3. Eat often
Although many women eat healthily during their pregnancy (Snyder calls it “the nine-month motivation”) having diabetes of any type means being extra attentive. Diet alone can control gestational diabetes in about two-thirds of cases, according to Eddie Ryan, MD, director of Diabetes Metabolic Center at the University of Alberta Hospital.
A typical diet is three meals a day, plus three snacks in between, with carbs, protein, and fats at every meal. “Breakfast needs to be particularly small, since it’s the time of day when the hormones of pregnancy increase the blood sugars more,” Snyder says. She suggests one piece of toast (or carb equivalent), compared to two pieces of toast at lunch or dinner, alongside a balanced assortment of vegetables, fruits and dairy products. A bedtime snack is also crucial. “Because women are transferring so much glucose to the fetus, they’re more prone to have low blood sugar if they go for a long period—say, from supper until breakfast the next morning—with nothing to eat,” Snyder explains. Peanut butter and crackers, or a glass of milk with bread and cheese are good options.