Planning for Pregnancy
Your doctor or nurse will have explained that it is important for your blood sugar levels to be as near normal as possible at the conception of your baby.
They will be advising you about altering your insulin or tablets to achieve this. You can also help by improving your diet. Altering food intake can help to improve glycemic control.
Eat little and often
Spread your food over three meals with a small snack between each - you may need to make your meals smaller to allow for the extra snacks.
Reduce your intake of sugar
If you have been eating sweets or chocolates, cream/chocolate biscuits or sweet puddings and cakes now is a good time to swap to the lower sugar alternatives (avoid "diabetic" versions as they are no better). Make sure all your drinks are diet or sugar free.
Include some slowly digested carbohydrate foods in your diet wherever possible
These include pasta, lentils, beans, mushy peas, rice, oats and oat based cereals (e.g. Kellogs Common Sense, Oat crispies, no added sugar Muesli, Porridge)
Try to increase the fibre in your diet
This will become more important during pregnancy to prevent constipation. Try bread, chapatti, teacakes, scones, malt loaf and muffins made from wholemeal flour. Remember to drink plenty of sugar free foods e.g. water, diet pops, squash, or tea and coffee without sugar.
Cut down on animal (saturated) fats
Use skimmed or semi - skimmed milk. Change butter to a monounsaturated margarine (e.g. Olive Gold, bertoli, Sainsbury's Butterlicious, Tesco Butter melt, Utterly Butterly). Change lard, dripping or ghee to vegetable, rapeseed or olive oil and choose lean meat avoiding processed burgers, sausages, pastry and pies where possible.
The proportion of foods for a healthy diet are drawn on the plate.
All women are advised to take a daily 400micrograms folic acid tablet before conception and up to week 12 of pregnancy. This is to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida) in the growing baby. Folic acid is usually available from your chemist or supermarket.
If you are overweight, the time to try and lose it, is before you become pregnant. Ask your dietitian for more advice if you are finding weight loss difficult.
When You Are Pregnant
As soon as you know you are pregnant, tell your GP. Your doctor will arrange for an appointment at a diabetic antenatal clinic. You will be seen by both the diabetes team (including the dietitian) and the antenatal team, weekly or fortnightly until your baby is born.
If you have any further questions about food and diabetes and your pregnancy, contact the:
Nutrition and Dietetic Department
St Lukes Hospital Bradford Diabetes Dietitians
Telephone: (01274) 365884