Gestational Diabetes Diet and Other Questions

As I shared in this post, after drinking the “nasty koolaid” for the 1 and 3 hour glucose test I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 11 weeks. So for the past 8 weeks I have been following a carb conscious, gestational diabetes diet as outlined by a dietician. I get quite a few questions about my gestational diabetes! Today I am answering some of those questions and sharing some gestational diabetes diet tips and info! Gestational Diabetes Diet

Did you miss these any of these posts on Gestational Diabetes?

When I failed my first one hour test I (of course!) jumped on the internet to do some research on gestational diabetes. I found tons of scholarly articles and posts from medical sites about gestational diabetes, but not very many personal stories. So here is my personal take on gestational diabetes, my diet, and diagnose from 11-19 weeks.

Questions about Gestational Diabetes

1. How did you know you had gestational diabetes so early? 

I have a family history of type 2 diabetes so with each of my pregnancies (this is my third) I have been tested in the first trimester as well as at the normal time between 24-28 weeks.

2. Did you have it with your other pregnancies? 

No, this is the first time I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Because this pregnancy is so close to my last one (I became pregnant when my son was 8 months old) I had not lost all much at all of the weight I gained with my son.  My additional weight, along with a family history of diabetes put me at a greater risk of gestational diabetes. Also, although I have no way to go back and confirm this, I am suspicious that I developed high blood sugar at the end of my last pregnancy. I was incredibly swollen and also developed preeclampsia and my son was a high birth weight and had low blood sugar at birth–all symptoms of gestational diabetes. I’ll never know for sure, and hindsight is 20-20, but there are definitely signs pointing to it. Phil-&-Ted-Review

3. What is the gestational diabetes diet like? 

After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes you will meet with a nutritionist and nurse to learn about your gestational diabetes diet and get a blood sugar testing kit. Your dietician will develop a calorie and carbohydrate level for you to reach every meal. This is incredibly personalized and you shouldn’t try to self-prescribe yourself this diet. You can read more about my food choices in my post Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas! For me, my main meals I have a target of 45-60 net carbs (carbohydrates minus fiber) and 15-30 carbs per snack (2-3 snacks per day).  My target calorie level is 2200-2300. I am also not supposed to be eating refined, white carbs, sweets (cookies, cakes, doughnuts, candy, etc.), and foods that are fatty carbs (french fries, potato chips, pizza). I say supposed to because there is a little bit of wiggle room that you figure out as you spend weeks monitoring your blood sugar levels 4 times a day (2 hours after every meal). So for me, I’ve been able to indulge in like, maybe 3 m&ms without any significant change. After NOT having any sweets 3 pieces of candy are so delicious! I talked to my midwife about this as well because the joy has been sucked out of eating with this plan. She encouraged me to have two bites of anything I was really craving. It wouldn’t strongly affect my sugars and will give me a taste without feeling (too) deprived. Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad I also have ate pizza because it’s my favorite thing ever. We just get thin crust (less carbs) and all veggie for me (less fat) and I only eat 2 pieces. If I eat more I know I have to get outside and walk to counteract the effect of the pizza on my blood sugar. Walking helps lower blood sugar so if you eat outside the diet you can do some brisk walking to help make up for it (although you can’t abuse this!!). If you are looking for some way to track your meals, blood sugar levels and mood during pregnancy this is a great Gestational Diabetes Tracker that is FREE when you sign up for my newsletter!
Related: Freezer Food for New Moms
One of my favorite snack choices on the “gestational diabetes diet” is Greek yogurt topped with fruit, nuts, and a Tablespoon of granola! Definitely check out this post on Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas for more info on my diet for Gestational Diabetes!Granola and yogurt parfait

5. Is having Gestational Diabetes hard?

I’d love to sugarcoat (ha!) it for you, but yes, it is hard. Craving a doughnut and knowing it will be months before you can safely eat one sucks! Poking your fingers with a needle 4 times a day is no fun. Loading my 3 year old and 11 month old up in the stroller for a walk around the neighborhood is exhausting. It’s not easy. But it’s not difficult. It’s not heart-breaking. It’s not distressing. gestational diabetes baby Watching my newborn have a blood draw over and over again was heartbreaking.  I was miserable and swollen the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy which was pretty awful too. I don’t want to repeat either of those things!!! I am focusing on the end result of a HEALTHY BABY when I really want to sit down and eat a brownie sundae. (And that’s PRETTY often; I literally have been dreaming about eating carbs lately.) So that’s how things have been going with gestational diabetes part of pregnancy so far! I haven’t had any more checks on me or the baby, but I know that will change as the pregnancy progresses. If you have any other questions please let me know! I’m happy to share my limited experience and I’m grateful to friends who’ve let me pick their brains! Update: Check out Griffin’s Birth Story to see how my pregnancy ended! 
RELATED: Healthy Pregnancy Favorites for workout ideas, fitness gear and other things I LOVE while I’m pregnant!
Gestational Diabetes FAQs - My personal experience with gestational diabetes: diet, menu, exercise feelings, etc. Thanks so much for reading and sharing this post!! I don’t want anyone going through gestational diabetes to feel as alone as I felt! Keep moving forward, -Kate

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  1. I was diagnosed last week with GD and to be honest, I thought the diet would be harder. I have found a happy medium and I know that it’s all about that little baby inside me now! I went for a checkup today and the GD doc told me I actually need to eat more because my numbers are low after my meals… you don’t have to tell me twice! lol – I was put on night time insulin because the fasting numbers are above range but the doc said there isn’t anything you can really.. that’s your body working.

    Good luck! any good recipes – let me know!

    1. Yes! I also wasn’t always eating enough carbs/I go too long between eating (especially breakfast and lunch) and need to plan my snacks better to keep my levels steady. And I’ve heard from a lot of women who have to eventually do insulin, like you said it’s just your body trying to do its best with the little life growing inside you! I need to post my meal plan and favorite recipes soon! Best of luck to you with the rest of your pregnancy! -Kate

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