Can I drink Milk with Gestational Diabetes?

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, affecting approximately 2 to 10 percent of pregnant women. This condition can increase the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby, including preterm labor, high blood pressure, and cesarean delivery. [efn_note][/efn_note]

As such, it is crucial for women with gestational diabetes to carefully manage their diet and nutrition. One common question that arises among women with gestational diabetes is whether or not they can consume milk. While milk is a rich source of calcium and protein, it also contains sugar in the form of lactose. Therefore, some may worry about its impact on blood sugar levels.

In this article, we will explore the benefits and risks of drinking milk with gestational diabetes as well as provide guidance on how much milk to consume and what types are best suited for this condition.

Is it safe to consume milk during gestational diabetes?

The safety of consuming dairy products during gestational diabetes has been a subject of discussion, prompting an inquiry into the potential risks and benefits associated with milk consumption.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Milk can be a valuable source of nutrition for pregnant women and their developing fetuses, as it contains essential nutrients such as calcium and protein. However, due to its lactose content, milk can also raise blood sugar levels in individuals with gestational diabetes, in excess amounts. [efn_note][/efn_note]

To ensure that milk is consumed safely during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women choose low-fat or nonfat milk options rather than full-fat varieties.

Additionally, it is important to monitor blood sugar levels after drinking milk to make sure they do not rise too high.

Pairing milk with other foods like whole grains or protein can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.


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Overall, while there may be some risks associated with consuming dairy products during gestational diabetes, the benefits of incorporating nutrient-rich sources like low-fat or nonfat milk into a healthy diet likely outweigh any potential concerns.

What are the benefits of drinking milk with gestational diabetes?

Consuming a nutrient-rich source that contains calcium, protein, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, and zinc during pregnancy may help with meeting the nutritional needs of both mother and baby while potentially reducing the risk of preeclampsia and improving fetal bone health for those diagnosed with gestational diabetes.[efn_note] [/efn_note]

Drinking milk is a great way to achieve this goal as it provides all these essential nutrients in one beverage. In addition, milk can also help control blood sugar levels by making the drinker feel fuller for longer periods. By incorporating dairy into their diet plan, mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus can manage their glucose levels more effectively as dairy products have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. [efn_note][/efn_note]

Incorporating whole grain products into meals alongside dairy can provide additional benefits for expectant mothers. Whole grains contain fiber which slows down the digestion of carbohydrates in meals leading to steadier blood sugar levels over time. Incorporating whole grains like brown rice or oatmeal into your breakfast meal can aid in better glucose management throughout the day when combined with a glass of milk at breakfast time.

Overall, adding milk and other dairy products alongside whole grain foods to a healthy diet plan can be an easy way to gain many important nutrients while managing blood sugar levels effectively during pregnancy for individuals diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus.

What are the risks of drinking milk with gestational diabetes?

Expectant mothers with elevated blood sugar levels should be cautious about consuming milk due to the potential risks associated with gestational diabetes.

Milk is a good source of carbohydrates, and too much carbohydrate can raise blood glucose levels. This could cause complications for women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, making it important to monitor blood sugar levels after drinking milk. [efn_note] [/efn_note]

Moreover, the high-calorie content in milk can contribute to weight gain during pregnancy. For those trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight during pregnancy, limiting their intake of milk may be necessary.

Additionally, lactose intolerance is a common condition where people have difficulty digesting lactose- a sugar found in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and cramps; therefore, if one has lactose intolerance they may need to avoid milk or choose lactose-free dairy products altogether.

Women who have any concerns regarding the risks associated with drinking milk while having gestational diabetes should consult their doctor for further guidance on how best to manage their dietary choices during pregnancy.

How much milk can I drink with gestational diabetes?

Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is crucial for pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and understanding the appropriate amount of dairy intake can be an important factor in managing blood sugar levels.

In general, pregnant women with gestational diabetes are advised to limit their carbohydrate intake to about 175 grams per day, including carbohydrates from all sources, such as dairy products like milk. [efn_note] [/efn_note]

If you are able to consume milk without raising your blood glucose levels, it is generally safe to drink up to one cup of milk per day. However, it is essential to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly after consuming any dairy product.

If you find that milk elevates your blood glucose levels too much, you may need to avoid or limit its consumption.

Nonetheless, there are other ways of obtaining calcium and protein during pregnancy by eating foods like yogurt or cheese or leafy green vegetables while still adhering to the recommended gestational diabetes diet guidelines.

What type of milk is best for gestational diabetes?

For pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes, selecting low-fat or nonfat milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D can aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Low-fat or nonfat milk has fewer carbohydrates compared to whole milk, making it a better option for managing blood glucose levels.

Additionally, choosing milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D can help fulfill the daily requirements of these essential nutrients during pregnancy.

When selecting milk for gestational diabetes, it’s essential to avoid options with added sugars or artificial sweeteners as they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

If lactose intolerance is also an issue, choosing lactose-free dairy products may be necessary.

Overall, incorporating low-fat or nonfat milk into a well-balanced diet can provide the necessary nutrients while helping to manage gestational diabetes.

What are some other ways to get calcium and protein during gestational diabetes?

Pregnant women diagnosed with high blood sugar levels can obtain calcium and protein from a variety of sources.

While milk is a good source of these nutrients, it may not be the best option for those with gestational diabetes.

Fortunately, there are dairy-free alternatives that can provide ample amounts of calcium and protein to support a healthy pregnancy.

Some excellent dairy-free options include nuts, seeds, leafy greens, lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, salmon, sardines, eggs, and fortified foods like cereal, orange juice, and bread.

These foods offer a range of nutritional benefits and can be easily incorporated into a gestational diabetes diet.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making any major changes to your diet.

They can help you develop an individualized meal plan that meets your specific needs while ensuring optimal health for both you and your baby.


In conclusion, milk can be a safe and beneficial addition to the diet of women with gestational diabetes. It is an excellent source of calcium and protein which are essential for the development and growth of the baby.

However, it is important to be mindful of the amount consumed as excessive intake may lead to an increase in blood glucose levels. Additionally, choosing low-fat or fat-free milk options is recommended as they have lower saturated fat content.

Other sources of calcium and protein such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, tofu, and legumes can also be incorporated into the diet. Overall, with moderation and careful consideration, milk can be a healthy addition to the diet of women with gestational diabetes.

Maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy is crucial for both maternal health and fetal development. So don’t hesitate to add some milk to your daily routine!

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