Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes (cont.)

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

Hypoglycemia is a serious problem that needs to be treated right away. If you think you are having a low blood sugar reaction, check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is less than 60 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), eat a sugar-containing food, such as 1/2 cup of orange or apple juice; 1 cup of skim milk; 4-6 pieces of hard candy (not sugar-free); 1/2 cup regular soft drink; or 1 tablespoon of honey, brown sugar, or corn syrup. Fifteen minutes after eating one of the foods listed above, check your blood sugar. If it is still less than 60 mg/dL, eat another one of the food choices above. If it is more than 45 minutes until your next meal, eat a bread and protein source to prevent another reaction.

Record all low blood sugar reactions in your log book, including the date, time of day the reaction occurred and how you treated it.

How Will My Diet Change With Gestational Diabetes?

If you have gestational diabetes, follow these diet tips:

  • Eat three small meals and two or three snacks at regular times every day. Do not skip meals or snacks. Carbohydrates should be 40%-45% of the total calories with breakfast and a bedtime snack containing 15-30 grams of carbohydrates.
  • If you have morning sickness, eat 1-2 servings of crackers, cereal, or pretzels before getting out of bed. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and avoid fatty, fried, and greasy foods. If you take insulin and have morning sickness, make sure you know how to treat low blood sugar.
  • Choose foods high in fiber such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. All pregnant women should eat 20-35 grams of fiber a day.
  • Fats should be less than 40% of calories with less than 10% consumed being from saturated fats.
  • Drink at least 8 cups (or 64 ounces) of liquids per day.
  • Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. Ask your health care provider about taking a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement to meet the nutritional needs of your pregnancy.

How Much Exercise Is Safe for Gestational Diabetes?

Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. Being fit during pregnancy means safe, mild to moderate exercise at least three times a week. But, regardless of gestational diabetes, every pregnant woman should consult with her health care provider before beginning an exercise program. He or she can give you personal exercise guidelines, based on your medical history.

Since both insulin and exercise lower blood sugar, you should follow these additional exercise guidelines to avoid a low blood glucose reaction:

  • Always carry some form of sugar with you when exercising, such as glucose tablets or hard candy.
  • Eat one serving of fruit or the equivalent of 15 grams of carbohydrate for most activities lasting 30 minutes. If you exercise right after a meal, eat this snack after exercise. If you exercise 2 hours or more after a meal, eat the snack before exercise.

Pregnancy Weight Gain

The recommended amount of weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight, whether there is more than one fetus, and the trimester. Typically more weight gain is expected during the second and third trimester and recommended intakes of calories should increase at that time.

Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a healthy, balanced diet is a good sign that your baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs and is growing at a healthy rate.

It is not necessary to "eat for two" during pregnancy. It's true that you need extra calories from nutrient-rich foods to help your baby grow, but you generally need to consume only 200 to 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant to meet the needs of your growing baby.

Ask your health care provider how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. A woman of average weight before pregnancy can expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. You may need to gain more or less weight, depending on what your doctor recommends.

In general, you should gain about 2-4 pounds during your first 3 months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Where the weight goes
Baby 8 pounds
Placenta 2-3 pounds
Breast tissue 2-3 pounds
Blood supply 4 pounds
Fat stores for delivery and breastfeeding 5-9 pounds
Uterus increase 2-5 pounds
TOTAL 25 to 35 pounds

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