Getting Started with Gestational Diabetes – A One Week Plan

A kit used by a woman with gestational diabetes.

A kit used by a woman with gestational diabetes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you need a gestational diabetes meal plan for one week?  Did you just fail your 1 hour GTT or 3 hour GTT?  Let me explain to you what you can do…

What sort of meal plan do I need with gestational diabetes?

First of all, a meal plan is a great place to start.  I am glad that you are here and trying to learn more about gestational diabetes.  It’s a short term condition, and if you are like me, you will be fine with doing whatever it takes to make sure the baby is healthy!

So, to begin with, you need to plan out your day.  Start with learning what is a carbohydrate.  You can read the labels on your foods, and if you look towards the middle to bottom of a label, it tells you “Total Carbohydrate” (per serving).  This is the amount of carbohydrate – and carbohydrate is what increases your blood sugar.  You want to start out with eating only 30 – 45 grams per meal.  If you are having a hard time keeping your blood sugars under control, aim for the lower amount.  So plan out what you will eat at each meal that is carbohydrate.  Then add in the fat and proteins.  You can have extra on the protein and fat, and it won’t affect your blood sugar too much.  So, pick a slice or two of whole grain bread – then add vegetables and meat and make a big sandwich.  Eat some carrots with it, or a salad with just a light dressing.  Have a cheese stick or cottage cheese or other snack throughout the day.

What sort of options do I have with gestational diabetes meal plans?

Secondly, you can choose multiple items in each category to make a great meal.  Start your breakfast with eggs and bacon and an english muffin.  No juice or fruit for breakfast – they seem to spike gestational diabetes moms really fast especially in the morning.  For lunch, choose a tortilla to wrap some lunch meat and vegetables in – or go with rice and beans – but just a light serving and add lots of green and yellow vegetables to fill you up.  Again, you should aim for 30-45 gm of carbohydrate at a meal to begin with.  If you do ok with that, and you are checking your blood sugars regularly, you may be able to eat a bit more.  But you probably want to consider adding more protein and fat foods – like peanut butter on celery for a snack.

In the evening – you should aim for 3 meals and 3 snacks, you can eat a combo carbohydrate – some women love a small serving of peanut butter and crackers, others love 1/2 cup of regular ice cream.  The fat seems to help with their blood sugars in the morning.  All snacks should be about 15 grams of carbohydrate per session.

What will help me to succeed with a gestational diabetes pregnancy?

Finally, it’s important to manage your carbohydrate!  Most of all, you can eat a lot of things, but always combine your carbohydrate with another type of food – fat or protein – to reduce it’s immediate effect on blood sugar.  You will learn that almost all the foods you love have carbohydrate in them.  That does not mean that you can’t eat them, it just means that you need to be aware of the amount that you eat of them.

It’s a short term problem, and managing it during that time can be hard.  If you want a printed meal pattern for different calorie levels, complete with breakfast, lunch and snack ideas as well as dinner meals the whole family can enjoy, you can learn more about our plans that we offer.  We also have a great email group – sign up below to learn more about gestational diabetes today!

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Treating Gestational Diabetes – What Should I Do for a Healthy Baby? Part 2

treating Gestational Diabetes

Treating Gestational Diabetes – Learn What Works

You may recall my post about treating gestational diabetes with food and exercise.  I talked about how you can use food, such as working with a meal plan, to make your compliance better.  And with exercise you can lower your blood sugar as a way to decrease the highs that come with meals.

When you consider treating gestational diabetes, you usually ask about medications as well.

You need to keep your blood sugar under control – in the range of less than 95 mg/dl before meals, and <140 mg/dl at 1 hour after starting your meal.  That is the goal and that is what you need to understand to know what your doctor is going to do when treating gestational diabetes.

If diet and exercise are not enough, you will need to consider with your doctor what medications you should take to control your blood sugars.  Some information suggests that you should allow about 2 weeks for the diet and exercise to control your gestational diabetes prior to treating gestational diabetes with insulin or oral medication.  Depending on the amount of control that your diet and body can manage, you may be able to make it through the entire pregnancy without medication.  That is a fine goal to have.  Some women do just fine, and others find it is almost impossible to manage.

When considering treating gestational diabetes, think of it this way.  It’s only for the last 14-16 weeks of pregnancy.  You can do this and you should do what is necessary to manage your blood sugars so your baby will be healthy.  And I know that is what you are doing when you are thinking about whether or not you should take medication because it may have side effects.

