It seems as though no one wants to provide a comprehensive gestational diabetes meal plan. After hours of searching the internet and the current literature on gestational diabetes, there really is very little information on putting together a good meal plan.
Each book seems to simply say, “Talk to your health care provider” about a personal eating plan.
Why is that?
The problem may be that the stakes are simply too high to commit to a generic gestational diabetes meal plan. After all, who wants to take the risk of recommending a generic plan and possibly hurting a baby?
In contrast, there are thousands of generic meal plans for any number of other conditions. The attitude is to simply provide a disclaimer, and then let the adults fend for themselves.
So , what’s a girl to do?
Like every pregnancy, it is prudent to trust the system. This may be overly simplistic, but it does work. When my wife was pregnant, she found the best possible doctor she could.
She spoke with dozens of friends. She looked up recommended doctors’ credentials and even interviewed several of them. Then, she followed every bit of advice they gave.
So, how is this last bit of advice relevant to putting together a meal plan? Simple, in this particular case, each meal plan will be different and you need to help of a professional in putting together your plan.
Women with gestational diabetes will have a different diet than other women including other women who have diabetes.
Here are some general guidelines to help you ask the right the right questions of your doctor or registered dietician.
- How will I monitor and determine my carbohydrate intake? Most meal plans will seek to balance your carbohydrate intake to make sure your blood sugar levels remain steady (not too low, not too high). This will take some monitoring. Most plans require you to test your glucose levels with a glucose meter. Most plans also require you to keep a journal of your food intake, glucose levels and exercise, among other variables.
- How will I balance my food, in particular my carbohydrate, intake? Will you use the carbohydrate counting method, the exchange method, or some other method?
- Do they explain the food pyramid to you? You will need to be educated on the various food groups. Does the health professional take the time to do this?
- How many meals and snacks will you have? Most researchers recommend at least 3 small to medium sized meals a day spaced at regular and consistent times. They also recommend 2-4 snacks a day. Does your plan do this? If not, why not?
- What is your exercise plan? Proper exercise is very important during pregnancy. Make sure you have an appropriate plan in place that is complementary to your meal plan.
These are just several guidelines that you need to start thinking about. If the health professional is vague or doesn’t seem to know the answers to your questions, then you may need to get a different doctor. No question is dumb or stupid. Ask away.
I wish we were able to recommend resources, but the best resource is talking with your health care professional. They will work with your individual situation to put together the optimal gestational diabetes meal plan.
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed January 2013.