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Prevention of gestational diabetes

Prevention of Gestational diabetes

While there is no guaranteed way to completely avoid gestational diabetes, maintaining a healthy eating pattern can help reduce the risk or help manage blood sugar levels if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Eating well has many other benefits beyond pregnancy, including establishing healthy habits for the entire family.

Here are some ways to help prevent gestational diabetes during pregnancy:

1 Maintain a healthy weight

Overweight and obesity can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Aim to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight throughout your pregnancy.

2 Eat a balanced diet

Make sure your meals include a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats (like nuts, avocado and olive oil).

3 Aim for low and slow

Choose nutrient-dense carbohydrates that have a lower glycaemic index. These types of carbs are broken down more slowly, causing a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Examples include whole grains, legumes, sweet potato, green vegetables and most fruits.

4 Limit processed foods and added sugars

These foods can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, so it’s best to limit your intake.

5 Eat regular meals and snacks

Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day can help keep blood sugar levels stable.

What to do after being diagnosed?

Often women can manage their gestational diabetes with lifestyle modifications, including a healthy eating plan, engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining blood glucose levels in target range. If blood glucose levels can’t be maintained within the optimum range, medication may be required. It’s important to manage gestational diabetes to prevent complications for both the mother and the baby, such as pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth and large birth weight.

For more advice on gestational diabetes, we recommend: Gestational diabetes: What it means for you and your baby

Article sources and references

Date modified: 21 July 2023
First published: August 2023


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