Diet for Pregnant Women with Diabetes

pregnant womanIf you are pregnant and you have diabetes, your diet has to be modified. To know the total calories you need, consider your pre-pregnancy weight, age, activity level, and whether you are carrying more than one fetus (twins or more).

  • For the first trimester (1-12 weeks), your calorie needs is the same as they were before pregnancy.
  • During the second and third trimesters (week 13-40), your calorie need is increased by 300 more than your pre-pregnancy intake.

To be on the safe side, you should aim for a total weight gain of about 25 to 35 lbs. (11.3 to 15.9 kg) or approximately 1 lb. (0.5 kg) per week during the second and third trimesters.

Weight gain of more than 6.5 lbs. (3 kg) per month can contribute to insulin resistance. This is true for overweight women and women who have normal weight at the time of conception.

On the other hand, women who gain less than 0.5 lb or 0.2 kg per week, or less than 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) per month may not be getting enough nourishment.

Keep in mind that dieting to los weight during pregnancy is not recommended because you and your baby may not receive enough nourishment. This could lead to an increased risk for premature delivery.

Carbohydrate

40% to 50% of your calories should come from carbohydrate-rich foods. Keep in mind that your carbohydrate intake should be spread throughout the day. Inadequate carbohydrate intake can result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) for women taking insulin and in ketone production for women with gestational diabetes. On the other hand, excessive carbohydrate intake can result in high blood sugar levels.

Your snacks should include less carbohydrate, since they should be part of your meals. You should eat breakfast no more than 10 hours after your bedtime snack. This helps prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in women taking insulin and ketone production in women with gestational diabetes.

Your diet should contain:

  • Complex carbohydrates, especially those high in fiber, such as oatmeal, brown rice, bran cereal, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and beans.
  • Fresh fruits.
  • Milk.
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • Limit intake of:
  • Refined sugar and foods with a high content of refined sugars (sweets)
  • Refined starches, such as highly processed breakfast cereals, instant potatoes, instant rice, or instant noodles
  • Fruit juice

Protein

About 20% to 25% of your daily calories should come from protein foods. If your kidney function is impaired, your protein allowance may be lower.

Fat

30% of your calories should come from fats. Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats should continue to be the primary source of fat in your diet. Less than 10% of your daily calories should come from and your cholesterol intake should be less than 300 mg each day.

Fiber

Get 20 g to 35 g of fiber each day. Fiber can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps relieve constipation, which is common during pregnancy.

Sodium

If you have a health problem that requires you to have lower your sodium intake, then you must watch out for salty foods. Otherwise, you need not lessen your sodium intake. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. If you have both impaired kidney function and high blood pressure, you may need to get less than 2,000 mg of sodium daily.

Vitamins and minerals

Take a prenatal vitamin with folate and iron to meet your body’s increased need for these micronutrients. Folate is needed for the production of blood cells. Folate or folic acid also reduces the risks of neural tube defects. You should get about 400 micrograms of folate per day. Iron is needed for red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

You may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement, which is important for the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can only be obtained from animal sources in the diet. For strict vegetarians or vegans, you may need a vitamin D supplement. You can get the amount of vitamin D you need each day by eating a variety of dairy products.

Other vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins and calcium, are important during pregnancy for producing energy and preserving your body’s calcium stores.

Very large doses of vitamins, especially vitamins A and D, are not recommended during pregnancy. Vitamins and minerals should only be taken under your doctor’s supervision.

Artificial sweeteners

Avoid saccarine and acesulfame-K as these can cross the placenta in your baby’s system.

You may opt to use aspartame to sweeten drinks or foods, buy limit your intake to three servings per day. Avoid using aspartame if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

You can also use sucralose safely during pregnancy, but limit your intake as well.

Caffeine

Your caffeine intake should be no more than 2 cups of coffee, tea, or soda each day.

Alcohol

Alcohol is never safe to ingest during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe to drink during pregnancy.

Herbs

Be mindful of what you eat or take in as alternative medication as they may contain herbs that may have harmful effects. Some herbs may cause premature labor and others may cause high or low blood sugar levels. Talk with your health professional if you are taking any herbs.