All you want to do is wolf down that cupcake sitting on your kitchen counter. Instead, you reach behind it for an apple to satisfy your hunger pangs. As painful as that choice may have been, it was probably a wise one because watching your sugar intake while you are pregnant is crucial in ensuring that both baby and you remain safe and healthy.
If you are between 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor would have arranged for you to go for an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – a test that checks the blood glucose levels in pregnant women. If your blood glucose levels come back high, this means that you have gestational diabetes.
What is Gestational Diabetes (GD)?
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels become elevated while you are pregnant. This means that your body isn’t able to produce enough insulin to control and regulate your blood glucose levels. But if appropriate steps are taken at the right time, there is a high chance that it may go away on its own without needing any medical intervention.
So if you have been diagnosed with GD, here are some measures you can try to help you curb it on your own.
Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
Eating is important when you are pregnant as your baby still requires nutrition for its growing needs. But eating too much in one sitting can cause your blood sugar to rise too much. Instead, eat small meals that are spaced out regularly throughout the day so you don’t go hungry for long periods of time in between each meal.
Watch your Carb Intake
Because starch is an important part of a pregnancy diet and starchy foods usually turn into glucose, it is best to eat them in reasonable portions. In order to feel a sense of fullness even with a reduced starch portion, pairing them with foods that are high in protein i.e. eggs would be your best bet and can help you stay full longer.
Limit Intake of Desserts and Sweet Foods
Foods like cakes and ice-cream are notoriously high in sugar and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. They are not only high in carbohydrates and fat, but offer very little nutrition for your body so it is best to avoid them as much as possible. Needless to say, sweetened beverages and fruit juices should also be avoided because they too, have a high sugar content. And in case you are wondering, you might want to give the honey and syrup a miss too, if you are having pancakes.
So what can you eat if you are craving something sweet? Avoiding sugar altogether may sound dreary but instead of desserts that offer little nutrition, opt for fruits instead. As some fruits do contain high levels of natural sugars, speak to your doctor about the type and amount of fruits that are okay for you to consume on a daily basis so you may still be able to get your sugar fix – in a much healthier way.
Increase your Water intake
Water is an important source of nutrition if not, the most important. And because it has zero calories, it is the best drink for you to have while you are pregnant. Try to drink one cup of water with each meal and one cup in between your meals. While water does not directly lower blood sugar levels, studies have shown that it does help to get rid of the excess sugar in your body. So getting proper hydration throughout the day will help to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep it under control.
Exercise is a great way to prevent obesity but did you know that exercising regularly can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes when you are pregnant? As always, remember to check with your doctor before attempting any sort of exercise. But if you can’t find the time or energy for it, consider taking a slow walk around the park with your spouse daily. Who knows? – you may even find it an enjoyable bonding activity!