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Gestational Diabetes Diet: Care Instructions


Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born. Gestational diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin helps sugar enter your cells, where it is used for energy.

You may be able to manage your blood sugar while you are pregnant by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. A dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you make a food plan. This plan will help manage your blood sugar and provide good nutrition for you and your baby.

If diet and exercise don't help keep your blood sugar in target range, you may need insulin or diabetes medicine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Learn which foods have carbohydrate. Eating too much carbohydrate will cause your blood sugar to go too high. Carbohydrate foods include:
    • Breads, cereals, pasta, and rice.
    • Dried beans and starchy vegetables, like corn, peas, and potatoes.
    • Fruits and fruit juice, milk, and yogurt.
    • Candy, table sugar, soda pop, and drinks sweetened with sugar.
  • Learn how much carbohydrate you need at meals and snacks. A dietitian or certified diabetes educator can teach you how to keep track of how much carbohydrate you eat.
  • Limit foods that have added sugar. This includes candy, desserts, and soda pop. These foods need to be counted as part of your total carbohydrate intake for the day.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol is not safe for you or your baby.
  • Do not skip meals. Your blood sugar may drop too low if you skip meals and use insulin.
  • Write down what you eat every day. Review your record with your dietitian or certified diabetes educator to see if you are eating the right amounts of foods.
  • Check your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you eat. Then check your blood sugar 1 to 2 hours after the first bite of each meal (or as your doctor recommends). This will help you see how the food you eat affects your blood sugar. Keep track of these levels. Share the record with your doctor.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have questions about your diet.
  • You often have problems with high or low blood sugar.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.