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More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

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Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


 

A Healthy Pregnancy

Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet



ingredients for a healthy soup using elements of the Mediterranean-style diet, including fish, vegetables, fruits (tomatoes), and healthy fats

It is common for pregnant women to ask about certain nutrients such as calcium or B vitamins. At one point research focused on individual nutrients and their role in a healthy mother and baby. However, the reality is that we don't eat "calcium" or "vitamin C," we eat food. As researchers have looked at overall eating and exercise patterns, we see good correlations between healthy eating patterns and better pregnancy outcomes and can offer practical suggestions to childbearing women.

Dr. Gourmet readers are already very familiar with the Mediterranean diet but may not be aware that the Mediterranean diet, without alcohol, is an excellent eating plan during pregnancy and may reduce a woman's risk of Gestational Diabetes.

Note: Pregnant women or women who are attempting to become pregnant should not drink alcohol. The CDC warns that alcohol use in pregnancy can cause severe physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities in children.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It can have serious implications for both women and their babies. Researchers have explored the role of individual nutrients during pregnancy but recently they explored the eating patterns of over 1000 pregnant women in 10 countries. They found that the more closely the woman's diet followed the Mediterranean diet pattern, the lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Following the Mediterranean diet pattern resulted in better blood sugar levels even among women who never developed gestational diabetes. (Eur J Clin Nutr 2014;68(1):8-13).

This was consistent with a previous study that showed babies had better insulin levels at birth when their mothers follow a Mediterranean eating pattern (Eur J Clin Nutr 2012;66:1008-1015).

This study is practical because it did not focus on individual foods but on an overall pattern. Women were from France, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Tunisia, Lebanon and other countries with very different food preferences. The good news is that you are not limited to one food. Don't like navy beans? Try black beans or lentils, or maybe you will enjoy hummus. Is morning sickness making you reject oranges? Have some blueberries. Instead of making an individual food your goal, plan for a healthy eating pattern. Experiment, try new things! Include fruits & nuts, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and a moderate amount of dairy. Don't overdo red meats or processed foods.

Keep your portions moderate. Obesity raises your risk of gestational diabetes, but some weight gain during pregnancy is healthy. Ask your doctor what amount of weight gain is right for you.

Regular exercise is great for blood sugar, so unless your doctor has recommended exercise limitations due to a complication, include physical activity every day!

Nourish yourself and your child!