What is the Best Diabetic diet during Pregnancy for Indians?

Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Diabetes during pregnancy can have two major forms. Either it can be gestational diabetes which develops particularly during diabetes and doesn’t have any past history or it can be ongoing diabetes of type 1 or type 2 with which the person is already diagnosed and that further creates the need for more intense care throughout the term.

In India, people mostly have meals rich in carbohydrates and less in protein. Contrary to this, an ideal diabetic diet during pregnancy should be more in proteins and less in carbohydrates, that is why Indian women need to put special emphasize on the kind of food they eat during pregnancy. This proportion gets even worse in rural areas. The prevalence of gestational diabetes in India is somewhere between 15% – 40%, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh being major contributors every year. Now that is something to worry about and all these poor ratios directly correspond with improper diet and lack of other healthy habits in expectant mothers.

Complications linked with diabetes during pregnancy

If a woman is already suffering from diabetes, her concerns bloom up as pregnancy puts more demand on the body for healthier nutrients and increased stamina.

On the other hand, the majority of women are likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy duration itself somewhere between 24 – 30th week. Gestational diabetes arises when the body’s insulin production is not enough to counterbalance with placental hormones. To give you a better illustration of the problem, the placenta is an organ that specifically develops during pregnancy and forms a bridge between the developing fetus and your body.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Apart from its major functions of providing blood, oxygen and essential nutrients, it does produces some hormones necessary for good growth and development of the fetus. As the baby grows, the placenta produces more and more hormones and ultimately, a stage comes when these hormones of placenta surpass the amount of insulin triggering a rise in blood sugar levels.


Here is the basic synopsis of the complications that may occur as a result of gestational diabetes :

  1. Miscarriages – the condition which is the worst nightmare for every mother but however, the truth is that high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can cause birth defects, miscarriage, and severe other complications.
  2. Macrosomia – babies born to diabetic women are bigger in size and possess more weight, a condition called “macrosomia“. As mothers have high sugars in their bodies, their babies also acquire excessive sugar through the placenta. This stimulates the baby pancreas to produce more insulin and excess of sugar is absorbed by cells of the liver and entire body converting them into fats and it is a well-known fact that more the amount of fat in the body, more will be the weight of the body.
  3. Need for cesarean delivery – such kind of babies will be too large to be delivered through the birth canal. Consequently, normal delivery is not possible and doctors go with the decision of performance cesarean or C-section delivery.
  4. Premature delivery – early births or premature deliveries are other common conditions linked with gestational diabetes. Doctors also recommend it as when normal delivery through the birth canal can not be possible due to the larger size of an infant.
  5. Respiratory disorders – lungs aren’t mature enough and strong which makes breathing difficult for newborn babies. Doctors assist the newly born with extra care and medication.
  6. Hypoglycemia – babies born to women with diabetes are more often prone to low blood sugar levels after parturition, probably because their insulin levels are already much higher. Intravenous intake of glucose is recommended by doctors under such situations.
  7. Shoulder dystocia – this is when the baby sustains several injuries during labor because the head of the infant gets stuck inside the mother’s pelvic region. The most affected area is the collar bone of the baby.
  8. Type 2 diabetes – babies born to mothers suffering from diabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes in their later life.

Prevention and control of diabetes during pregnancy 

Women with pre-existing type 1/type 2 diabetes as well as those with gestational diabetes can still have healthy and smooth pregnancies provided that they persuade the strict adoption of all necessary measures and medications as instructed by their specialists and dieticians.

Gestational diabetes generally develops around the 24th week of pregnancy yet to substantiate the good health of mother and child, doctors conduct all the compulsory tests as a part of the prenatal care plan. Increase your visits and consult your physician more often during the gestation term even when you feel comfortable because sometimes the symptoms appear delayed but our small careless acts can cost us a lot. Be extra alert if you are meeting any of the following criteria;


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  • Age greater than 25
  • Family history of someone developing similar issues during their pregnancy
  • You are obese or have more weight than usual

The risk of gestational diabetes increases four folds under the above-mentioned factors. Make sure you are able to abolish all such things or else be well-prepared for crucial health precautions for your pregnancy period.

The symptoms that appear are common as in type 2 diabetes, for instance, you will feel thirsty more repeatedly with regular trails of nausea, vomiting, headache, and frequent urination follows. If you have increased blood sugar, then there is a fair probability that you will be having high blood pressure too, particularly during the pregnancy term. Preeclampsia is when pregnant women suffer from high blood pressure accompanied by protein deficiency, change in vision, fierce headaches extending the threat to malfunctioning of organs like kidney and liver.