Insulin for Treating Gestational Diabetes

Insulin is hands down the safest medication that you can consider.  It must be injected – usually several times per day – and a lot of women don’t like that.  It is a very fast acting medication and tends to bring the blood sugars down quickly depending on the amount you use and how much carbohydrate you have eaten.  It’s usually considered in women when their fasting blood glucose is over 95 mg/dl or their 1 hour values are over 140 mg/dl.  No magic amount of insulin has been found, every woman is individual and considered by her reaction to the medicine.

Insulin is safe because it does not cross the placenta.  In treating gestational diabetes, most women are given insulin either as a primary therapy if diet does not work, or as a secondary therapy after trying an oral medication.  Overall, insulin has been used the longest in pregnancy and is the best choice.

Oral Agents for Treating Gestational Diabetes

The main oral agent recommended by physicians is glyburide, but there is additional risk with oral agents because they cross the placenta and can affect the baby.  Glyburide has not been shown to be safe and effective, all oral agents have a pregnancy category of B at a minimum.  Other medications that may be used are metformin and glucophage.  Metformin works by decreasing your body’s production of glucose and improves your body’s ability to use insulin that it already makes.  Metformin should not be taken by women who have kidney problems or have had kidney problems in the past because it does affect the kidneys.  Glyburide works to stimulate insulin release, and increase insulin sensitivity in your body.  Allowing your body to use the insulin it has better.

Part of the issue with gestational diabetes is that your hormones that are being produced by the placenta have started to affect your body’s ability to handle insulin.  You may need more insulin than you like at meals and checking your blood sugar will continue to happen throughout the pregnancy.  You will need a gestational diabetes meal plan.

A few studies have shown that glyburide and insulin show similar outcomes while treating gestational diabetes.  You have to make the choice with your doctor about how you will treat your gestational diabetes because every woman is different.  Medication is not going to allow you to stop doing any of the other parts of this process to make it through your pregnancy and attain a healthy baby.  You will have to do all of the things (if required) to get the best outcome.

Treating gestational diabetes is not easy and involves a mutli-level approach, starting with food and exercise and adding medication as needed.

 

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Gestational Diabetes Meal: Shape Up Your Plate

When you are planning out your gestational diabetes meal, creating a healthy yet well balanced meal is one of the most important parts of your process.

I am blogging about a gestational diabetes meal as part of National Nutrition Month, you can learn more at the Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics website – http://www.eatright.org/nnm/ 

Gestational diabetes is a short term issue but can lead to long term problems because many women who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.  Keeping your meals in check throughout your pregnancy will lower your stress as well as improve your long term health if you keep eating the healthy way you learn during pregnancy.

One of the priorities for you, your unborn child and your doctor is to manage your blood sugars through what you eat at a gestational diabetes meal, medication and exercise.  Many women find that part of that management means some foods are limited based on their bodies and hormones.  Every woman’s body is unique and may react differently to the same foods.  But the foods that we are talking about when it comes to controlling your blood sugars are mainly carbohydrates.

What are carbohydrates and how do they affect your gestational diabetes meal?

Carbohydrates are the component of food that breaks down into glucose in your digestive system (stomach) and is absorbed into your blood stream as glucose.  They are part of a lot of foods, and can be composed of simple to complex molecules.  It is not that you should avoid carbohydrate – you need some of it!  But certain types of carbohydrate are going to cause your blood sugar to increase quickly while some are absorbed more slowly and lead to a lower peak in your glucose level.

Take for example, simple sugar.  The white stuff.  Or honey, which is concentrated sugar.  This will be absorbed quickly by your body and cause a spike in your blood sugar.  Because your body, as a gestational diabetic, does not handle the increase as well as someone who does not have diabetes, you will find that your sugar may stay high.  I know that many women avoid sweeteners during pregnancy, and that is your choice.  But consider that you really should avoid simple sugar unless it is part of a combined gestational diabetes meal that has protein and fat.

Better carbohydrate choices are going to be multi-grain foods and items that have a lot of fiber and are less processed.  Fruits instead of fruit juice.  The fiber slows the absorption of the food and allows your body to respond a little slower, which is good.  Eating whole grain pasta or wild rice instead of plain white rice is a good choice.  Whole grain wheat breads (make sure it has 2-3 gm of fiber per slice) make a much better choice than a slice of white bread.  Your body can usually break down white bread almost as quickly as simple sugar, and should be exchanged for whole grains in a gestational diabetes meal.

