Pregnancy itself is very challenging, irrespective of the long-term joy it gives. It is even more perplexing if you have diabetes.
If you are worrying about your pregnancy because you are a Type 2 Diabetic, rest assured because a healthy and balanced diet with moderate exercises will help you get through your gestation smoothly and without any complications.
Balanced diet and proportionate meals
A well planned and nutritional meal plan is must for pregnant women with diabetes. It is very important for women with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) to have well-balanced and proportional meals, not only during those 9 months but also when you are planning to conceive. Diet plays an important role in blood sugar control. Nowadays gestational diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in the second trimester, has become quite common in pregnant women; however, those with pre-existing diabetes should be extra cautious with their blood sugar management to reduce risks of birth defects and miscarriages.
“Gestational diabetes and pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women are two different phenomenon. Treatment for both varies significantly, although meal plan for both remains the same.
Nutrition Plays a Vital Role in Pregnancy
Prior to conception, meal plan for pregnant women with diabetes should be charted and followed accurately. Three things that you need to consider everyday are:
- Nutritious Food
- Meal Proportion Management and
- Regular Eating
Meal skipping and losing weight during pregnancy to control blood sugar is totally not advised as it may hinder proper development of the baby.
- The best time to start making changes in your dietary plan is before you get pregnant.
- It is researched and studied that vegetarian diet is appropriate for pregnant women with diabetes as it is comprehensive of all necessary nutrition. (Courtesy: Academic of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2009).
- A healthy pregnancy diet will include variety of foods in moderate proportions, including fruits; vegetables; greens; whole grains such as wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta; high protein foods such as fish, lean meat, beans and nuts; and of course foods that are rich in calcium content such like milk, yogurt, soy milk and other dairy products.
- Pregnant women are also recommended to regularly take folic acid as auseful supplement to prevent any foetus development defects.
Carbohydrate in pregnancy with diabetes
Carbohydrate in minimal proportions is advised for diabetic pregnant women. You should not completely stop having them because inadequate carbohydrate can result in low blood sugar in women who take insulin and who have gestational diabetes.
Healthy carbs that you should include;
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Foods with high fiber content such as oatmeal, beans, whole wheat pasta and bread, bran cereal and brown rice
The following carbs should be limited in your diet
- Sugar and desserts
- Refined starches such as white rice, instant foods, breakfast cereals, processed foods, potatoes and instant noodles
- Fruit juice
Protein, fats and fiberin pregnancy
Your primary source of fat in your diet should be monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Avoid foods that contain saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in processed foods, fried items, junk foods and greased foods.
Balanced amount of protein is advised but if you have kidney problems, you should avoid having it.
Fibre is must during pregnancy. It regulates your blood sugar level effectively and also relieves your from constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
Vitamins and Minerals during pregnancy
Folic Acids and Iron supplements should be taken before conception. Folic acid is needed for the production of blood cells. And iron produces red blood cells that deliver oxygen in the body. Folic acid also lowers the risk of foetal neural tube defects.
Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplements are also required if you are a vegetarian. Both are available aplenty in animal sources however.
Vitamin A as well as Calcium during pregnancy are needed for preserving energy and strengthening your bones and muscles. But excessive quantity of Vitamin D and A should not be taken. Therefore any supplement that you take should be prescribed only by your doctor.
Although some herbs are extremely beneficial for your health, certain herbs cause premature labour and fluctuations in blood sugar level. If you consume herbs before pregnancy, make sure your doctor is aware of it.
There are several types of artificial sweeteners that you can take during pregnancy. The safest ones are Stevia leaves, Saccharin and Sucralose.
Alcohol and caffeine
Diabetic or not, alcohol of any kind is extremely harmful for the foetal growth. Limit your caffeine consumption to one cup a day during pregnancy.