DIET FOR THE PREGNANT WOMAN WITH DIABETES
Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases in which one cannot use or store glucose normally because of inadequate production or use of insulin. This impaired metabolism causes glucose to accumulate in the blood, where it causes numer-ous problems if not controlled.
Some women have diabetes when they become pregnant. Others may de-velop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. In most cases, this latter type disappears after the infant is born; however, there is a 40% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Either type increases the risks of physical or mental defects in the infant, stillbirth, and macrosomia (birth weight over 9 pounds) unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored and maintained within normal limits.
Every pregnant woman should be tested for diabetes between 16 and 28 weeks of gestation. Those found to have the disease must learn to monitor their diets to maintain normal blood glucose levels and to avoid both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
In general, the nutrient requirements of the pregnant woman with diabetes are the same as for the normal pregnant woman. The diet should be planned with a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator because it will depend on the type of insulin and the time and number of injections. Clients with gestational diabetes and diabetic clients who do not normally require insulin to control their diabetes may require insulin during pregnancy to control blood glucose levels. Oral hypo-glycemic agents have also been approved for use during pregnancy. Between-meal feedings help maintain blood glucose at a steady level. Artificial sweeteners have been researched extensively and found to be safe for use during pregnancy.