Gestational diabetes is one of the most common complications in pregnancy. A balanced diet can be key to prevent its development. The adoption of a balanced diet is one of the essential habits to prevent gestational diabetes. This disease is characterized by an increase in blood glucose levels during the period of pregnancy. As with other types of diabetes, in gestational diabetes the cells cannot properly capture glucose. Because of this, the mother and the fetus are exposed to a series of risks that must be monitored by the doctor. For this reason, in the next space we want to share a series of Eating tips that, even before pregnancy, reduce the risk of developing this condition. Discover them!
Gestational Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications. It happens because the hormones that are secreted in this period inhibit the action of insulin in the cells, causing high spikes of sugar in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to convert glucose from food into fuel. When something affects their production or the body fails to use it properly, blood sugar increases and diabetes develops.
“Any woman in gestation period can have this disease”.
However, the risk increases in those with a family history or problems such as overweight or high blood pressure. So far, the exact cause of why many women develop gestational diabetes and others do not is unknown. However, all expectant mothers must have an oral glucose tolerancetest between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
What are the Complications of Gestational Diabetes?
Almost always, women with gestational diabetes manage to control the disease and give birth to healthy babies. However, when there is not adequate control, a high blood sugar level can cause problems in both the mother and the baby. These are some of the risks:
- It increases the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, a serious complication that puts the life of the mother and her child at risk.
- Raises the odds of type 2 diabetes in the future.
- The baby may be overweight at birth, causing more difficulties at the time of delivery.
- Labor can be advanced (premature birth).
- Increases the risk of respiratory distress syndrome in the baby.
Diet to Prevent Gestational Diabetes
One of the most important pillars to prevent gestational diabetes is diet. Often, the doctor studies in detail the case of each future mother, since factors such as age, body weight and possible health problems must be taken into account. Despite this, all can take into account some generalities of diet that are crucial to prevent the development of the disease. Let’s know the most important ones.
Carry a Varied Diet
Adopting a varied meal plan is one of the most effective ways to prevent gestational diabetes. Including all nutrient groups through different foods helps maintain stable glucose levels. A varied and balanced diet should contain:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains and legumes.
- Lean meats
- Nuts and seeds.
- Fatty fish
- Healthy oils (olive, sunflower, etc.).
Make Five Meals a Day
During pregnancy it is important to eat well, in a balanced way, in its proper measure. That “eat for two” is just a myth and can be counterproductive.
Eat a Full Breakfast
The uncontrolled blood sugar increases in the morning hours. For this reason, to avoid decompensation, it is essential that mothers consume a healthy breakfast that corresponds to 25% of the total daily calories.
Increase Fiber Consumption
Foods that contain high doses of fiber are essential when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes. A correct assimilation of this nutrient prevents sugar levels from reaching high peaks after meals.
Avoid Simple Sugars
Excessive consumption of simple sugars is one of the main causes of diabetes. Therefore, to take care of pregnancy it is essential to avoid all foods that contain it. The most common are:
- Breads and industrial pastries.
- Sweets and sugary sodas.
- Soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Desserts or recipes with added sugar.
Moderate Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates
Overweight in pregnancy is one of the causes related to gestational diabetes. Because of this, it is convenient to monitor the portions of fats and proteins. Many of the foods that provide these nutrients can get fat because they contain many calories. As for the consumption of carbohydrates, it is recommended to control them through fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These sources are low in calories and their carbohydrates are better assimilated in the body.
Dietary Model to Prevent Gestational Diabetes
All the menus of the pregnant woman may vary according to the doctor’s recommendations. However, considering the advice above, we propose a simple diet model that can be taken as an example.
- Glass of semi-skimmed milk with decaffeinated coffee and two handfuls of whole grains.
- Natural yogurt with wholemeal bread and slice of turkey.
- Glass of light cocoa drink with wholemeal bread, tomato and olive oil.
- Whole wheat bread with cooked ham and portion of fruit.
- Natural yogurt with chia seeds.
- Integral bread with tuna and fruit salad.
- Potato salad, chicken roasted with lemon and a pear.
- Cream of mushrooms, trout baked with cherry tomatoes and fruit salad.
- Tagliatelle with wild asparagus sauteed, turkey with plums and a peach.
- Natural yogurt without sugar and two integral crackers.
- Fruit jelly and a handful of nuts.
- Fruit and vegetable smoothie
- Green salad and sardines with tomato.
- Squeezed tomato and meatballs with stir-fried onion.
- Hake medallions with shrimp and peas sauce.
Do you want to prevent gestational diabetes? If you are pregnant or plan to be pregnant, keep in mind all these diet tips to reduce the risks. Do not forget that, as a complement, you should do regular physical exercise.
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