Portion sizes of the carbohydrate foods are very important, and most of us can underestimate our portion sizes when creating a gestational diabetes meal plate.  I recommend that you use a scale and weigh your food until you have a better awareness of how much is supposed to be a portion.  Usually – it’s about 1/3 cup on rice, and that is cooked rice – but it’s not very much!  Weigh out your cereal – a whole grain or bran type cereal – and see how big the bowl looks compared to the serving!  Add milk to it and you are adding more carbohydrate so watch the portion on that as well.

Shaping Up Your Gestational Diabetes Meal As a Complete Plan

So, controlling the amount of carbohydrate is tantamount to good blood sugar control for all of the gestational diabetes meal plans that you use.  I want to state again that complete avoidance of carbohydrate is not the answer.  You can eat a low carbohydrate diet, and by that I mean even as low as 30 gm of carbohydrate at meals, but you still have to eat some.  You and your baby need it, and not eating it at a gestational diabetes meal would be detrimental.

But you can help your body to process that carbohydrate more slowly by eating combined meals.  A “shaped up plate” would be one that has protein and fat foods on it as well.  So, you may find that you can eat 1/2 a sandwich with a good helping of meat and some mayonnaise for lunch and your blood sugar is under 130 at your 1 hour check.  Add some vegetables to that meal, maybe raw vegetables with a light ranch dip, and you have a good meal to start with.  You would probably not want to add chips to the gestational diabetes meal, but you could add another ounce of meat to your sandwich or create a nice side salad and have a full meal.  Some women even find that they can tolerate peanut butter and crackers for their evening snack and have a good blood sugar in the morning.

I think it’s important to realize that there are foods that will raise your blood sugars, and you need to eat some amounts of them at most of your gestational diabetes meal.  But combining them with protein and fat foods make them absorb slower and allow your body the chance to respond at it’s adjusted pace of insulin production.  For a gestational diabetic meal, you can have a healthy plate with a good portion of vegetables (green, orange or yellow) and some protein that will make a well rounded meal and keep you under control.

Other things affect your blood sugars, and you should be aware of them so you can note them in your blood sugar logs.  If you have a lot of stress, hormones that are released in your body can increase your blood sugar levels.  While you will never get your stress to zero, finding a way to reduce the amount of stress that you have is a priority.  The time of day can also play a big part in your blood sugars, as fasting blood sugars can be hard to control (but manageable with the adjustments of night time snacks) and hormones from your placenta may be released and cause an increase as well.  This is a big part of why every woman is going to be a little different when it comes to controlling your blood sugars.

Finally, exercise will help you keep your blood sugars down!  Something as simple as a walk right after you eat for 20 minutes will bring down your blood sugar levels because your body uses the sugar for energy.  It’s like a shot of insulin without the shot!

Consider your weight gain and the baby’s growth as two other important factors to determine if you are meeting your needs with what you eat at a gestational diabetes meal.  If you are in need of more information about how to follow a gestational diabetes diet meal plan, you can check out our meal plans – go there now.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment: What Are The Guidelines? Part 1

Now that you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes based on the glucose tolerance test, what should you do?

Your gestational diabetes treatment is based on clinical guidelines that tell your obstetrician how to manage your blood sugars and keep you as healthy as possible!

The treatment uses 3 different types of controls to get your blood sugars where they need to be for your health and the safety of your baby.

When managing your treatment of gestational diabetes, some interventions are more complicated than others.  Most doctors typically start with trying to control your blood sugars using a diet and exercise plan that can keep your blood sugars under control most of the time.  Never forget, your pregnant body is full of hormones, and sometimes it does not react the way that would be expected.  During the management of gestational diabetes, what is of the utmost importance is the health of the baby and mom, not necessarily if you have to take medication or not.  It’s a short time that you will need to tightly manage your eating and blood sugars, so grin and bear it!

Most gestational diabetes treatment starts with dietary control.  It’s important that a mom be provided with some nutritional guidelines that are individualized based on what she needs.  If she is a vegetarian, the meal plan that is provided by the professional should reflect ways to get the needed protein, carbohydrate and fat without the animal proteins that mom has chosen to avoid.  Most moms see either a certified diabetes educator (nurse or dietitian) or a registered dietitian who can provide them with calorie levels and guidance about what foods to eat and how much.  Many women may find this to be enough information and be able to successfully navigate the foods that they need to eat and grow a healthy baby.  Sometimes, more information is needed, and some women may choose to purchase a gestational diabetes meal plan that can help them understand all of their options.  Either way, mom will start with eating the right amounts of carbohydrate at meals.

