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Proactive Gestational Diabetes Resources

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

While I haven't gotten the "label" of Gestational Diabetes I went for my 3hr glucose this morning and was sent home because my fasting base level was 139 - and was referred to an endocrinologist. ARGH


I am overweight, have hypothryroidism and a family history of diabetes, so not completely out of the scope of possibilty. HOWEVER I was really hoping for a homebirth and want to really work proactively (or reactively as this case might really be) to make it the best possibilty for a homebirth (or at least a unmedicated birth).  


I was wondering if any of you have any resources which are user friendly but also detailed in managing gestational diabetes? I am looking for diets/nutirional plans, alternative modalities of health care, books, apps for meal tracking/nutritional information, ......


any pointers, words of hope, inspiration....




post #2 of 9

Hi There! Here are some of the documents my hospital shared with me that helped me get started. Honestly - the most effective change I made to my diet was cutting out white flour and all sugars (refined, natural, and artificial). It's not easy - and I do give in to the occassional treat - but making sure I exercise before and after is key. Hope this information helps!


Getting Started:  Eating Plan for Gestational Diabetes



All foods affect one’s blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates have the most direct impact. Digestion of carbohydrates releases simple sugar molecules such as glucose which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. When you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, avoiding excess consumption of carbohydrate is required to control blood sugar levels.


Foods containing carbohydrates:


  • Grains, breads, cereals and dried beans
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Fruits and juice
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Sweets and desserts


Carbohydrates are essential for growing a healthy baby. Establishing appropriate amounts to consume and how to distribute your intake requires a specialized individualized meal plan. This is best created by a registered dietitian/nutritionist. The following guidelines are offered to help get you started before your scheduled nutrition consultation.


 Carbohydrate Controlled Eating Plan


Approximately 2200-2400 calories and 200-250gm of carbohydrate each day is generally recommended. Distributing daily carbohydrates sensibly into 3 meals and some snacks is advised to promote optimal blood sugar control.


Daily carbohydrate budgets usually allow for:        30-60gm per meal

   0-30gm per snack


To estimate the amount of carbohydrate in foods, read labels for serving size and total carbohydrate content. If labels are not available, use the Carbohydrate Exchange System:

1 carbohydrate exchange/serving/choice = amount of food with 15gm of total carbohydrate.

Each of the following portions is the equivalent of 15gm of carbohydrate:



Grains, Breads, Cereal

Milk and Yogurt



- 1 slice bread

- 6” tortilla

- 1/2 cup cooked        

  dried beans

- 1/3 cup pasta,


- ½ cup cold cereal

- ½ cup hot cereal


- 1 cup milk

- 1 cup soymilk*      

- ¾ cup plain



   lowfat or nonfat


   *plain soymilk


- 1 small fruit

- ½ cup fruit

- 1 cup melon

- ½ cup juice

- 2 Tbsp dried fruit

3 cups salad

1 ½ cups cooked



½ cup potato, peas,


1 cup winter squash


Protein foods (poultry, meat, fish, eggs) and fats (oils, margarine, nuts) are carbohydrate free or contain negligible amounts. These foods also slow absorption of sugar into the blood.


Favor high fiber choices. Fiber slows absorption of sugar into the blood which is beneficial.


Exercising before or after eating can lower blood sugar; any activity is better than none!

Daily Needs When Pregnant – Recommended Servings


Food Group               # of Servings

Dairy                                3-4

Grains                               8-10

Fruits                               2-4

Vegetables                        3 or more


Meat/Protein                     6-8oz

Fats                                 6-8


1 serving of fat  = 1 tsp oil, margarine, butter, mayo, 1 Tbsp dressing/ lite mayo, 6-10 nuts




Sample Menu


Breakfast:             1-2 slice whole grain bread

1 egg, 1 slice of cheese or 1 Tbsp peanut butter

1 cup milk or 1 serving of fruit


Lunch:                   2 slices whole grain bread or medium wheat tortilla

2oz chicken or ½ cup canned salmon or 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter

(@ lunch                 Raw veggies as desired, some mayo/mustard, small amt all fruit jam

choose:                                   OR

1 cup milk +/or        Large salad with Lite dressing

1 serving fruit          2 oz cheese or other protein

or 6 oz yogurt*)       ½ cup cooked beans, 1 small wheat pita


Dinner:                  3-4 oz poultry, lean meat etc or 4 oz of firm tofu

                             2/3-1 cup rice, pasta, potato, peas or corn

                             Cooked non starchy vegetable and/or salad

                             1 cup milk +/or 1 fruit


* Greek style yogurts and Stonyfield yogurt (higher in protein & lower in carbs).



Snacks:                 Please refer to the handout called:

Carbohydrate Controlled Snacks for Those with Gestational Diabetes



  • Keep treats and refined starchy snack foods to a minimum.
  • Space meals and snacks apart by a minimum of 2 hours.


  • Other than some milk, water is your best beverage choice.


Remember, this is only intended to get you started!


Please record a 3 day food log to bring to your nutrition counseling appointment.



