Pregnancy or gestational diabetes produces increased blood sugar values, which are initially detected during pregnancy. Approximately 10-15% of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, which makes it one of the most frequent complications during pregnancy.
A sugar load test (oral glucose tolerance test oGTT) is performed between the 25th and 28th week of pregnancy in accordance with the pregnancy passport.
Diabetes occurs when the body is not able to produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is formed in the pancreas and regulates the blood sugar balance in the body. Blood sugar provides the body with energy.
Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy lead to an increased insulin requirement for expectant mothers. The blood sugar level rises, resulting in gestational diabetes if the mother’s pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin.
Sugar reaches the foetus via the placenta if the mother has an increased blood sugar level. The foetus responds with increased insulin production. However, the baby’s insulin, in contrast to sugar, cannot bypass the “placenta barrier”. Thus, the heightened insulin level stimulates growth and an increased fat accumulation in the foetus, which leads to oversized and heavy babies.
Most babies by woman with gestational diabetes are born healthy, but this depends on how well the woman implements and adheres to the therapy (diet, insulin substitution).
Gestational diabetes ceases in almost all women immediately after birth. However, 30-50% of women develop type 2 diabetes later on.
Who is part of the risk group?
- An increased risk for gestational diabetes exists in case of:
- Obesity (body mass index over 25)
- Diabetes in the family (parents or siblings)
- Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- African, Asian or Latin American descent
- Women over the age of 30
- Repeated miscarriages
- Premature birth with birth weight over 4000 grams
The most important nutritional tips for women with gestational diabetes:
- Avoid sugary drinks (fruit juice, soft drinks, dilution syrup) or added sugar in drinks (tea, coffee)
- Regularly consume 3 to 4 healthy and balanced meals throughout the day
- Choose bread and side dishes made from whole-grain and be mindful of the designation “whole-grain” on the food label
- Avoid large amounts of highly fatty meat and sausages as well as milk products and cheese (>30% F.i.T.)
- Integrate vegetables and salad in your diet multiple times per day and fruit twice a day
- Chocolate, cake, pastries and sweets are not forbidden. However, these should not be consumed daily and only as a dessert after a main meal.
Nutrition counselling for pregnant women with risk of gestational diabetes:
Nutrition counselling provided by Salzburger Gebietskrankenkasse – Just call or email and arrange a personal appointment: