Natural Help for Gestational Diabetes

I’ve been formally diagnosed with gestational diabetes five times, and twice my doctors just skipped the glucoseControl gestational diabetes naturally tolerance test, instead asking me to monitor my blood sugar just as if I was “officially” diagnosed.  Ironically, my one baby that I passed the GTT and did not have blood sugar problems was my biggest baby, at 8 lbs. 3 oz.  All of my other babies were 8 lbs. or less.

Fortunately, each time I was able to control my sugars without using insulin.  I use a combination of supplements and diet, and that seems to work for me and my body.

With my first baby, I was given the official diabetic diet of interchanges (a food is worth 1 fat, and 2 carbohydrate/starches, for example).  This diet did not work for me at all.  It was inconvenient, complicated, and did not lower my readings.  So I began researching other dietary plans.

Please note I am sharing *my* story, and please work with your health care provider to monitor and control your blood glucose.  Do NOT stop taking insulin because you read something on the internet, please!

Keep a food journal. Everybody is slightly different, and a food journal is the key to discovering which foods have a dire effect on your blood sugar.  Write down what you eat and what you ate it with, grouping your journal around meals rather than a straight list.

Measure your food.  It’s especially important to know how much of which foods you are eating.  You can get an inexpensive food scale, or just use basic kitchen measuring cups and spoons.  For example, instead of using a serving spoon to scoop mashed potatoes onto your plate, use a 1/2 c. measuring cup.

As you begin to learn which foods your body turns straight to sugar, and which foods help regulate it, you can begin the next step: food combining.

Eat carbs, but eat them with fiber, fat, and protein.  Go ahead and have a sandwich for lunch, but make sure it’s turkey on double fiber or whole wheat bread with some cheese.  Eat an apple, but spread it with peanut butter.

Watch the white stuff. Sugar isn’t your only enemy.  What you really need to look out for are high glycemic foods- foods which your body can quickly and efficiently turn into glucose.  Refined flour falls in this category, as do white potatoes and white rice.  Juice, even 100% fruit juice, is like diabetic poison and will probably shoot your blood sugar through the roof.  Many women find using and experimenting with bean flours, instead of baking and cooking grains, to be helpful.

Using a food journal, I discovered that I could eat a baked potato with the skin (fiber), sour cream, bacon, and real butter (fat, protein) with a meal and I would be OK.  French fries on their own would cause me to have elevated blood sugars for hours.

Exercise will help reduce high blood sugars and help keep things even.  Of course you won’t be doing aerobics, but even taking walks or playing with the kids can be beneficial.  Check with your doctor or midwife for recommended prenatal exercise programs.

L-Carnitine can be useful for diabetics. It’s an amino acid, but I couldn’t find info on whether it has been safety tested for safety during pregnancy; however, two different OBs told me it was safe.  I usually take 1000 mg twice a day.

Cinnamon has been shown in some studies to lower blood sugars.  You can eat it, or buy supplements.

Eat more, but spread it out.  5-6 small meals (with fiber and protein) are better that 3 large ones.

Tip: if your morning/fasting blood sugars are high, you might consider eating a high-protein bedtime snack.  Sometimes the elevated reading is because it’s been so long since your body had fuel – and pregnancy causes such high demands- that your body starts scavenging glucose from other sources, such as fat stores.  Adding a snack at night might help lower your early morning sugars.

If you continue keeping a food journal, and compare it to your blood glucose records, you should be able to see patterns developing which will help you tweak your diet for the best success.

Linking up!

I love comments. Tell me what you think!

  • Kristin December 21, 2010, 11:12 pm

    The 1600 calorie diet that the “nutritionist” tried to put me on with my youngest was a big old boatload of fail. I just about drove myself nuts trying to keep up with it and I was a wreck because I.wanted.to.eat. The oh so very sympathetic nursing service told me that unless I was throwing ketones that there was no way I was starving, and I should just suck it up since I needed to lose weight anyway.

    Yeah, at that point, I hadn’t gained any weight with my pregnancy, and I was like 28 weeks.

    I told them to lose my number and started faking my numbers for my ob.

    Ahem.

    Reply
  • Nicole December 22, 2010, 7:23 am

    Shots of apple cider vinegar (real ACV, not Heinz brand which is the wrong PH) can also balance things if you’ve accidentally had too much refined carb. It’s bad for your teeth, but works pretty quickly.

    Reply
  • sprittibee December 22, 2010, 9:46 am

    I just got diagnosed last week. I’m in the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy, so I hope that eating right will do some good. My last baby was delivered per my BEGGING the doctor 2 weeks early (Thank God I KNEW that he was over 9lbs. because she was insisting he was 8 and said I was doing it against her advice). I probably would have had an emergency C or even might have lost him due to fetal distress if I had gone to term. I suspect I had GD back with his pregnancy and even possibly late in my second one, too.