Often, pregnant women with diabetes find that their blood sugar is affected by foods in different ways.  Sometimes, a fruit can cause a spike in blood sugars, while other foods such as ice cream seem to allow for a smooth transition without a blood sugar spike.  It is important to track what you eat, how much and when as well as you check your blood sugars.  This will help you and your doctor understand what parts of the day and what foods are most affecting you.  It’s going to be different for every woman, as our bodies have different responses to hormones that are peaking during pregnancy.

How many calories should you eat for your gestational diabetes treatment plan?

For women who are not over weight before pregnancy, it is recommended to eat 30 calories/kg/day.  1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds, so divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, then take that number and multiply by 30.  For example, if you weighed 150 pounds that is 68.18 kilograms.  So you would estimate your calorie needs at about 2045 per day.  Women who are over weight should multiply by 25 calories/kg/day.  As long as your baby is growing and your blood sugars are under control, you should be okay with the amount of food you are eating during your gestational diabetes treatment.

The next step that many doctors also recommend in combination with diet control is exercise.  While you probably were exercising during your pregnancy, exercise in small bursts throughout the day can help a mom control her blood sugars well.  After every meal, it will be important to take a 15 minute walk at a quick pace to lower your blood sugar. Exercise causes your body to use the sugar in your blood more effectively, and you can decrease your spike by adding in a burst of exercise a few times a day.  This also gives you health benefits by controlling the weight gain and improving your aerobic capacity.  That will come in handy during labor.  Check with your doctor if you are concerned about exercise, but it’s one of the best ways to lower blood sugar without using insulin.

In our next post we will talk about the medications that are used to manage gestational diabetes treatment and how they work.

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Pregnancy Induced Diabetes: Your Questions Answered

We’ve gathered some of the most common questions asked about pregnancy induced diabetes, and brought them together to provide you with some answers.

Gestational diabetes is defined as diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy and was not present prior to pregnancy.  Sometimes people call it pregnancy induced diabetes.  Because you have the condition only while you’re pregnant.  And once you deliver the baby and the placenta, typically you can return to normal eating pattern.  Today I’m going to review some questions and provide answers for the most commonly asked items related to pregnancy induced diabetes.

How Common Is Pregnancy Induced Diabetes?

Nationally, between 1 to 2 women in 10, develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  The guidelines are somewhat stricter for the development of the disease because of the fact that you’re pregnant and they want to take extra caution caring for your baby.  Even though it is fairly common, it’s not clear what women can do to prevent developing pregnancy induced diabetes.

What Are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes?

As you may be aware of, when you’re pregnant your hormones in your body do all kinds of things to your emotions, physical body amongst other things.  Hormones are the root cause of development of pregnancy induced diabetes as well.  As your pregnancy progresses, insulin sensitivity decreases.  Women who are overweight when they get pregnant may already have pre-diabetes and their body can’t manage the changes in insulin sensitivity.  Insulin resistance is also increased because of placental hormones.  Some of these hormones are cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone.  As the baby develops your placenta gets larger and also secretes more hormones.  This further causes insulin sensitivity to decrease.  So as your pregnancy progresses, if your body can’t make enough insulin to adjust to the amount that your body needs, you develop gestational diabetes.  This is also why they tend to test for gestational diabetes during the 24th through 28th week, because by that point it will have developed enough to show in a blood test.

How Does My Doctor Screen and Diagnose Pregnancy Induced Diabetes?

Your obstetrician initially determines your risk level for developing pregnancy induced diabetes and that helps them to determine when to test you.  If the determination is made to give you the initial test, for screening women are typically given 50 g of sugar.  This is called an oral glucose challenge because you drink a sugary sweet liquid.  Blood is drawn at 1 hour, and tested.  Typically, your physician will consider you for further testing if your 1 hour glucose challenge lab result is over 130 mg/dL.  If you fail the one hour glucose challenge test, your doctor will require you to do a 3 hour oral glucose tolerance test [OGTT].  In this testing, women are given 100 g of glucose and their blood is taken every hour for 3 hours.  Your doctor will determine the thresholds and how to diagnose.  Even if your blood sugar seems just a little bit elevated you should consider following a gestational diabetes diet plan to keep from having a larger baby or gaining too much weight.

