Diabetes awareness for pregnant women

November 12, 2011

Melissa Joy Dobbins, a prenatal dietitian for NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, joined us in our ABC7 studio to share important tips for nutrition during pregnancy. talk about nutrition and diabetes during pregnancy.

Dobbins is also a certified diabetes educator and a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

According o Dobbins, pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes, or have been diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy, you can meet with a registered dietitian to help you create a healthy eating plan and learn to count carbohydrates. The tips below are general and do not take into consideration your height, weight, singleton or multiple babies, or other important factors.

To learn more about Diabetes Awareness Month, click here.

"Eating For Two"
This doesn't mean eating twice as much food! You only need about 300 extra calories a day.

Here are snack examples that equal 300 calories:
- 6 oz Yogurt & one-half cup Granola
- 1 and one-half tbsp Peanut Butter & 2 Slices Whole Grain Bread
- 1 oz Almonds (approximately 24) & 1/3 cup Raisins

For a nutrient-rich foods shopping list visit: www.nutrientrichfoods.org/for_health_professionals/pdf/NRShoppingList.pdf

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for you and for your growing baby. Although they make your blood sugar rise, it is important to include carbohydrates in your diet in the right amounts.

Carbohydrates are in these types of foods:
Breads, starches, crackers, cereals, pasta, rice, tortillas, beans, peas, corn, potatoes, fruit, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, ice cream, desserts, candy, honey, syrup, table sugar, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Basic tips on when to eat:
Don't skip meals.
Eat at regular times every day.
Space your meals and snacks evenly throughout the day (about 2-3 hours apart).
A bedtime snack is very important to help stabilize the blood sugars overnight.

Basic tips on how much to eat:
This will vary from person to person, but the American Dietetic Association recommends that pregnant women get at least 175 grams of carbohydrate every day. These carbohydrates should be spread throughout the day for better blood sugar control. Look for "total carbohydrate" on food labels to help you count carbohydrates. Do not look at "sugars" because that does not always include all carbohydrates, such as starches.

An example for the day might be:
Breakfast: 15-30 grams of carbohydrate (avoid milk and fruit at this meal only)
AM Snack: 20-30 grams of carbohydrate
Lunch: 45-60 grams of carbohydrate
PM Snack: 20-30 grams of carbohydrate
Dinner: 45-60 grams of carbohydrate
Bedtime: 30 grams of carbohydrate (plus protein and fat - such as 2/3 cup regular ice cream)

You may also want to:
Avoid juice, regular soft drinks or other sugary drinks, candy, dessert
Limit milk and yogurt to 1 cup portions at one time
Limit rice, beans and pasta to 1 cup portions at one time

To prevent foodborne illnesses such as Listeriosis wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before using them, and do not eat the following foods if you are pregnant:

Unpasteurized ("raw") milk or foods that have raw milk in them
Soft cheeses such as blue, brie, goat or feta, queso blanco or fresco (unless it says "made with pasteurized milk" on the label)
Raw or undercooked meat, poultry or shellfish
Prepared meats such as lunchmeats and hot dogs (unless they are reheated until steaming hot)

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