Just Found Out I Have Gestational Diabetes

Updated on February 02, 2009
K.G. asks from Dallas, TX
20 answers

Ok, i just found out yesterday and lo and behold its the weekend so i won't get to a doctor or nutritionist before midweek i'm sure....i'm going a little nuts wondering what i can eat!! i'm one of those people that isn't even sure what a carb is or whether fresh fruit is a no-no or not.....dang and i like it so much!! i'm really not sure what to do in the meantime until i get to a specialist AND even then i'm really not sure how i'll stick to it all for the next two-three months!!!! any advice or help from those that know? thanks!

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answers from Dallas on

Greetings K.:

I'm a doula in the FW area and I work for an agency that provides a great deal of education for free. Feel free to contact me and I will gladly share what information and knowledge I have to offer.

Love and blessings,



answers from Dallas on

The same thing happened to me with my first child...it took me 5 days to get to the nutritionalist. Let me first of all tell you how much I like to eat!!!! This is not that hard...I promise...you'll get through it! Until you get to the nutritionalist, stay away from sugar...candy, ice cream & what they call "blatant" sugars. This was hard for me b/c the only thing that stopped my nausea thoughout the days was a Dr. Pepper. I was not able to keep my sugar levels down by eating any starches. I ate a lot of lean meats & veggies. Remember to eat about 4 - 6 times throughou the day. Eggs in the morning, low sugar fruit like an apple mid-day, chef salad for lunch (I ate LOTS of this), cheese & apple mid-afternoon, lean meat & veggie (non-starchy like steamed brocolli) and then don't forget an evening snack before bed. Good luck & at least for me, I actually lost weight when I was pregnant b/c I was eating so healthy, but I could do that b/c I started out overweight to begin with. Again, good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
Having GD is a downer. I had it with my first pregnancy. Up to my diagnosis, I was indulging every craving for sweets, chocolate and everything with white flour. Just so you know, Dr's and nutritionists, especially old school ones, will tell you that once you get have it, you'll have it with all subsequent pregnancies. NOT TRUE! I had it with pregnancy #1, but not with my 2nd and 3rd. I think this had more to do with the fact that while I was pregnant with the 2 youngest, I had toddlers to chase after. That kept me more active. With my first pregnancy, I was still working and had a desk job.

Here's the lowdown. You want to try to avoid or SEVERELY limit anything with sugar, especially white refined sugar (white table sugar). The same goes for anything with white flour as it's base, so pasta, white rice, white breads, cake, cookies, things like that. Your focus should be on eating fresh raw vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils) and proteins. You can have fruit, just be sure it is in it's original state (not juice) and have only 1 or 2 servings a day. A serving is the amount you can fit into one hand. A good rule to follow, even when you are not pregnant, is to avoid anything that is prepackaged in the center aisles of the grocery store. Shop the outer aisles where you'll find everything in it's natural state. Try to avoid anything with nitrates like bacon and hot dogs and cured meats. There has been some studies that have shown that pregnant women who eat these affect the development of their baby's brains. It's a good thing for the child to avoid too when it's eating solids. You also need to keep your sodium intake down and drink plenty of fresh, filtered water. Daily walks of 30 minutes will do wonders for keeping your blood sugar levels down.

You'll probably be giving a blood glucose monitor with test strips. I preferred the kind you could test on your forearm as opposed to the fingers. If you get a choice, go for that. The finger prick kind can get painful. You'll test something like 3-4 times a day. Sorry I've forgotten exactly how many, I didn't want to remember this after I was done.

A baby born to a GD mom will likely be larger, so prepare yourself. Don't get too many newborn (up to 10) clothes, because the baby probably won't wear them outside of the hospital. My 1st was 9lbs 4.6 oz. I'm only 5'2" tall, so I had trouble with trying to deliver him vaginally. I did 16 hours of labor and 1.5 hours of pushing, but couldn't get him out. I ended up going C-section. A C-section after 18.5 hours meant that I was pretty wiped out after delivery and it took longer for recovery afterward. I mentioned earlier that I didn't have GD after that first pregnancy. My two other kids weighed 7lbs 1 oz and 7 lbs 6 oz at full term delivery.

For additional nutritional information, google glycemic index. This should give you some lists of foods that don't spike your blood sugar. Just try to keep up your new eating habits afterward. Once you have GD, you are at a slightly elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after delivery. If you continue to eat real whole foods, you can control your blood sugar and weight.

I hope this helps. It seems like forever when you do have GD, but really, it will end.

