Academician of European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Health Sciences Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Assist. Prof. Dr. Ç. Tuba Günebak conveyed important information on the nutrition therapy in pregnancy diabetics.
Günebak said that “Diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is called “gestational diabetes”. The difference between gestational diabetes and known diabetes is that it can be cured at the end of pregnancy. Certain hormones (prolactin, progesterone, cortisol) that facilitate fetal attachment to the uterus during pregnancy may suppress insulin secretion. Consequently, decreased insulin release leads the mother to a diabetes-like condition. This usually occurs around 24 weeks of gestation and is observed in 7 out of every 100 pregnant women”. She also said that the diagnosis of the gestational diabetes is made via challenge test and added that as long as it is detected and controlled, the mother does not face any problems. Pointing out that if it is not treated, it may cause complications, Günebak stated that the vital part of the treatment is nutrition therapy and added that the aim of the nutrition therapy is to balance the blood glucose level of the mother with a healthy diet and to protect her from any possible complications.
I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, how should I feed now?
The main principle of nutritional therapy is to provide the mother with a variety of nutrients and to supply carbohydrates from complex carbohydrates. When we consume foods containing carbohydrates, our body reaches glucose. Glucose is the basic fuel of all cells. Therefore, an alternative that removes carbohydrates from the diet can never be considered. The advantage of consuming complex carbohydrates is that they are foods that raise the glucose level slowly and in a controlled manner. Examples of complex carbohydrate-containing foods are legumes, whole-grain foods.
Which Nutriments consist Carbohydrate?
Foods that contain carbohydrates and you can consume
Foods that contain carbohydrates and you should not consume
Milk and Milk Products
Simple Sugar (Table sugar)
Fruit Juices even if they are freshly squeezed
Types of Whole Grain Bread
Food that contains simple sugar and syrup
What are your nutritional recommendations for a woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
First of all, I must underline that; the normal range of blood glucose levels of the mother protects the mother from the complications of gestational diabetes, in particular from giving birth to babies weighing more than 4 kg. In addition, it protects the baby from hypoglycaemia, hypercalcemia, hyperbilirubinemia and polycythaemia.
- You should start nutritional therapy immediately. Your dietitian will plan and calculate how much carbohydrate you should consume during the day and what foods you need to consume in order. In this way, you will have the key to a healthy pregnancy.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner; the three main meals are precious. Don’t skip any of them. Make sure that there is a nutrient from every food group on your plate at each main meal.
- For instance, in breakfast; you may consume 1 cup of semi skimmed milk or 1 small bowl of semi skimmed or probiotic yogurt from the dairy group, pasteurized white cheese and / or eggs from the meat group, whole-grain bread and / or plain oatmeal from grain group, a well-washed vegetable from the vegetable-fruit group.
- Make sure to take nourishment in every 2 or 2,5 hours.
- As the morning refreshment, try to drink 1 cup semi skimmed milk. Besides being a good source of calcium, it also helps to regulate your blood glucose.
- Control the fruit portions. Fruit is not as innocent as you think. Moreover, remember that carbohydrates in their structure can increase your blood sugar rapidly. Therefore, I recommend you not to forget to consume milk or dairy products along with your fruit. Never buy and consume canned fruits.
- Due to changes in hormone levels during the night’s sleep, when you wake up in the morning, you may find that your blood sugar level is abnormal. Don’t worry. All you have to do is never skip the breakfast meal and the night snack.
- Include whole-grain products (whole-grain bread, bulgur, black wheat, brown pasta), vegetables, legumes (green lentils, chickpeas), oil seeds (walnuts, raw almonds) in your daily diet, These nutrients are not only pulp, but also good sources of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants and certain protective phytochemicals (plant bioactive components).
- Do not consume artificial sweeteners.
- Consult your doctor and check your blood sugar daily and keep a log.
- Gain the habit of reading tag information. Don’t be fooled by a “sugar-free” label on a food, read it carefully.
Should I Exercise?
Although sports support the process in the treatment of gestational diabetes, the idea of exercising should be shaped according to the advice of your doctor. If your gynaecologist and obstetrician thinks there is no problem for you to exercise, I suggest you walk for 20 to 45 minutes at a moderate pace daily.
Healthy eating is a secret key that unlocks every door, controls the course of the disease, alleviates signs and symptoms, and improves health.