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HOW TO MANAGE GESTATIONAL DIABETES Gestational diabetes is a common problem for many women. During pregnancy, the body’s metabolism increases the blood sugar to provide nutrition to the baby. In some cases, the blood sugar becomes too high. This can stimulate the baby to grow larger than average, which can cause difficulty during delivery and in the first few days after birth. A woman’s blood sugar can usually be kept in a normal range by making changes in the diet. There are several important points about the diet that can help. 1. The total number of calories eaten each day should be limited. Most women with gestational diabetes should eat no more than 2200 calories per day. 2. The size of each meal should be reduced. This will keep the normal rise in blood sugar after eating to a minimum. 3. The number of meals per day should be increased. By eating small meals every two or three hours, the pregnant woman and her baby will get the nutrients they need, while keeping the blood sugar from rising too high. 4. Fats and carbohydrates should be avoided as much as possible. Foods with high fat or carbohydrate content increase the blood sugar to high levels. Protein (red meat, fish, chicken), vegetables, and salads are the best types of food. Avoid greasy, fried foods and starchy foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, tortillas, etc. It is very important to check your blood sugar four times a day every day. You should check your blood sugar in the morning before you eat breakfast, then again before lunch, before dinner, and before bedtime. You should wait at least two hours after your last meal before checking your blood sugar. You should try to check your blood sugar and eat your meals at the same time every day. For example, you might check your blood sugar at 7 AM, 12 noon, 5 PM, and 9 PM. You could eat your meals at 7 AM, 10 AM, 12 noon, 3 PM, and 6 PM. If these diet changes do not lower your blood sugar enough, you will be prescribed medication to take. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary in order to have normal blood sugar levels.