Even if you have pregnancy induced diabetes, it’s important to realize that it’s easily managed using a meal pattern, exercise, and sometimes medication.  Most women view it as something that they have to tolerate for the duration of the pregnancy knowing that after the placenta is delivered, the condition typically goes away.  Click here now to learn more about our gestational diabetes meal plan and get an e-book that tells you even more about diabetes during pregnancy and how you can manage it.

I Have Gestational Diabetes – Where Do I Start?

“I have gestational diabetes” can be a tremendously terrifying thought.  You want to cry, scream, yell and yet you don’t know what else to do.

Some common things you can do to help you get started on the right track with managing your gestational diabetes are great to start with, especially when you don’t know much to say past the initial “I have gestational diabetes“.

When you first learn that you have gestational diabetes, it’s very important to understand that it can be controlled well and you can deliver a healthy baby.  I have gestational diabetes does not have to be something said with trembling in your voice.  Let’s talk about the steps involved in managing and controlling gestational diabetes.

I have gestational diabetes” step one for control is to look at the types of sugar that you are eating.  You may drink a glass of juice or drink regular soda or even have a candy bar sometimes because of cravings.  Now that you have gestational diabetes that has to stop being a random thing, and it needs to be part of the total calories that you’re allowed to eat for the day as well as the amount of carbohydrate that you’re allowed to eat for the day.  Simple sugars easily go into your bloodstream and increase your blood sugar, and depending on how high the blood sugar goes it can transfer extra sugar to your baby through your placenta.  The amount of simple sugar in a food can be found by reading the label, under the area labeled carbohydrate.  There is a section called sugars that indicates the grams of simple sugars that are in the food.  Until you have the control of your gestational diabetes, you want to eat a minimal amount of simple sugars.

“I have gestational diabetes” step 2 for control is that you can make your diet better in many ways.  You should replace the sugary foods with healthier foods that are whole grain instead – higher fiber helps you feel full longer without increasing your blood sugars.  Whole-grain foods provide the amount of carbohydrate that you need without giving you extra simple sugars.  High-fiber foods break down more slowly in your digestive system, allowing your body to absorb the carbohydrate in them at a slower pace and therefore deal with the increase in blood sugar over time.  Initially, you want to avoid more of the white foods that, although they are complex carbohydrates, tend to break down quickly and increase your blood sugar as much as a candy bar.  Start eating whole fruits and vegetables as well as whole-wheat bread instead of juices and plain white bread.

“I have gestational diabetes” step 3 for control starts with distributing your calories throughout the day by eating 3 small meals and 3 snacks if you can.  This helps your body to use insulin properly and manage your hunger and your blood sugar.  Most women need to balance their calories out to a 40-50% carbohydrate diet, 30% fat and the rest as protein.  At breakfast, you may want to eat a protein and a complex carbohydrate.  This might be something like a piece of ham and whole-wheat toast.  For snacks, you should try to combine a carbohydrate and protein food as well. Lunch and dinner meals may be a little larger and need to have a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrate to make you feel full and get your needed calories.

You may not realize it, but while you’re pregnant, you probably need to consume around 2000 calories a day.  Using these steps to control your gestational diabetes will help you start off in the right direction to controlling your blood sugars and having a healthy pregnancy.

“I have gestational diabetes” may be the first thought you have, but you can get more help with a gestational diabetes meal plan that includes all the needed steps and ways to manage your diet to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.  Click here to find out more about our gestational diabetes meal plans.

Gestational Diabetes Recipes – 4 Secrets for Delicious Results Every Time at Dinner

Gestational Diabetes Recipes Are An Important Part Of Your Treatment Plan

It does not have to be hard to find good gestational diabetes recipes that are appropriate and yummy for your family. With just a few changes to your recipes that you find online, you can make them more healthy and nutritious so that they fit in your gestational diabetes meal plan.

Gestational Diabetes Recipes Secret # 1:

Make a meal with the family favorite item, but add green or yellow vegetables as a side and decrease the main dish portion size. Adding the colorful vegetables improves the nutritional value of the meal by adding vitamins and minerals. And decreasing the portion size of the main dish, allows you to eat a lower carbohydrate meal yet still feel like you are full. For example, in our meal plans we balance out an entrée with several healthy dishes to make a full meal.