SAHM to 3 ages 7, 5 & 3



answers from Dallas on


I had gestational diabetes with my second child and it is a little daunting. First of all, yes you can eat fresh fruit, but in moderation. You can have a small banana, 1/2 an apple, small orange, 1 handful of raisins, and such. Your nutritionist will make up a diet for you that lets you know how many calories you can have per day depending on your needs for your pregnancy. The next best thing you can do is walk 1 mile in 30 minutes. This helps burn the "sugar" in your system and help to keep you numbers low. I was required to walk 2 miles a day. This kept me from having to use insulin injections. It really is ok and what I found was that I felt better after having my daughter. I had more energy and felt energetic as well. Hope this helps you out and if you have any other questions just let me know. Good luck and everything will be alright.



answers from Wichita Falls on

Fresh fruit is usually ok in moderation - i.e. one serving, but you don't want to demolish a pound of peaches or anything. Apples, strawberries, blueberries are all 'better fruit choices' than peaches, bananas, and oranges. They usually cause less of a spike in blood sugar. You also want to add a protein and a fat to the sweet stuff and bread that you eat. Protein helps prevent the spikes and dips in blood sugar that can cause problems.

You probably want to stay away from juice - the concentrated sugar from the fruit, without the fiber of the same fruit, make juice kind of like God's candy. Straight milk can also cause some people's blood sugar to spike, but 1/2 cup on a bowl of cereal (with a side of eggs or turkey bacon, for the protein) would usually be ok for most people.

I love sparkpeople.com for the online nutrition planner/ record - you can go in and make sure that you're getting a nice split between protein and carbs (and fat) in every meal / snack.. but a good gd day for me looked something like this:

Wake up.

1 apple, sliced, with 2 TBSP no sugar added peanut butter.

1 c cooked Quaker oatmeal with stevia, cinnamon, vanilla and a little cream. 3 slices Louis Rich turkey Bacon.

Turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat toast with 1 slice swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato. 1 serving tortilla chips with 1/4 c salsa.

1 orange with 15 almonds.

Big salad with sliced chicken and shredded cheese, 2T lite ranch. Small portion of pasta - spaghetti, lasagna, or pot roast with carrots and potatotes, or beans and rice or gumbo (I'm a cajun at heart).. whatever my family was eating.

I usually ended with a fruit + protein snack - it was also my go to at any point during the day when I was feeling blech - headache, dizzy, nausea. The little tangerines that are out right now peel by hand, and I kept a bag of nuts in my purse along with a couple of those most of the time.

I also focused on walking after dinner - which was always my biggest meal of the day. I also started walking after my apple minibreakfast. I love Leslie Sansone's walk at home tapes - I delivered in the middle of summer and the middle of winter, and she kept me stepping through the weather.

The combination of walking and intelligent eating pretty much guarantees a steady supply of vitamins, nutrients, carbs, protein, and insulin - for you and your baby. It's not hard to stick to - just pair carb (sweet or bread) with something else (nut, meat, soy) and keep your portions reasonable - and walk. :) Vegetables (except corn, carrots, beans, and potatoes - those count as carbohydrates) are virtually free foods - they don't count for carbs or protein, though - so you need to eat 'real food' with them.

If none of that sounds like it makes sense - google "Low GI diet" GI is glycemic index - and it's a measure of the effect a food, or combination of foods, has on blood sugar.

Ex. of Low GI = Baked potato - bad choice, Baked potato with a little butter and lite sour cream - or plain yogurt with butter buds, cheese, and turkey bacon crumbles = lunch, esp when paired with a small salad.

Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

Once you get the the class, you'll feel much better. It's pretty easy - you just have to pay more attention to what you're eating and how balanced your meals are. It all comes down to keeping your sugar levels from spiking and with your diet, you do that by protein and/or veggies with your carbs. You can go online and read up a bit on diabetes, and they also have their own food pyramid. you might even find some menu suggestions. They even have diabetes cookbooks at the library, so you can get a feel for the food you can eat there.

I LOVED the results of my gestational diabetes - I gained only 15 lbs while pregnant (I was about 10-15 overweight to start, so weight gain was just right) :)

Here's an example of a food that I liked and could eat in moderation - CHILI FRIES! CHili has lots of protein, fries are carbs - a small serving - about ths size of your fist. Yummy, sounds forbidden, but it's not!

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on



These are very good sources of up to date information. My daughter has had type 1 for almost 12 years and I grew up with a brother with type 1 - if you do not have a blood glucose machine, you can get a good one at WalMart - their Reli-On is inexpensive and accurate. Read the above - you will find it interesting what is high in carb and what is not....the Calorie King Book is a good resource for carb counts.....you can do this, it is so much easier than it used to be......it is for the life of your baby as well as your own.......it is really just good nutrition and exercise.......what were you told to do when the diagnosed you with it?

