Friday, February 15, 2008

What is a Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan?

What is a Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan?
High blood sugar levels during pregnancy are the primary cause of gestational diabetes. The health and development of the fetus as well as the health of the mother can be seriously affected by this type of diabetes. For most women gestational diabetes is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy. Once the baby is born this form of diabetes goes away. For a small percentage of women this is a warning sign that they may be at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Managing this dangerous disease starts with a gestational diabetes diet plan.
Pregnant women need to be routinely screened during their second trimester for this disease. By catching it at its outset its negative impacts on the mother and fetus can be mitigated. Uncontrolled it can cause a number of complications including pregnancy-induced hypertension, premature birth, large fetus size, congenital abnormalities, future obesity and diabetes in the infant, and complications during birth.
To control this form of diabetes it is essential that the mother make changes to her diet, many of which she may not be used to. Lifestyle requirements based on metabolic nutrition is the way this is accomplished. The first thing to be done is a reduction in the amount of simple sugars being eaten. These include refined white sugar and syrups.
Complex carbohydrates are used to replace the simple sugars. Vital nutrients including carbohydrates must be balanced through out the day. A registered dietician is an important resource for implementing a gestational diabetes diet plan. This dietary specialist can help pregnant women with their food choices through the use of exchange lists.
Used as a basic tool for almost all food guides and dietary recommendations for diabetes, exchange lists were first created to help diabetics with their meal planning. Carbohydrate counting has also started to see more use as a way of controlling the complications of diabetes. Keeping track of carbohydrates eaten is the strength of this system.
It is important for any woman with this type of diabetes to rely on her health care team to manage this disease. Doctors, nurses, and dieticians will need to take into account the physical, psychosocial, and educational needs of their patient when implementing a diabetic diet plan.
The main responsibility for creating and teaching the individualized gestational diabetes diet plan rests with the woman's dietician. Her nurses must reinforce these dietary changes and are responsible for showing her how to self monitor her blood sugar levels as well as how to self administer insulin if it is prescribed. A team approach between the pregnant woman and her health care team is vitally important in managing this serious condition and doing so will mitigate the risks it poses.
For more information on Gestational Diabetes visit