Out patient RD/Diabetes Nutrition Educator @ Emerson Hospital                                           

post #3 of 9

And here are some snack ideas...


Carbohydrate Controlled Snacks for Those with Gestational Diabetes


Unless you’ve been advised on a more specific amount of carbohydrate, 15-30gm is usually a reasonable amount of carbohydrate to consume for a snack. The best choices combine the appropriate amount of carbohydrate with some protein, fiber and a bit of fat.


Here are some snack suggestions and an approximation of the amount of carbohydrate they contain.

All product labels should be checked for more accurate information per serving. Comparing different products is useful as brands vary in their total carbohydrate content. Be clear about the amount of carbohydrate your portion contains in relation to the product label’s description of one serving.

Many of these choices will work as convenient options for a busy day or commute.

                                                                                                                               Approximate Amount of Carbohydrate

1 cup greek style yogurt such as Chobani (option: add handful nuts/seeds)          13-20gm

1-2 fruit servings* with 1 string cheese or 1 TBSP peanut butter or nuts/seeds    15-30gm

½ cup cottage cheese with 1 fruit serving                                                                              21-22gm

1 slice bread with protein (cheese, egg, chicken)                                                               15-20gm

4-6 triscuits with cheese                                                                                                               15-20gm

1/3-1/2 cup hummus with raw vegetables                                                                            20-30gm

1 wheat Matzoh with margarine/butter                or Lite Laughing Cow Cheese                      20-30gm              

1 cup milk, 1 graham cracker & cheese or 1 Tbsp of peanut butter                             22-26gm              

1 wheat tortilla with sauce & cheese/melted                                                                      10-20gm

3 cups popcorn and 1 string cheese                                                                                         15-20gm

2-3 Tbsp of raisins with a 100 calorie packet of nuts                                                          18-25gm

Breakfast/Sports Bars: Compare brands as they vary in calories, carbohydrate, protein etc

Balance Bars (200 calorie range)                                                                                                                22-23gm

Special K Bars (90-150 calories)                                                                                                   15-25gm

Kashi Bars (120-190 calories)                                                                                                       20-30gm

Kid Z Cliff Bars (125 calories)                                                                                                              23gm

Kind Fruit & Nut Bars (150-230 calories)                                                                                  11-22gm

Nature Valley Granola Bars (140-180 calories)                                                                     25-29gm

1 Cup Milk or Substitute such as Soy, Rice, Almond Milk etc.:                                       12-20gm                                                                                                                                                                             


*1 fruit serving contains 15gm of carbohydrate. A suitable serving size is approximately:                                               

  • 1 small piece of fruit 
  • 1 cup melon or berries
  • ½ large banana
  • 2 Tbsp of raisins

3-4 prunes

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

post #5 of 9

Do you have a glucose meter so you can test your blood sugar at home?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'll be getting one this weekend and seeing an endocrinologist Monday.
post #7 of 9
I have been gestationally diabetic since about 20 weeks along (given my overall numbers I suspect that this is more undiagnosed pre-diabetes than anything else). The above materials are pretty similar to what I was given with a few additions. First is that I should not be going more than 3 or so hours without eating at least a snack during the day and that the amount of time between my last evening snack and breakfast should be between 8 and 10 hours. Second is that you may not be able to eat nearly that many carbs at breakfast--there is something colloquially called the dawn effect, but basically you may be much more sensitive to sugars your first meal of the day.

Personally I have learned that I am particularly prone to the dawn effect; breakfast consists of eggs or meat and 1/4 cup of berries or yogurt--that's it. I have also learned that you can respond to different carb sources differently--for instance I can eat more theoretical carbs from fruit or yogurt than I can eat from bread products. Sometimes I feel like I am performing a science fair project with myself as the guinea pig.

Good luck!
post #8 of 9
Like Laura-belle I found I had to do lots of experimenting. Bread was a big problem for me whereas rice and pasta were less of an issue. Fat and protein are great for keeping you satisfied and keeping BSLs stable. I had fat and protein with every meal and snack.

One serve of carbohydrates is 12g. Check labels because some of the manufacturers "serves" are bigger than that.

Strawberries are a "free" fruit (one of the only free fruit). I ate a lot of strawberries.

I learned that morning was my least stable time as well. I found that one serve of carbs at breakfast, one for morning tea and two for lunch usually worked well. A typical day would be 3 scrambled egg with one slice of buttered toast for breakfast, half a cup of yogurt for morning tea and dinner leftovers for lunch. Maybe chicken and veggie stir fry with rice.

I found it helpful to measure portions of rice, pasta, yoghurt, veggies etc.

Exercise made my sugars worse. Can't explain that but it did.

Sometimes you will get a random high sugar even though your diet has been great. Even if you've eaten the same things that gave you great numbers the day before. It's hormonal. It's really annoying but there's nothing you can do about it. All my HCPs were very reasonable about this.
post #9 of 9
If you can control your blood sugar through diet you can usually still have your homebirth. I am going to watch this thread because I already have prediabetes so am beginning to check my blood sugar at 11 wks. :-)
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