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Diet for Prediabetes in Pregnancy

author image Erica Jacques
Erica Jacques is an occupational therapist and freelance writer with more than 15 years of combined experience. Jacques has been published on and various other websites, and in "Hope Digest." She earned an occupational therapy degree from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, giving her a truly global view of health and wellness.
Diet for Prediabetes in Pregnancy
pregnant woman with doctor Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

If you are pregnant you will likely be tested during your second trimester for a condition known as gestational diabetes, which is a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. However, the test may have borderline results. You may be labeled as prediabetic. Following a healthy diet is one way to prevent prediabetes from developing into diabetes, and also helps maintain the health of you and your baby.

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Diagnosing Prediabetes

pregnant couple with doctor
pregnant couple with doctor Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

A label of prediabetes means someone you are "almost" diabetic. According to the American Diabetes Association, prediabetes is the state in which your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, but are not consistently high enough to be labeled diabetic. The glucose tolerance test taken during your pregnancy involves drinking a sweet beverage and having blood tested for glucose levels after certain intervals of time. If you have borderline results you may be advised to change your diet to prevent a full case of gestational diabetes from forming.

Making Diet Changes

pregnant woman in kitchen with glass of water
pregnant woman in kitchen with glass of water Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Managing blood sugar levels during pregnancy involves two things: watching what you eat, and watching how much you eat. Portion size is important, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, the types of foods you eat have an impact as well. If you have prediabetes you may need to limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat, and you should focus on foods that are high in nutrition and low in calories. While every woman’s needs are different based on height, weight and general activity level, following a general guideline can help you keep blood glucose levels in check.

Healthy Dietary Choices

pregnant woman eating yogurt
pregnant woman eating yogurt Photo Credit: michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images

If you have gestational diabetes you should limit your starchy or sweet carbohydrates to only about half of your daily caloric intake, according to Medline Plus. Carbohydrates include such foods as fruits and vegetables, cereals, breads, beans and pastas. However, the carbohydrates you do include in the diet should be high in fiber, as they can help keep blood sugar levels steady over time. Some good choices include fresh vegetables, fortified whole-grain cereals, fresh fruits and low-fat yogurts. In addition, when choosing proteins, Medline Plus suggests sticking to leaner cuts of meats and including low-mercury fish. Eggs and nuts also make healthy protein choices in moderation.

What to Eat

pregnant woman licking spoon
pregnant woman licking spoon Photo Credit: federicomarsicano/iStock/Getty Images

If you have gestational diabetes, or are at risk for developing it, the following carbohydrate guidelines are for you from Medline Plus -- six servings of starches daily, three to five vegetables daily, two to four servings of fruit. These should be spaced out over meals and snacks to maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. In addition, Medline Plus recommends two to three servings of protein, and four servings of dairy or its equivalent. If you also limit sweets and fats, you may prevent your prediabetes from becoming a problem for your developing baby’s health.

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