Pregnancy is an exciting phase in a woman’s life. A good prenatal nutrition program or an antenatal diet can help in a healthier pregnancy outcome. However, there are many changes in a woman’s body and, one change could be a change in the blood sugar levels also referred to as gestational diabetes.

Just as the name suggests, it refers to diabetes but, for the duration of pregnancy. There are a lot of complications associated with the disorder, both in the mother and in the neonate. The reason for the elevated blood sugar levels isn’t clear as yet but excess weight during pregnancy does play a role. Hormone levels during pregnancy change making it is harder for the body to process blood sugar efficiently in these women which is why the blood sugar levels rise.

Gestational diabetes is found to affect about 7-14% of pregnancies. And the good news is that the blood sugar levels return to normal soon after delivery. However, if a woman has had gestational diabetes her risk for type 2 diabetes in future is high. Same is for her baby in later life.

To manage it, a good pregnancy diet should do the trick. So, include:

1. Whole grain cereals and millets like whole wheat products, brown rice, buckwheat, whole oats, barley, bajra, jowar, amaranth being low in Glycemic Index.

2. Protein rich foods like beans, lentils, low fat milk and milk products, cooked eggs and lean meat. Beans can also be sprouted as it increases the bioavailability of a few nutrients, however cook them and then consume. Try to include protein in every meal.

3. Leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek, amaranth and vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, peas, etc in cooked form.

4. Fruits preferably apples, oranges, guava, berries, kiwi, pears, plum, papaya. However, do keep a track on the portion consumed.

5. Healthy fats from avocados, unsalted nuts, oilseeds like flax, sunflower, pumpkin and vegetable oils like olive, peanut, mustard.

And, exclude:

1. Starchy foods like potatoes, white rice, white bread, sago and refined flour products.

2. Jaggery, honey and sugary foods like cakes, pastries, candy, biscuits, chocolates, etc.

3. Saturated fat and trans fat consumption. So, avoid whole milk and products, red meat, butter, margarine, coconut oil, etc.

4. Foods with hidden carbs and fat like processed foods, ketchup, dressings, alcohol, fast food.

In addition to this, regular exercise with the doctor’s consent is a must. Besides, regular monitoring of the blood sugar levels while pregnant is essential to stay within the target range of blood sugar levels. A good prenatal nutrition program can help in managing the sugar levels during the entire pregnancy.

Author's Bio: 

Arati Shah is an astute nutritionist having expertise in offering all types nutrition to different individuals and corporate. She is one of the top nutritionists in Mumbai who can also guide one through weight loss in Mumbai and corporate wellness programs with same efficacy. She heads the Nutrition team in Mumbai and takes personal interest in every client.

Prenatal Nutrition Program