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Eating during pregnancy

Your eating patterns are especially important now, since you want to control blood glucose levels and also assure that both you and your baby are getting adequate nutrition during your pregnancy.

If you weren't already following a personalized meal plan as part of your diabetes self-management program, then it is vitally important that you do so now.

Your diabetes educator or a dietitian can help you with this. If you already have a good meal plan, you will need make some changes to accommodate the increased nutritional needs for the baby.

Some of these changes are:

•  Your calorie requirement will increase by about 300 calories a day over what you needed before you became pregnant.
•  You will need about 30 grams more of protein a day -- that's about the equivalent of one serving of meat or fish.
•  To maintain normal blood glucose levels, you'll have to be sure to get enough carbohydrates in the morning.
•  Snacks will be important, and should probably include a complex carbohydrate (such as whole-grain bread) and a protein (such as meat or cheese). It's more important than ever not to skip meals or snacks, since that can lower blood glucose to dangerous levels. If you are having morning sickness, let your doctor know about it. If you have trouble eating three large meals a day, split your daily food into six or eight smaller ones, regularly spaced and carefully planned.

Diet and exercise

Consult your dietitian before you get pregnant. Your dietitian can help tailor your caloric needs to your recommended weight gain. It’s normal to gain 22 to 32 pounds during pregnancy. Women who get pregnant while very thin may be advised to gain more, while those who are overweight may be advised to limit weight gain to 15 pounds. Continue taking folic acid, iron, calcium and other vitamins. Consider ketone testing every morning to let you know if you’re getting the right amounts of carbohydrate and insulin. To maintain tight control, it often helps to eat five or six small, snack-like meals a day instead three major meals. Small meals can also help with the nausea of pregnancy. (It’s often called "morning sickness" but it can strike at ant time of day.

If you experience nausea: Keep starchy but low-fat snacks close at hand: crackers, pretzels, or rice or popcorn cakes.

Eat if you begin to feel nauseous

To prevent early morning nausea, it often helps to ear a mini-meal around bedtime: a sandwich, a bowl of soup, or a fruit salad. Keep exercising during your pregnancy. Take walks, swim, or do yoga, but nothing too strenuous or high-impact.
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