Mary Calvagna, MS
diet is an essential part of treating
gestational diabetes. The American Diabetes Association offers these general guidelines:
Keeping track of your day-to-day glucose level is extremely important especially if you are being treated with insulin. Certain things you do can affect your glucose level, including eating and exercising. In addition, as your pregnancy progresses, the placenta releases more of the hormones that work against insulin. Keeping track of your glucose level will allow you and your doctor to determine what treatment, or combination of treatments, works best for you.
You can monitor your glucose level using a glucose monitoring kit. This includes a special device to obtain a drop of blood, which you then test to determine the glucose level. Your doctor will show you how to use the monitoring kit.
To obtain the drop of blood, you may use:
The drop of blood is applied to a chemically treated test strip. Some strips are read visually, meaning that you compare your strip against a color chart provided to determine glucose level. But more often, you will use a glucose meter—a device that reads the test strip and gives you a digital number value—to interpret your results.
If you are on insulin, you may need to test your blood throughout the day. Post-meal glucose is a better predictor of diabetic complications. Therefore, your doctor will ask you to monitor your glucose after eating a meal. Work with your doctor to determine what schedule is best for you.
Most kits provide a record diary so that you can keep track of your results. If not, your doctor may be able to provide you with one. Write down your results right away. Always bring your record diary with you when you visit the doctor. Your glucose levels are a very important component to determining your treatment.
You may be asked to test your urine for ketones. Ketones are produced when your body breaks down fat, instead of carbohydrates, for energy. Large amounts of ketones in the body can lead to a condition called
ketoacidosis, which can be harmful to both you and your developing baby.
When testing for ketones, it is important that you follow the directions carefully and exactly. The kit provides you with individual-use chemically treated strips. Pass the strip through the stream of urine or place it in a container of urine. Compare the strip against a color chart provided to determine if ketones are present.
The best time to conduct the test is in the morning before breakfast and any time your glucose is over 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) [13.3 mmol/L] on the glucose test.
Call your doctor if you have a positive result on the ketone test.
Checking for ketones. American Diabetes Association website. Available at:
http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-for-ketones.html. Updated December 6, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2015.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116237/Gestational-diabetes-mellitus-GDM. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
What I need to know about gestational diabetes. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) website. Available at:
http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/#7. Updated August 2013. Accessed October 7, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
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