When a pregnant woman discovers she has gestational diabetes, or a diabetic woman finds she is pregnant, the first concern is the diet will have to be nine months of uninspired prison fare. But a diabetes pregnancy diet can be just as fulfilling and varied as any other pregnancy diet. It is about managing nutrition for healthy results. But if you think about it carefully, there are many situations in life that need amended dietary menus. It may be post surgery, chronic disease or temporary illnesses that dictate diet. The diabetes pregnancy diet offers a lifestyle change promising good nutrition long after the baby is born.
Out Of Control
It is critical that diabetes be controlled with either diet or a combination of diet and insulin. Diabetes not monitored and controlled has serious consequences for the baby.
- Heart defect
- Spina Bifida
- Macrosomia or a baby weighing over 10 pounds
- Breathing problems
- Defects in the digestive systems
Actually, almost any of the baby’s developing systems can be affected by poorly managed diabetes during pregnancy. The diabetes pregnancy diet is developed to provide all the important nutrients to prevent developmental problems, while controlling blood sugar levels.
Though the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes on an unborn baby can be severe, the good news is that a diabetes pregnancy diet can help. Diabetes is about controlling blood sugar levels by keeping them within normal range. A pregnancy diet balances nutrition by monitoring the kinds of calories consumed. Carbohydrate control is the first step. The body converts carbohydrates to sugar so the diabetes pregnancy diet takes this into consideration during menu planning. Other diabetes pregnancy diet needs include the following.
- Increasing daily calorie intake by 300 calories due to baby’s demands on the body
- Control of food cravings through healthy snacking
- Balance of vitamins and minerals including vitamins E, C, B6, B12, iron, zinc selenium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin
- Frequent modification of diet throughout pregnancy
- Balance of diet based on the mother’s weight, general health and baby’s rate of growth
- Total daily caloric intake of approximately 2,000 per day
- Control of weight gain in proportion to baby’s development
- Three meals and three snacks a day
- No or few sweets
As with any diet, moderate amounts of exercise are important. It is crucial that a pregnant woman only undertake light exercise under the advice of a doctor. But exercise can help maintain sugar levels because the body uses carbohydrates for energy. Exercising during pregnancy, coupled with a diabetes pregnancy diet, can make the difference between a healthy baby and a baby born with birth defects. Being pregnant is the most important responsibility a woman will have in her lifetime. Take care of your baby before it is born and he or she will have a head start on a healthy childhood.