Please write if I can help further........B.



answers from Dallas on

I am there with you--this is my second pregnancy with gestational diabetes. The first one I had to be on insulin, but hoping to control it this time with diet only--we'll see. This is the diet I was given until I see my doctor. I am checking my sugars after every major meal and in the mornings--they have been pretty good--as long as I stick strictly to the diet--any variation in carbs my sugars are really high. So basically 1 carb portion=15 grams of carbs which is a slice of whole wheat bread, 3 graham crackers, 3 cups of popcorn, ect.

Breakfast: 1 bread/starch, 1 milk (8oz), 1-2 meats(1- 2oz), and 1 fat.

AM Snack: 1-2 bread/starch, 1 meat, 1 fat

Lunch: 2 bread/strach, 1 milk, 1 fruit (small), 2 meats, 1-2 veggies, 1 fat

PM Snack: 2 bread/strach, 1 fruit, 1 meat, 1 fat

Dinner: 1-2 bread/strach, 1 milk, 1 fruit, 3 meats, 1-2 veggies, 1 fat

Bedtime: snack 1 bread/starch, 1 meat, 1 fat.

I really have to watch my milk and fruit intake as it can also send my blood sugar high. This is just a generic diet to follow until you see someone and they will change it depending on you weight gain needs and your blood sugar readings, once you start testing.

Just as a little hope, I had a 6 lbs 14 oz baby with my first pregnancy because I really kept my sugars under control. It can be done, but it is a lot of work and miserable to be on a diet those last few months of pregnancy. The diet they put me on really slowed my weight gain which was a nice for me, since I had gained so much due to high blood pressure during my first pregnancy.

Drink lots of water, though that is not hard when your blood sugars are high, since you stay really thirsty. Also, don't over eat at anyone setting, eat small portions every couple of hours. I am seriously never hungry on this plan.

Good luck with everything.



answers from Dallas on

Check the American Diabetes Association or google the "diabetic diet". There is LOADS of information. BTW, be religious about this diet, it affects your baby dramatically.



answers from Dallas on

You already have some good advice. I just wanted to give you some encouragement. I was so scared when they told me I had gestational diabetes -- but everything turned out fine. Follow what everyone said about managing your carbs throughout the day and you and your little one are going to be fine. And don't worry -- you'll be able to stick with it. It is easier than any diet I have ever been on (I stayed on it after my baby was born) and when you are doing it for someone else it seems very easy to stick with it. Just remember that when your blood sugar spikes too much your baby will create more insulin which can be harmful to your baby. But if you manage your carbs and proteins then your baby makes a consistent amount of insulin and everything will be great. That was some serious motivation for me.

Just a few things you should be aware of for delivery -- even if you plan to breastfeed they will likely give your baby formula to help regulate the blood sugar after birth (They will test the baby and determine the baby's blood sugar level). The baby may also have to go to the nursury longer until their blood sugar stabilizes. It isn't a big deal but if I hadn't been prepared for that I think I might have freaked out.

Good luck! And try not to worry, you'll be fine!


answers from Dallas on

This is not as difficult as it sounds! The basic concept is this: you are going to learn to make better food choices and learn portion control. If you are overweight, be prepared because you may actually loos weight. I lost about 15 lbs during my pregnancy after I was diagnosed. The doctor was ok with it because I had it to loose. You CAN do this... just remember that this is for your unborn child as much as it is for you. Besides, if you don't control your food the last alternative is SHOTS!

SAHM of two:19 and 5. Home baker and candy maker(Valentines Day is just around the corner!). Married to the same wonderful man for almost 12 years.



answers from Dallas on

You will get more complete advice from your doctor and nutritionist but basically don't eat a carb (fruit, milk, bread or grains) without accompanying it with a protein.

Good luck. I didn't have to go on insulin but was diet controlled. Exercise was very good during this period.



answers from Dallas on

You should be able to call your doctor or the one oncall, to get information to get you through the weekend.



answers from Dallas on

Grrr! I hate that! I never know how I'll survive. :)

Until you can get a full diet regimine, eat small meals all day long, always include a protein--egg, milk, cheese, beans, peanut butter, chicken, that sort of thing. The before breakfast snack and before bed snack are the most important--simply an egg, then graham crackers with pb. They get you ready for the ups and downs of bloodsugar. Anything with added sugar is pretty much a no, carbs are things like breads, potatoes, corn, crackers, cereal, you know. Go easy on carbs and heavy on vegetables, always including a protein.

Good luck! You'll survive! :)



answers from Dallas on

K. I know that it can be overwhelming this sort of news. I am an RN and a childbirth doula and so frequently have to deal with this sort of thing with pregnant mommas! Your doctor will ensure that you get the appropriate education on nutrition for the remainder of your pregnancy. Some easy things to remember that if it is white (i.e. pasta, bread, potatoes) it is a carbohydrate which turns into sugar when it is broken down. Try to have a protein rich (lean meats, nuts, dairy) diet and limit your sweets as much as possible. While fruits do contain sugar they aren't as bad for you as the pure sugar that is in a candy bar.

