What is the difference between a Gestational Diabetic and Type 2 Diabetic?
Most of us are familiar with the term “Type 2 Diabetic”. There are three major types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes happens when the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas are destroyed. This really has nothing to do with the consumption of sugar. Type 2 Diabetes is the result of the insulin in the body not being able to properly process ingested foods that break down into sugar in the blood. Those individuals with Type 2 Diabetes often develop this disease because it runs in their family. Eating more sugar than the body can handle causes a gain in weight and the chances of developing this disease are then increased.
There is another type of diabetes which develops during pregnancy. This is called Gestational Diabetes. Women who do develop Gestational Diabetes while pregnant probably did not have a pre-existing form of Diabetes. During pregnancy there is a change in hormones, especially in the placenta which is the channel the body uses to transfer nutrients from the body of the mother to the fetus. Gestational Diabetes is when the sugar or glucose levels in the blood are too high. The foods you eat and the things you drink are broken down in the body to glucose which is simple sugar. When insulin levels are normal the glucose is used and stored as energy. When the body is unable to handle the sugar in the blood it cannot be turned into energy and the result is diabetes or high blood glucose.
The difference between Diabetes Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes is that the hormones in the pregnant woman cause something called ‘insulin resistance’. As the pregnancy progresses the hormones increase and so does the insulin resistance which means the pancreas is not able to handle the glucose in the blood because sufficient insulin is not being produced. If the Gestational Diabetes is not treated or properly diagnosed the baby will not get diabetes but it will gain too much weight because it is producing too much insulin. If this happens a premature delivery may be the result which can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. In most cases the mother’s body will stabilize after the birth of the child. Unfortunately this does leave her at risk in later years of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan
Balanced meals with portion control are important on the Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan. During pregnancy it is extremely important that the mother gets enough nutrients – minerals, vitamins, protein and calcium plus good fats to promote good health for both her and her growing infant.
The diet needs to be balanced along with the exercise and medication to control the Gestational Diabetes. Although scientists and researchers have careers in finding a cure for any type of diabetes there is still no real cure for the disease. Until there is, controlling the effects of diabetes with diet, exercise and possibly medication is still the best method. Treatment means keeping a regular check of the levels of sugar in the blood and adjusting food intake and medication as needed. During pregnancy this is especially important because as the fetus grows the insulin needs will change.
High fiber foods should be a big part of the diet plan including cereals, rice, whole grain breads, and vegetables and of course fruits. In the case of morning sickness one or two servings of things like pretzels, cereal or crackers before even getting out of bed and then eating small but frequent meals during the day will help control the glucose in the blood. Keep close check on blood sugar levels as morning sickness may be caused by low blood sugar and will need to be treated. At breakfast time the insulin resistance will be the most intense so breakfast should consist of fewer carbohydrates. Drinking water each day is important and should be at least 8-8oz glasses. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamins is also very important for those with Gestational Diabetes. Vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and iron enriched foods need to be a big part of the diet plan. The best way to insure the consumption of the best foods for diabetics is to follow an expertly designed Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan.
Ready to learn more about how you can make the most of your pregnancy and eating plan? We have the right information here on this site in our Gestational Diabetes Diet Hub. Learn more.