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Gestational Diabetes

Nov 1, 2022

There is a possibility to reduce the risk of this type of diabetes when you follow a properly balanced diet and maintain an average weight.


The hormone that helps to control the level of your blood sugar is known as Insulin. Pregnancy hormonal changes may cause your body to counteract insulin which leads to a rise in blood sugar levels. However, a pregnant woman may produce more insulin naturally to compensate, but still, some women cannot, which brings up gestational diabetes.

What is Gestational diabetes?

Generally, gestational diabetes affects approximately 2-10% of pregnant women. When the body is unable to secrete the required insulin hormone during pregnancy, gestational diabetes may occur. The pancreas produces insulin that supports cells of the body to build energy from the blood sugar and this may be the reason for gaining more weight as your body produces more hormones when you are pregnant.

These changes may make the cells work insulin less efficiently than normal, which we call insulin resistance. 

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance means your body may require more insulin to use sugar, or glucose, in the blood. In case, the pancreas is not producing sufficient insulin to manage, these changes result in high blood sugar levels which causes harm to your health and your baby as well.

Sometimes, insulin resistance may be due to body weight obesity before pregnancy, and physical inactivity.

Some of the symptoms of gestational diabetes may include:

  • fatigue
  • vomit sensation
  • unusual thirstiness
  • frequent urination
  • bladder infections
  • vision blurriness
  • urine test detection

Foods to Eat

If you are a pregnant woman who has gestational diabetes, it is essential to have a healthy diet regularly. Eating balanced high-nutrition food helps to control your blood sugar level during pregnancy. 

Your balanced diet includes non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, and carbohydrates.

Half a plate of Non-starchy vegetables

  • Bell peppers
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Mushroom
  • Zucchini
  • Tomato
  • Green vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Eggplant

Quarter plate of Lean Protein

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Red meat
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu

Quarter plate of Carbohydrate

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Chickpeas
  • Fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

Always ensure to consult your doctor or prescribed dietician for a healthy diet plan when you are pregnant.

Foods to avoid

Avoid eating foods that may rise your blood sugar level. Some of the foods to limit when you are pregnant are listed below-

Sugary Foods

When a pregnant woman who has diabetic complaints eats refined or processed food, her blood sugar level may get shot up which is not recommended during pregnancy. Hence experts suggest avoiding or limiting sugar-added foods as much as possible.

Sugary foods to avoid include:

  • Cakes
  • Candies
  • Desserts
  • Cookies
  • Soda
  • Sweet pastries
  • Fruit juices
  • Cool drinks
  • Ice cream

Even though milk and whole fruits contain natural sugars, those may include as a part of a balanced diet without adding excess sugar into them.

High-starch Foods

Generally, starchy foods are high in carbohydrates that may rise your blood sugar. Hence you should limit the starchy foods that have a high glycemic index (GI), such as-

  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • White potatoes
  • White bread

Processed Foods

There are some foods and drinks that may also increase the sugar level in your body while consuming them. Here is the list of foods that have sugars hidden.

  • Frozen foods
  • Ketchup and Sauce
  • Fast foods
  • Soda
  • Drinking alcohol


During pregnancy, gestational diabetes may increase the risk of complications for you and your baby. These may include-

  • Labor Complications
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Bleeding heavily after delivery
  • High blood pressure
  • Premature birth
  • Obese baby
  • If going for a vaginal delivery, a vaginal tear may lengthen

Gestational diabetes may develop when you are around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But your doctor may refer you to a test for a sugar level at around 15 weeks to know the condition better. Once your doctor diagnoses you as having diabetes, they may refer you to a dietitian. 

A dietitian may help you to make a balanced right nutritious diet plan to control your blood sugar levels and maintain good health. 

Staying healthy during pregnancy

Follow these tips to stay healthy during pregnancy:

  • Consume iron, folate, calcium, and protein-rich foods.
  • Take prenatal vitamin supplements.
  • Do not skip breakfast and meals.
  • Have healthy snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat high-fiber foods to prevent constipation.
  • Add steamed vegetables, a cup of beans, or peas to a salad.
  • Avoid fish containing high levels of mercury.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods.
  • Go for foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, salt, and calories.
  • Choose colorful vegetables, fruits, and dark greens that are rich in anti-oxidants.
  • Maintain healthy weight gain
  • Exercise regularly with moderate levels.

Experts recommend, even after giving birth, cultivate the practice to have a healthy body weight and the blood sugar levels under control that may reduce further risk in future.


Related: Stay Healthy in the Second Trimester


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