Gestational Diabetes Recipes Secret # 2:

Try to avoid making new recipes when you’re pressed for time. Using recipes that are familiar to you allow you to make simple changes without worry. Save the brand-new recipes for a day when you may have more time or can make multiple meals at once to freeze.

Gestational Diabetes Recipes Secret #3:

Flavor your meals with spices instead of salt. Pregnancy tends to cause swelling anyway, and salt can contribute to water retention. Try some of the seasoning blends made for the ethnic type of food that you are eating. For example, add a little more Italian seasoning to your lasagna or spaghetti to give it more flavors without the extra salt.

Gestational Diabetes Recipes Secret #4:

For a really great way to add fiber and lower the fat in your meal, take a favorite casserole recipe and change a few things. Start with replacing some of the meat with a bean. You can use either black beans for beef or pork or white kidney beans for chicken. You can also trade out the regular pasta or rice for a whole grain product. You will not see much change in the flavor, but the end result is a meal that is healthier overall for your whole family.

Learning a few tricks about how to change your recipes can be extremely helpful to a woman trying to manage her gestational diabetes. Adding variety during the time that you need to control your eating can help you stick to your diet plan. Even though you know the best ways to eat to control your blood sugars, you will appreciate the variety that can be found by using different gestational diabetes recipes.

Read our free e-book about gestational diabetes, and get a 3 day meal plan to sample how to eat a gestational diabetes meal plan using gestational diabetes recipes.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu – The 3 Most Common Mistakes Women Make [Is This You?]

What Kind Of Mistakes Do We Make On A Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu?

A gestational diabetes diet menu helps you to plan what you need eat throughout the day to meet your calorie and protein needs.  By using a diet menu, you can rest assured that you have eaten the right amount of food to have a healthy baby yet, keep your diabetes under control.  This is a guide to some of the most common mistakes that women make when on a gestational diabetes diet.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu Mistake Number 1 – Not measuring your food and knowing the serving sizes for the food you eat.  Portion sizes can be confusing for you and packaging may contain several servings.  A good example of this the fact that 1 pint of ice cream usually equals 4 servings.

What to do instead: plan out what you want to eat throughout the day, and portion it out.  While this might take a little time at the beginning of the week, it is an excellent way to make sure you’re eating just what you need.  For example, my gestational diabetes meal plan contains patterns and meal listings for an entire day so you don’t have to spend so much time figuring out what to eat.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu Mistake # 2 – Not eating throughout the day and skipping meals.  Most women think that they need to limit their intake to make sure that their blood sugars don’t get too high.  Often they avoid foods that are really okay to eat if they knew the correct amount.

What to do instead: get a meal pattern for an entire day that shows the amount of calories and carbohydrates that you need.  This will allow you to plan your day and eat snacks and smaller meals.  It’s important that you eat enough calories to make sure your baby grows properly.  You also need to eat the right kinds of calories to control your blood sugar.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu Mistake # 3 – Not having a plan for the day.  You can end up eating too much carbohydrates or too little calories which affects your blood sugar and your baby.  If you take medication to control your diabetes, you need to be able to plan out your day to avoid high and low blood sugars.

What to do instead: use a meal pattern and planner for the day, like the kind that we provide as part of our gestational diabetes meal plan.  You should get something with a breakfast, lunch, snacks, and daily planner that is based on the number of calories that you need for the day during your pregnancy.

Fixing these 3 mistakes can be an important part of controlling your gestational diabetes.  As you work with your doctor or diabetes educator, be sure to understand how you should eat throughout the day to make the most of your pregnancy.

Sign up for our free email list to learn more about what gestational diabetes is and how to manage it with a free e-book and meal plan.

I Had Gestational Diabetes, Just Like You

I had gestational diabetes with each of my two pregnancies.  I was older when I became pregnant, my first child at the age of 32.  Fairly well established at my job, and not necessarily sure when I wanted to have a child.  Therefore, my husband and I were somewhat surprised to have a baby coming, but very happy about it.

I have a family history of diabetes, with my mother and grandmothers having Type 2 diabetes.  So, when I got tested at 24 weeks for gestational diabetes in my first pregnancy, I was aware that there was a strong chance I would have gestational diabetes.