    I’m not on insulin or pills as of yet, but I am having trouble keeping regulated within their limits (my fasting numbers are NOT below 95 – closer to 110′s and I have learned that juice and most carbs will spike me). I’ve had some 190′s, 160′s and even a 225 in the past 4 days even though I have been EXTREMELY good about what I am eating. So much that I have a massive “sugar detox” headache right now and have lost 4 lbs in 4 days.

    All this to say that I have been on the verge of just calling and accepting the pills so that I can enjoy a few carbs without fear… brown rice and whole grains seem to elevate my numbers even though I am eating no other sugar and completely free of ‘whites’. I have one more day before the holidays to decide if I want to accept the pills or go it alone through the “valley of the shadow of dessert” this Christmas.

    I’d love to chat with you more through email! Please email me if you have time to share some more tips or ideas on what I can eat. It is overwhelming at first… and being pregnant, there have been tears.

    Reply
  • Meredith December 23, 2010, 5:40 pm

    Great tips! I remember when you shared some encouragement with me during my last pregnancy. It really helps to see someone who has been through this so many times!

    I am on insulin for the last 6 weeks of this pregnancy, and it is SO much better than diet and exercise controlled for me! For one, I’m no longer exhausted and hungry all day, and even though the shots are a pain, the energy is worth it. I still have to avoid most carbs, all sugar, and continue to exercise in order to keep fasting sugar under 95 and after meals under 120, though.

    Reply
  • Milehimama December 23, 2010, 5:58 pm

    Hi Meredith!
    Everyone’s body is different and every pregnancy is different. I’m glad you’re feeling better! Is there anything worse than feeling like you’re starving but wondering if you dare eat lest you hurt the baby? Guilt PLUS hunger is the pits!

    Reply
  • Rachel December 25, 2010, 5:25 am

    I had a VERY mild case of GD when I was pregnant with ds. While I was easily able to control it with diet (my sugars were only ever abnormal during the 3-hour test), I did learn that just following the diet doesn’t necessarily work. In my case, my glucose would shoot up if I drank cold milk. I could eat cake on an empty stomach. I could have instant pudding. I could have hot chocolate. But NO COLD MILK–which I craved. Whole milk was a little better, as the sugars in it were more diluted than with low-fat, but it still did strange things to my numbers.

    The point is that what makes your glucose rise can be very individualized, so it’s important to keep an eye on what does it for you rather than just follow the diet guidelines (which are a good starting point).

    Reply
  • Milehimama December 25, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Rachel,
    That’s exactly why I think keeping a food journal (that you can compare to your glucose log) is so important. With one of my kids flour tortillas would make it go crazy high – but white rice wouldn’t.

    Reply
  • Mary M December 25, 2010, 2:24 pm Reply
  • Mary M December 25, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I remember when I was pregnant all i wanted to eat was dill pickles rolled in bread.
    marybug2@yahoo.com

    Reply
  • Jenny March 29, 2011, 5:57 am

    Natural treatment is very effective as compare to any other way because I have seen the natural treatment effect on mine friend’s mother. She was almost lost 53 lbs when 80% treatment gets over. This is only happen because of perfect diet and regular exercise. If you not take care about your diet then diabetes is very dangerous but you can fight and get control if you have proper diet.

    Reply
  • King Richard January 29, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Funny… you write “Go ahead and have a sandwich for lunch, but make sure it’s turkey on double fiber or whole wheat bread with some cheese.”
    You then follow that in the next paragraph with ” What you really need to look out for are high glycemic foods- foods which your body can quickly and efficiently turn into glucose. Refined flour falls in this category, as do white potatoes and white rice. ”
    Having recently finished the book WHEATBELLY, I learned, shocking as it may be, that Whole Wheat Bread is the biggest Glycemic index bandit. We have all been brain washed into thinking WHOLE WHEAT means healthy… when it actually means “Insert Diabetes HERE”.
    You would be better off eating WHITE BREAD than Whole Wheat anything. In fact you could eat 2 tablespoons of regular refined white sugar and still not reach the glycemic index of 2 slices of Whole Wheat Toast.
    I would suggest reading WHEATBELLY to teach you what actually causes diabetes… and how you can prevent it.

    Reply
  • Tanesha May 24, 2013, 6:43 am

    Thank you for all of the helpful information I truly appreciate it.

    Reply

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Desperately thrifty mom of 9, sharing my frugal tips, easy shortcuts, recipes, and thoughts on natural living and real food.

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