Gestational diabetes is a disorder which will affect around 4% of all pregnant women in the United States. It is not entirely understood why some women get it because it normally disappears once the baby is born. One theory is that the stress of the pregnancy itself causes it, but whatever the cause any woman who is diagnosed with it will need to follow a gestational diabetes diet plan. |
In fact this type of diet needs to be followed if an expectant mother has preexisting diabetes as well. The risk of fetal defects and even death are considerably higher with gestational diabetes. Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, in the mother is the primary cause of any problems caused by this condition. When this happens the fetus will begin to produce large amounts of insulin to deal with the excess glucose (sugar) that is crossing through the placenta.
Increased insulin levels in the fetus cause a condition known as macrosomia which results in larger than normal body and head size. It can also cause respiratory problems as well as hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, hypokalemia, or jaundice in new born babies.
It is highly recommended that any woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes receive nutrition advice and create a diet plan with the help of a registered dietician. It is vitally important to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy and this best done by modifying the diet.
A gestational diabetes diet is individualized for each pregnancy based on the mother's weight and height. It will also provide an adequate amount of calories and nutrients that are needed during pregnancy as well as controlling blood glucose levels. In addition the mother will need to self monitor her blood sugar levels at least four times a day to make sure her glucose levels are under control. Once good glucose control is established the frequency of self monitoring can be decreased but self monitoring should be continued during the entire pregnancy.
The diet plan should meet the desired weight gain and nutrition requirements needed for a normal pregnancy. For the first trimester weight gain should be in the 2 to 4 pound range and then an additional pound every week for the second and third trimesters. During the second trimester it is recommended that caloric intake be adjusted upwards approximately 100 to 300 kcal/day above that of the first trimester. Protein intake also needs to be increased during pregnancy to 10 grams per day either by drinking two glasses of milk or 1 to 2 ounces of meat. 400 ug/day of folic acid should also be included in the gestational diet to help avoid congenital and neural tube defects.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a very real threat during a pregnancy so restricting calories should only be done under direct medical supervision. The minimum number of calories eaten per day must not be below 1700 to 1800 and these calories should come from foods of high nutritious value.
A gestational diabetes diet plan is a crucial part of any pregnancy for women who suffer from this dangerous condition. Any pregnant woman who is diagnosed with this disorder should be evaluated by a registered dietician who will then assist the woman to meet her dietary needs.
For more information about a gestational diabetes diet please visit the web site Diabetic Diet Plans by Clicking Here.
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