3 Myths About Gestational Diabetes

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Gestational diabetes can seem really scary, especially if you feel unsupported, have a difficult relationship with food, or have a lot of life stressors that make managing your blood sugar feel impossible. I’m here to take away a little of that fear for you with a little myth-busting! Here’s 3 myths about gestational diabetes and some truths to ease your worries.

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  1. Women with gestational diabetes can’t have carbs

In this crazy storm of a low-carb/keto trend, many women (and unfortunately even some medical professionals) believe carbs should be avoided as much as possible to control their blood sugar in pregnancy. The truth is, every pregnant person needs carbs to both thrive as an independent human and also to grow a healthy baby - even if they have diabetes. This is especially the case in the first trimester when carb needs are a little higher and nausea makes it difficult to keep much down besides simple-tasting starchy foods.

Avoiding carbs will likely lead to fatigue, inability to focus, possibly dangerously low blood sugars, and increased carb cravings that can result in binging or feeling out of control around food. The trick here is how you eat carbs - eating consistently throughout the day, pairing up carbs with protein, fat, and fiber, and engaging in joyful movement can have a tremendous impact on your blood sugar.

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2. You can’t have fruit at breakfast if you have gestational diabetes

This myth comes from the idea that a combination of natural hormone cycles that compensate for overnight fasting and help you wake up in the morning can lead to higher morning blood sugars for people with gestational diabetes. For some people, this makes it harder for them to tolerate a carb-heavy breakfast. However, choosing higher fiber whole fruits like berries, and pairing them up with more fiber, protein, and fat from foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help your body process these carbs really well. Recent research shows there is nothing special about fruit that makes it worse for your morning glucose than any other food that has carbs - checking your blood glucose before and after breakfast can help you learn how your body responds to eating these nutritious and delicious foods.

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3. Intuitive Eating isn’t possible if you have gestational diabetes

Intuitive Eating is a fabulous frame of reference for medical nutrition therapy; I integrate principles of Intuitive Eating while looking at current nutrition research to help my clients optimize both their physical health and their relationship with food. This can get nuanced - it is not in the least bit easy to tune into hunger, fullness, and cravings when you’re worried about how the food you eat will affect your baby. But, this balance is possible. Gentle Nutrition is the 10th principle of Intuitive Eating after all! With a little guidance, you can eat to promote balanced blood sugar without feeling like you have to follow a strict diet during pregnancy. Ice cream is allowed :)

Are you confused about your gestational diabetes? Did your doctor put you on a diet that doesn’t feel realistic, leaves you unsatisfied, or makes you feel guilty? Click here to schedule a free 15-minute Discovery Call and see how we can work together to help you master managing your diabetes in pregnancy.