Gestational diabetes diet
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (glucose) that starts during pregnancy. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can help you manage gestational diabetes. The diet recommendations that follow are for women with gestational diabetes who do NOT take insulin.
For a balanced diet, you need to eat a variety of healthy foods. Reading food labels can help you make healthy choices when you shop.
If you are a vegetarian or on a special diet, talk with your health care provider to make sure you're getting a balanced diet.
In general, you should eat:
You should eat three small- to moderate-sized meals and one or more snacks each day. Do not skip meals and snacks. Keep the amount and types of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) about the same from day to day. This can help you keep your blood sugar stable.
GRAINS, BEANS, AND STARCHY VEGETABLES
Eat 6 or more servings a day. One serving equals:
Choose foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates. They include:
Use whole-wheat or other whole-grain flours in cooking and baking. Eat more low-fat breads, such as tortillas, English muffins, and pita bread.
Eat 3 to 5 servings a day. One serving equals:
Healthy vegetable choices include:
Eat 2 to 4 servings a day. One serving equals:
Healthy fruit choices include:
MILK AND DAIRY
Eat 4 servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products a day. One serving equals:
Healthy dairy choices include:
PROTEIN (MEAT, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS, AND NUTS)
Eat 2 to 3 servings a day. One serving equals:
Healthy protein choices include:
In general, you should limit your intake of fatty foods.
OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Your provider may also suggest a safe exercise plan. Walking is usually the easiest type of exercise, but swimming or other low-impact exercises can work just as well. Exercise can help you keep your blood sugar in control.
YOUR HEALTH CARE TEAM IS THERE TO HELP YOU
In the beginning, meal planning may be overwhelming. But it will get easier as you gain more knowledge about foods and their effects on your blood sugar. If you're having problems with meal planning, talk with your health care team. They are there to help you.
ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 190: Gestational diabetes mellitus. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;131(2):e49-e64. PMID: 29370047 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29370047/.
American Diabetes Association. 14. Management of diabetes in pregnancy: standards of medical care in diabetes - 2021. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(Suppl1):S200-S210. PMID: 33298425 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33298425/.
Blickstein I, Perlman S, Hazan Y, Shinwell ES. Pregnancy complicated by diabetes mellitus. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 18.
Landon MB, Catalano PM, Gabbe SG. Diabetes mellitus complicating pregnancy. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 45.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/14/2021
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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