Making the Right Nutritional Choices for a Healthier Pregnancy. Each year, as many as 10% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, which is associated with preterm birth and developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Hormones from the placenta during pregnancy increase the body’s resistance to insulin. Some insulin resistance is normal during pregnancy, but for some women, the body cannot compensate and glucose builds up in the blood, causing gestational diabetes. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include family history, a BMI of over 30 and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Taking steps to prevent and manage gestational diabetes can help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy and ensure the best outcome for both you and your baby.
Begin Pregnancy at a Healthy Weight
You can work towards lowering risk for gestational diabetes as soon as you start trying to conceive. For many women, losing weight can improve fertility and reduce the chance of complications such as gestational diabetes, as well as sleep apnea, high blood pressure and the need for a C-section. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a common fertility issue, affecting 1 in 10 women. Women who have PCOS often have elevated insulin levels, which impairs ovulation and causes hormone imbalances. A keto diet , which involves consuming only 5% of your calories from carbohydrates, has been shown to effectively reduce insulin levels in women with PCOS. A keto diet also bolsters weight loss by putting your body in a state of ketosis, which helps the body burn fuel more efficiently. This may sound similar to the atkins diet but keto vs. atkins boils down to the amount of protein consumed and the amount of time your body spends in ketosis. A keto diet maximizes the benefits of ketosis to help you lose weight quickly, and the focus on consumption of healthy fats in also improves the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Additionally, supplements containing raspberry ketones can accelerate the process of achieving ketosis and aid in weight loss. Following a keto diet can manage insulin resistance, helping women who are overweight or have PCOS successfully conceive and prevent against gestational diabetes.
Maintain Healthy Weight Throughout Pregnancy
If you’re beginning pregnancy with a BMI that is in the healthy range, aim to gain 25-35 throughout your pregnancy. If you begin pregnancy overweight or obese, your doctor may advise you to gain less weight or not to gain any at all. Gaining excess weight, which happens to around 48% of women during pregnancy, increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Following a healthy eating plan that emphasizes protein and whole foods, while limiting your intake of sugar and processed foods, can help keep your weight gain on track. Protein and fats help keep you full for longer, making you less likely to overeat. Restrictive, crash diet programs are not recommended during pregnancy; it is important to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients for both you and your baby. Exercising regularly is also important for maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy pregnancy.
Limit Sugar and Carbohydrate Intake When Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes
Sometime between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy, your OB-GYN will administer a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. If you’re diagnosed with this condition, you will be advised to take steps towards limiting your sugar intake and will need to monitor your blood sugar throughout pregnancy. While women who are pregnant or nursing should not strictly follow any diet that isn’t recommended by their physician, adapting principals from a low carbohydrate diet can be effective for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing gestational diabetes. If you were following a keto diet before pregnancy, continue to focus on consuming primarily healthy fats and proteins, while limiting processed, sugary foods in your diet. Having the practice of carb counting before pregnancy will make it easier to manage gestational diabetes.
Following a keto diet while trying to conceive can help start your pregnancy at a healthy weight to lower your risk of gestational diabetes and other complications. Adapting keto principles into a healthy eating plan throughout your pregnancy can also help maintain optimal health for both you and your growing baby. Talk to your doctor about making the right nutritional choices for a healthy pregnancy.