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Pregnancy can throw a lot of curveballs your way—morning sickness, Braxton-Hicks contractions, strange cravings—but one development that catches many women by surprise and turns your 40 weeks into a whole new ballgame is the onset of gestational diabetes. The result of high blood sugar in pregnancy, gestational diabetes affects approximately 18 percent of women, according to the American Diabetes Association. There typically aren’t any symptoms associated with gestational diabetes, so you’ll be screened at about 28 weeks for it.
You’re more likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes if you are obese, have had gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy, have a family history of diabetes, or previously gave birth to a large baby (around 9 pounds). To keep your gestational diabetes in check, you’ll need to be even more vigilant about having a healthy diet than you were before. After you give birth, your diabetes is likely to disappear, but recent studies have shown that women who had gestational diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes down the road. Babies born to moms with gestational diabetes are more likely to be bigger at birth, which could cause problems with delivery (or necessitate a C-section).
The better you manage your gestational diabetes, the less likely it is that any problems will occur. For help with a healthy eating plan for your pregnancy and beyond, consider A Better You, Dr. By following a healthy diet and gaining the appropriate amount of weight, you can help prevent high blood pressure and other problems during pregnancy. During your pregnancy, eating a variety of foods is beneficial to meet the needs for you and your baby. To read more about Mercury content in fish and recommendations during pregnancy go to the Food and Drug Administration's website.
Fresh meat, fish, and poultry must be consumed within 48 hours of being purchased or should be frozen.


If you have a special diet need, talk with your doctor or registered dietitian about a healthy diet that is right for you and your baby. For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Why this happens to women who otherwise have no history of diabetes is still being researched, but it likely involves pregnancy hormones blocking the insulin in your body from properly doing its job, which is to help glucose (sugar) become fuel. If your glucose levels are high, you’ll take an additional test to determine your diabetes status. Keeping sugar to a minimum is important, as is eating at regular intervals—no skipping meals! Make sure your doctor screens you for diabetes symptoms as time goes on, and keep up the nutritious eating that was necessary during pregnancy. They’re also at a higher risk for having low blood sugar levels and breathing problems in the first few days of their life. So knock it out of the park with a healthy diet, moderate exercise and following your doctor’s recommendations, and you’ll have a great shot at being home free of any lasting complications to you or your newborn.
Your health care professional will prescribe a daily prenatal vitamin and or other vitamin and mineral supplements to help meet these additional needs.
The Choose My Plate program reminds you that it is important to include foods from all groups to meet the additional needs. For this reason, it is important to choose specific foods from each food group that will supply more vitamins and minerals. Harmful bacteria that can be present on food can cause pregnancy complications and even death of the baby.


UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. If your balanced diet and exercise routine don’t control your diabetes, you may have to take medications or insulin.
Because your baby will store extra fat if you have elevated sugar levels while pregnant, this could lead to a higher risk of being overweight in both childhood and adulthood. These extra calories are needed to reach the recommended amount of weight gain during pregnancy (usually 25 to 35 pounds). The choosemyplate.gov web site includes many resources for you during pregnancy and breastfeeding and also provides guides for feeding for preschoolers and older children. These iron-fortified foods, along with your prenatal vitamin, will help meet the increased iron needs of pregnancy. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. You will need plenty of fluids and approximately 500 additional calories each day during the period of breastfeeding. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. A registered dietitian can help you learn how many servings from each food group you should consume on a daily basis.



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