It used to be that women with Type 2 diabetes were advised not to become pregnant. Thankfully, medical advances mean that women with Type 2 diabetes frequently have healthy pregnancies with some planning and oversight by a qualified doctor.
Preparation for Pregnancy with Type 2 Diabetes
Before getting pregnant, if possible, consult with your OBGYN and endocrinologist to be as healthy as you can before you conceive.
It’s important to keep your blood glucose as close to normal as possible, both before and during your pregnancy. Talk with your doctor(s) about:
- The risk of any diabetes-related complications
- Your medical history and any other potentially complicating medical conditions
- A review of how you manage blood glucose levels
- The level of blood sugar control you need
- Wellness habits and maintaining a healthy weight
- A complete medication review
If you take insulin to help control your blood sugar, it does not cross the placenta (unlike oral medications), so it’s safe to take during pregnancy. In fact, insulin is also used for women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
If you are over your ideal weight, losing weight before getting pregnant increases the chances of controlling weight during pregnancy.
Your OBGYN may advise you to consult with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who works with patients with medical conditions or high-risk pregnancies.
Type 2 Diabetes Pregnancy Nutritional Needs
Talk with your OBGYN and/or maternal-fetal medicine specialist about your particular nutritional needs before starting any meal plan.
Some things to discuss with your doctor include:
- Blood sugar level goals
- Prenatal vitamins
- Weight gain goals
- Foods that are important to avoid
- Daily caloric intake of carbohydrates, fat, and protein
Potential challenges to discuss with your healthcare team also include:
Increased appetite: pregnant women typically have an increased appetite, which is needed to ensure the baby and the mother are getting the nutrients they need. It helps to have a plan to have healthy meals and snacks on hand as your appetite increases.
Insulin resistance: in some cases, glucose levels become more difficult to control as a pregnancy progresses as the hormonal changes in pregnancy can make it challenging to keep glucose levels steady.
Morning sickness: if you are taking insulin, eating regular meals is vital to avoid hypoglycemia. If you experience morning sickness it’s important to have a plan to ensure you are getting enough nutrients throughout the day.
Weight gain or loss: if you are over or under your ideal weight, your diet plan needs to address how to address your pregnancy weight gain needs.
With Type 2 diabetes healthy wellness habits and a healthy diet are always important, but they are especially important during pregnancy.
In addition to a diet that helps to control blood sugar levels, there are additional nutritional habits to take into consideration. A diet rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, protein, and other key vitamins, is especially important.
Type 2 Diabetes Pregnancy Meal Plan
Every pregnant woman will have different nutritional needs, so it’s important to consult with your OBGYN and/or a nutritionist to construct a meal plan that works for you.
The main goals of any type 2 diabetes meal plan are to maintain steady blood sugar levels and control weight gain/loss.
Here is a sample meal plan to help manage diabetes during pregnancy: (Source: Yale Health)
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of fat-free milk
- 4-6 whole wheat crackers
- 1 oz of cheddar cheese
- 1 oz. of cheddar cheese
- 3 oz of turkey with lettuce and tomato
- 1 cup of raw vegetables
- 1 cup of berries
- 1 cup of fat-free milk
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1 small apple
- 3 cups of popcorn
- 4 oz. skinless chicken breast
- 1 medium-sized baked potato
- 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 1-2 tablespoons of salad dressing
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- half of a banana
- 2 tablespoons of nuts
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
Successful Pregnancy with Type 2 Diabetes
The great news is that while it takes careful planning and the support of your healthcare team, it is possible to have a healthy pregnancy with Type 2 diabetes.
The National Institute of Health recommends following these steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy:
Get a checkup: consult with your doctor and/or OBGYN before you become pregnant or as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
Don’t smoke or drink alcohol: every pregnant woman who drinks and/or smokes should stop while pregnant, but alcohol and smoking are especially harmful to the baby for pregnant women with type 2 diabetes.
Consult with a registered dietician/nutritionist: a registered dietician can help you create a meal plan that works with your specific needs, including your food preferences, schedule, medicines, and physical activity level.
Stay active: if medically advisable, it’s important to have a regular exercise routine during your pregnancy to help keep your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol in a healthy range. Physical activity also helps relieve stress, strengthen muscles, and keep your joints flexible.
Are you looking for an OB/Gyn you can trust? Do you live in the Tucson area? Let us partner with you to help you achieve true health and wellness. Call 520.721.8605 to book your appointment today.
- Have a Safe Pregnancy With Type 2 Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes Center – Everyday Health
- Pregnancy if You Have Diabetes | NIDDK (nih.gov)
- Type 2 Diabetes and Pregnancy: Diet, Guidelines, and Complications (healthline.com)
- Sample Meal Plan for Women with Gestational Diabetes | Yale Health
- Diet Planning for Diabetes in Pregnancy (verywellfamily.com)