Best of luck to you!



answers from Abilene on

hey... some good ideas for you are to be sure that you drink at least 64 ounces of water a day... that keeps everything flowing. If you stick to the food pyramid... 2 milks, 5 fruits and veggies, 4 meats, 9 breads, 2 fats (I think thats 1500 or so calories a day) you'll probably be okay... switch to wheat breads, unbleached flours, wheat or wheat duram pastas, sweet potatoes instead of regular, or at least do that half and half, and watch your sugar intake. And find a way to check your blood sugar! Fresh fruit isn't bad in moderation, and just allow yourself so much sugar, with the knowledge that starch turns into sugar for a diabetic. Another good plan is to do your starchy sugary foods before lunch, and burn it off during the day... remembering that your metabolism slows at night.

these are just some things that help me control my diabetes, and remember that you have to take in a little sugar, or you'll bottom out, or get all weak and shakey.

Also, my ob swore that sugar substitutes didn't hurt the baby, but Splenda or xylitol is the only one i'm really comfortable with.

good luck!



answers from Dallas on

There is tons of info. online about this, I'm sure. YOu need to stay away from simple carbs. Think anything white. White bread, potatoes, white pasta, sugar. Replace those refined and simple carbs with more complex ones, items made with whole grains. You are going to have to become a label reader. Look for WHOLE Wheat in the label. Stay away from things that say "enriched" like enriched wheat flour. Stay far, far away from things that have High FRuctose Corn Syrup. It is in so many things you won't believe it! Try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, in fact. You will probably have to eat small meals often with protien in each one.

I hope this helps until you can get to a nutritionist.

Good LUck!



answers from Dallas on

I had it too and I was anxious about it. Mine was controlled by diet and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It actually helped because I didn't end up gaining a ton of weight during pregnancy!

Fresh fruit is considered a carb. My nutritionist told me to have 5 servings of fruits/veggies per day. I could not have fruit during the first two meals of the day or the last meal. I had to eat 6 small meals a day. Here is an example:

1. (2) carbs
(1 oz) meat
(1) fat
So for that meal I would have...a glass of milk (carb), 1 egg (meat), and 1/2 english muffin (carb).

2. (2) carbs
(1 oz) meat
(1) fat
1/2 Peanut butter sand (fat, meat, and 1 carb), glass of milk (carb)

3. (3) carbs
(2) veggies
(3 oz) meat
(1) fat
Grilled cheese sand (2 carbs, meat, fat), orange (carb), carrots (veggie)

4. (3) carbs
(1) fat
2 small blueberry muffins (2 carbs, fat), small apple (carb)

5. (3) carbs
(2) veggies
(3 oz) meat
(1) fat
Mashed potatoes (carb), green beans (veggie), salad (veggie), chicken (meat), butter (fat), milk (carb).

6. (1) starch
(1 oz) meat
(1) fat
Triscits and pb

The last meal (#6) I could not have milk either. I needed to eat 3 servings of dairy a day. It is also about portion size. Make sure to read labels. Usually 15g of carbs is considered 1 serving. 1/2 of a banana is considered a serving. A small apple is 1 serving. I am not a big meat eater, but I noticed if I ate meat and stayed away from starchy veggies I was okay. Walking is really good too. You can lower your blood sugar just by walking around the block.

Hope this helps! Good luck, it will be fine! :)



answers from Dallas on

I was diagnosed as a borderline diabetic. My doctor told me to buy the basic South Beach Diet book. She says the information in that book about blood sugar was written by a doctor and is accurate. The book gives lists of foods and sample meal plans, etc. It should answer all your questions. You should be able to get the original at a second hand store. The newer version is more of a diet book and less of a nutritional book.

Good luck and happy pregnancy!!

D. Kimbriel
Grandma to 2 beautiful boys



answers from Dallas on

I had gestational diabetes. It is hard, but you can do it. A carb serving is 15 grams. Carbs come from sugar. Read the ingredients on everything. You should have 3-4 carb servings per meal, as well as balanced protien with a little fat. You should be eating 2-3 snacks a day between meals. Fresh fruit has natural sugar so you have to be careful. A small apple is 1 carb serving. You can use that for a snack. I loved apple slices with peanut butter. I got my carb and protien for my snacks that way. Cheese is a good source of fat. Especially if you get one low in carbs. Small bags of chips are 1-2 carb servings. IF you stick to your diet, you can keep your blood sugar normal. It's hard. YOu will probably get frustrated. You may even be tempted to cheat, but remember you are protecting your baby. If you would like any further advice let me know. I could also send you copies of the information I have if you would like.

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