Hey There! Today we want to talk about Reducing Risk of Gestational Diabetes, which can certainly be multifactorial; however, our focus will be on nutrition and consuming the most appropriate eating pattern. And in case you haven’t seen us use the term “eating pattern” before, it essentially means what you consistently eat over time.
Gestational Diabetes, a form of diabetes during pregnancy, has found to be one of the most common conditions to occur during pregnancy, affecting upwards of 1 in 7 births. Those who are diagnosed with are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes down the road, while the child is also found to be at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Also know that development of gestational diabetes may go undetected with little or no symptoms, which is why most physicians will test for around 24-28 weeks.
So what can you eat to help control blood sugars? Researchers of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, looking at randomized controlled trials of dietary modification for gestational diabetes management, found no strong pull towards a particular type of pattern. Such as low-glycemic index, low carbohydrate, energy restriction, fat modification, or following the DASH. However, evidence does still support that low glycemic index patterns have a large decrease in fasting and post-meal glucose values. Evidence also shows that following a DASH pattern has favorable outcomes for glucose values, HbA1c levels, and infant birth weights.
The general recommendation is higher nutrient-rich foods. While keeping in mind the saying “eating for two” is not the best to go by. In the first 3 months of pregnancy you should only see a minimal gain in weight, 1-4 pounds, and than 2-4 pounds/month until delivery. Every mother is expected to gain weight during pregnancy, even if overweight or obese, so be sure to talk with health care provider on how much weight gain is appropriate.
If you’re at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes (being overweight or obese, physically inactive, or with a history of previous gestational diabetes) or have been newly diagnosed with gestational diabetes, please be sure to work closely with your healthcare provider and utilize the services of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, if possible; they can help educate and personalize a healthier eating pattern.
Now of course in addition to a healthier pattern, consistent physical activity is important for reducing risk of gestational diabetes. For the most part, still shooting for those same physical activity recommendations if you weren’t pregnant. Pregnancy should not mean permanent bedrest, unless medically advised to do so. Please be sure to chat with your healthcare provider or physical therapist about possible activity modifications.
Until next time,
Fuel Physio Team
Yamamoto, J. M., Kellett, J. E., Balsells, M., et al. (2018). Gestational diabetes mellitus and diet: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the impact of modified dietary interventions on maternal glucose control and neonatal birth weight. Diabetes Care, 41(7), 1346-1361.