Can I drink Milk with Gestational Diabetes?

To know if milk can be consumed in gestational diabetes, it is important to understand the concept of gestational diabetes.

Let us have a brief look on the mechanism of gestational diabetes :

Diabetes is the condition where there is high blood sugar levels in the body. Here the body either fails to produce enough insulin or fails to use the available Insulin thoroughly and efficiently for the normal functioning of the body. Insulin plays an effective role as it helps to absorb the glucose present in the bloodstream by the cells to produce energy for the proper functioning of the body. As in diabetes due to improper functioning of insulin the glucose gets accumulated in the body leading to risk factors .

Diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy is termed as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed by a glucose tolerance test. If gestational diabetes is untreated it could lead to many complications to the infant and to the maternal body.

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes is usually done in the later pregnancy .i.e. between the 24th week and 28th week of gestation. This is because the placenta starts producing more and more hormones that interfere with the mother’s insulin, that is making the maternal body insulin resistant.

 

  • Various factors raise the risk of a pregnant woman of developing gestational diabetes such as:
  1. Overweight,
  2. Prediabetes,
  3. Family history of type 2 diabetes i.e. brother or sister having type 2 diabetes,
  4. Over age of 25,
  5. Baby who was stillborn
  6. Baby weighing more than 4 kilograms or
  7. Polycistric ovarian syndrome.

 

Accumulation of blood glucose in the body or untreated gestational diabetes can lead to :

  • Excessive birth weight of the baby,
  • The mother having low blood pressure after birth,
  • Baby having Jaundice after birth.
    Thus, it becomes important to pay extra attention to women with gestational diabetes.

During pregnancy the normal range of glucose level in the body is found to be either below 7.8mmol/D or less than 100mg/DL. Before fasting. Anything greater than 11.0mmol/D or greater than 149mg/DL is termed as gestational diabetes.

To maintain a healthy pregnancy with gestational diabetes a healthy and strict diet plays a key role in achieving a healthy and safe pregnancy, along with regular exercises as it can help reduce blood sugar. All the nutrients that are to be provided to the maternal body and infant should be through natural foods only and not processed.

During gestational diabetes it is very important to know what foods spike up the mothers blood sugar level, for this the blood sugar levels need to be monitored regularly before and after every meal, also it is wise to measure the portion of intake of meal and of all the contents present In the meal before consuming so as to know which food when consumed in which quantity rises the blood sugar levels in the maternal body, if the meal involves any such food that spike up the blood sugar level it is advisable to cut down that particular food or is to be substituted with other nutritious food.

 

  • One of the important question that arises is that :If milk can be consumed during gestational diabetes

Milk has it’s own nutritional value that benefits the maternal body and the infant during gestation but for a woman with gestational diabetes it is important to balance the carbohydrate intake throughout the gestation in order to have a healthy pregnancy, intake of carbohydrates should be taken in limited proportions so as to avoid rise in blood sugar levels .

The minimal grams of carbohydrates that can be consumed for a woman with gestational diabetes in a day is 30 to 45 grams for meals and 15 to 30g for snacks.

Milk contains nearly 4.8grams of carbohydrates in the form of lactose, lactose is a natural sugar that provides energy to the body .

Therefore for a woman with gestational diabetes it is necessary to measure the carbohydrate intake throughout the day.

One glass of milk sums up to nearly 15g of carbohydrates therefore if one glass of milk is to be consumed the rest carbohydrate intake is to be spread throughout the day, drinking too much milk at once can spike the blood glucose level instantly, therefore it is advisable to consume only one glass of milk per day balancing the intake of other carbohydrate content for the day.

It is also necessary to consume carbohydrates per day so as to provide energy to the body, therefore it is necessary to supply the body with its carbohydrate content. Depriving the body of carbohydrate is not advisable rather a balance needs to be maintained between, excessive carbohydrates intake that could spike up the glucose level in the body and between the carbohydrates intake required by the body. The amount of intake of carbohydrates and the time of intake usually depends on various factors such as; how often you feel hungry, the intensity of your hunger i.e. how hunger you get, blood sugar levels in the body.

Every women’s body is different from the other. Therefore the diet and body type also effects the nutritional value and benefits of milk consumed from woman to woman. Also the rise In blood sugar on consumption of milk may also differ based on factors such as; age, weight medical history and previous pregnancies.

There are various types of milk in the market that can be consumed such as ; soy milk, skimmed milk. Whole milk can be substituted with soy milk or skimmed milk. Although the carb content is same in both skimmed milk and whole milk the fat content and calories content varies, whole milk contains more fat and calories when compared to skimmed milk.

Almond milk is not a carbohydrate source and can help to limit the carbohydrate intake at a particular meal. But it is necessary to pick the unsweetened varieties of these milk in the market to control the carbohydrate intake .

Completely cutting down of carbohydrates is not recommended because the body requires energy for the normal functioning rather selecting a meal with carbohydrate that does not spike up the blood glucose level, should be consumed along with combinations consisting of proteins and fat.

The pregnancy hormones are at its peak, increasing the resistance of insulin making it harder for the body to handle carbohydrate intake in the morning therefore, consumption of milk and other carbohydrate intake should be avoided in the morning and before bed.

Caffeine alone can slightly increase blood sugar level ,therefore coffee is not advisable.

For a woman without gestational diabetes two to three glasses of milk per day is beneficial for the developing infant and maternal body as it provides calcium which is beneficial for the maternal body but for a woman with gestational diabetes the same is not advisable, direct consumption of large quantity of milk at once can spike up the blood glucose level due to the carbohydrate content of milk also this can also exceed the limit of carbohydrate intake for the day.

It also recommended to replace foods with higher glycaemic index by food with lower glycaemic index, but eating of too much of food with low glycaemic index can also cause blood sugar levels to spike.

During gestational diabetes the intake of sugary foods and drinks rich in carbs have to be limited because these spike up blood sugar levels quickly. The carb content should be spread thoroughly throughout  the day.

It is necessary to check on the fat intake too for a woman with gestational diabetes.

Although fats do not contain carbohydrates, they are very calorific so to manage the weight its wise to keep fat intake low.
Hydrating the body efficiently at regular intervals is also very important as this to drains out the excess sugar present in the bloodstream.

Milk has its own nutritional value and is necessary for every woman to consume it during gestation as it is necessary for the right nourishment of the infant, but every women’s body type is different therefore the effects also differ.

To know if milk is safe for consumption for a women with gestational diabetes it is recommended to monitor the blood glucose level before drinking one glass of milk and 1 hour after drinking one glass of milk , one glass of milk contains nearly 15g of carb so if there is any instant rise in blood sugar it is advisable to meet an endocrinologist and obstetrician to avoid any complications.

But for a women with gestational diabetes drinking excessive milk is not advisable due its carbohydrate content as this could spike the glucose level in the body rather one glass of milk per day is considered to be safe and healthy for the infant and the maternal body to meet its daily need of carbohydrate and nourishment.

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