Changing Your Diet After Gestational Diabetes

Study highlights importance of diet changes after gestational diabetes diagnosis

(RxWiki News) Pregnant women made only small diet changes after a gestational diabetes diagnosis, a new study found.

The researchers behind this study said their findings highlight the importance of making diet changes for gestational diabetes, as well as how health care providers can help.

Some women in this study reduced their intake of added sugars from sources like juice. But these positive changes weren't present among all groups of pregnant women.

Women who had more than one child, had obesity, were between 35 and 41 years old, were Hispanic or did not have a college degree were less likely to reduce sugar intake after a gestational diabetes diagnosis, this research found.

“This research highlights the importance of creating individualized programs to ensure that all women with gestational diabetes are successful at modifying their diet and optimizing their health,” said Dr. Stefanie N. Hinkle, of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in a press release.

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is related to pregnancy. Women who have it are more likely to develop chronic diabetes when they are older. They are also more likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy and to deliver by C-section. Babies of pregnant women with gestational diabetes are more likely to be larger and have low blood sugar.

Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are usually asked to reduce their intake of carbohydrates like sugar. In this study, which looked at 1,371 pregnant women in total, the 72 women with gestational diabetes did limit their daily carb intake by 48 grams on average. They most often did this by reducing the amount of fruit juice they drank and added sugar they consumed. These women also increased their intake of cheese and artificially sweetened drinks (like diet soda) on average.

While reducing carb intake was a positive change in the women with gestational diabetes, the study authors pointed out that this reduction was not the same across different demographics. And there was still room for more improvement across the board.

The study authors called for more research on how to help women with gestational diabetes make effective diet changes.

If you are concerned about your diet or any other aspect of your pregnancy, speak with your health care provider. Do not make major diet changes without first discussing them with your doctor.

This study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Study funding sources included the NICHD and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
May 23, 2021
Last Updated:
June 1, 2021