Even though I knew it, at first I was kind of mad that I had gestational diabetes, because I felt that I was working so hard to manage my eating and weight gain because I was already a little overweight.  I even thought to myself that I was somewhat mad at my genes that made it more likely.  I was sure that if I just ate right, gestational diabetes would not happen to me, that I could somehow prevent it.

Gestational Diabetes Made Me Feel Like I Had No Control Sometimes

Then I felt guilty for being mad, and for maybe not ALWAYS eating perfectly.  This is something that I think a lot of us feel about everything we do during pregnancy that could affect the baby – as if I should always be perfect and somehow “one” incident of bad behavior is going to be punished.  After all, I have a huge responsibility to take care of the life inside me, and I am somehow failing miserably by having gestational diabetes.  It doesn’t matter that I knew better than to think it was punishment or something I could change.

I was hungry all the time with my first child, and although I was fortunate to not have morning sickness, I did get a stomach ache if I didn’t eat every 3 hours.  I felt like I would throw up, and all I had to do was have a small snack and it would go away.  So, I never skipped meals or snacks!  I sometimes felt like I was in denial because I just didn’t feel like anything changed.  I had to test my blood sugar 4 or 5 times a day and write it down to track, and I was doing really well with my numbers so I usually felt ok even though I had gestational diabetes.  I was scared for a while that I might do something that would harm the baby or cause him to have a problem.  I thought about everything I had done since the pregnancy started, and tried to figure out what I could have done differently.

But I finally accepted it, and moved on to management.  I was lucky enough to take medication and not have to do insulin shots, although sometimes I wish I had because the medication caused me to have kidney problems.  I did walk more and thought about how much I was eating all the time.  My husband was as worried as I was about the control of my gestational diabetes and how it would affect the baby.  Sometimes we forget that we are not the only ones with concerns about our health and the health of our baby.

I managed to gain only a little weight and did deliver a little early due to the kidney problems, but the baby was fine.  He had jaundice and had to stay in the NICU for a couple of weeks but left with no complications from the gestational diabetes.

My 2nd pregnancy was more complicated and the symptoms came on much sooner.  I got tested a lot earlier and started on the gestational diabetes management process much earlier in the pregnancy.  I did feel a lot of guilt about having gestational diabetes again with this child, but I think I accepted it much more quickly than before.  I did not have the hunger that I did with the first child, and actually lost weight but the baby continued to grow at a healthy rate and develop normally.  I managed my blood sugars more carefully, but did end up delivering much earlier and my premature baby was hospitalized for 9 ½ weeks in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).  My problems that I had with the first pregnancy came back in a fierce way with the 2nd pregnancy from the gestational diabetes.

Learning More About How To Manage Gestational Diabetes

Even though I am a dietitian, I had never actually been through the process of taking a blood sugar.  I had no idea where to start.  I had to go and see a diabetes nurse just to learn the process of checking my blood sugar and what to do.  My fingers were poked so much that they hurt, and sometimes it was hard to get blood from my fingers at the end of the pregnancy because I had a lot of swelling.

The thing I did have control over was the food, and how much I ate, and how it affected my blood sugar level which in turn affected the baby.  That is what I always remembered when I would be having a hard time, and trying to figure out what to eat and what to buy at the grocery store to meet my gestational diabetes diet.  The mom or wife or other jobs that I had never stopped, they continued to have the same expectations of me.  I still was the one to go to the grocery store, I still had a job, I still had to manage multiple things (including going to get my MBA at night) to fulfill my obligations.  So planning ahead became a huge part of every week so I would not have to run to the grocery store in the middle of the week or eat what I should not eat at work for my gestational diabetes!

And now, I have young children who are healthy and well despite being born a little (or a lot) early.  While the complications can still happen regardless of the care you take, I know it’s important to manage the eating and blood sugars to have the best possible outcomes.  We can’t control everything, but we can manage things better in a pregnancy complicated with gestational diabetes.

I developed a program for moms in a situation like myself, who need guidance and help getting control of our gestational diabetes.  Understanding that not all of the things that I knew as a dietitian will be something that other women know.  I made a daily pattern, daily options for breakfast and lunch (because we usually eat very similar things for breakfast and lunch so you don’t need a complicated schedule or recipes for that).  And it has recipes for dinner meals that you can feed to the entire family without a problem – no one has to know they are managed for your gestational diabetes.  Click and go to our information page to learn more about our gestational diabetes meal plans and patterns.