible with a peaceful pregnancy! If you, future mothers, adopt the right food choices in addition to your medical follow-up, you will love these few months of sharing with your baby. We promise you that.

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