Doctors preferably execute with HbA1c test to check for diabetes during the gestation period as this accurately gives an overview of blood sugar of body over the time period of the preceding three months. Some more inclusions can be made towards successful monitoring of hyperglycemia in expectant mothers;

  • Turn on to healthy food low in saturated fats and calories to curb obesity and blood sugar spikes
  • Eat more of fruits rich in fiber and green leafy vegetables
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily. If you find it troublesome to continue for 30 minutes then take regular breaks in between the short term workouts. Even simple deep breathing mediation therapy is a promising therapy to alleviate your health.
  • Weight management is the key to governing your blood sugar levels, especially during pregnancy. Although weight loss is something not considered for expecting women you may have to lose some calories if you are already obese or overweight to lessen the chances for the arrival of further complications.
  • Consult the doctor as early as possible while diagnosis for other childcare check-ups.

Ideal diet for diabetic Indians during pregnancy

People with diabetes require continuous medication and spanning of disease with a perfectly balanced diet coupled with good humor and a healthy mind. Only then, diabetes can be triumphantly controlled by the patient. The conditions get more convoluted when diabetes synergizes pregnancy. Now, obviously, the body will demand extra care and nutrition to cope up with the multifarious changes happening in the physiological system of human beings. Each and every expectant woman must know about all that to indulge as well as what to eradicate from the diet.

Get a glimpse of the best nutrients and food to perfectly satiate your diabetic needs during pregnancy.

Folic acid more commonly known as vitamin B9 is a vitamin with multiple benefits the body requires for healthy growth and development. If you consume it during your term, it will protect your baby from neural tube defects, therefore, you must add it to your diet chart.

folic acid Diabetic diet during Pregnancy

Additional protein demand is put forward by the body to maintain the hormonal imbalances and a lot of other biological phenomena happening in the body at the time of expectancy. Normally, your body demands 60 grams of protein a day but this amount is further extended to 80 grams per day in pregnant women. An additional 20 grams of protein is going to play a significant role in providing you the strength to survive the changes your body is going through. These changes prominently consist of the widening of the uterus, strengthening of the myometrium to carry the baby inside the womb, development of mammary glands, proper functioning of glands which synthesize and secretes essential hormones for favorable pregnancy.

Milk, pulses, kidney beans, legumes, and lentils are excellent sources of proteins, especially vegetarians. Non-vegetarians can go for seafood as well. Besides, protein has the remarkable property of curbing the postprandial rise in blood sugar levels which makes them the most dominant nutrient to inculcate in pregnancy diet charts.

Switch to complex carbohydrates rather than simple and refined ones.

Some of you might not be aware that carbohydrates also come in compositional variations among them. Complex carbohydrates are just like strings of myriad sugar molecules bundled together as long entangled chains. These carbohydrates are appreciably good to eat for controlling hikes in blood sugar levels as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibers much exclusively needed by the body. Instead, simple and refined carbohydrates accelerate the blood sugar to threatened aspects. He best sources of complex carbohydrates are peas, whole grains, vegetables, millets, and beans.

Never skip meals because this can make you obese. Also, do not eat too many calories at once. Divide your calories among the interval of three meals appropriately and make sure you are not eating more carbohydrates than the permitted amounts.

Orange Diabetic diet during Pregnancy

Low Glycemic Index (GI) foods with value no more than 50 should be given preference. These can be whole-grain cereals (not starch cereals), vegetables like peas and raw carrots, fruits such as apples, oranges, and strawberries.

Unsaturated fats are deemed as the most healthy type among all the fats. These assist the body to meet the extra burden which pregnancy and diabetes together impose on you providing you sufficient stamina and energy. After all, fats are known to be a storehouse of energy and provide strength in times of emergency and long term needs. To get enough of unsaturated fats, eat nuts, olive oil, avocados, and peanut oil.

Diabetic diet during Pregnancy

Must have bedtime snacks as a part of the diabetes management routine. You might be wondering why doing this is so important? This is to curtail the crisis of low blood sugar levels in the morning literally termed as ” Somogyi effect” for which the reasons are not so apparently known. The most suitable bedtime snacks list encompasses milk, fruits, nuts, cucumber slices, roasted chickpeas, sugar-free Greek yogurt, popcorns, boiled eggs, and apples. 

Foods to avoid for diabetes during pregnancy

Refined carbohydrates need to be entirely eradicated out of your diet chart for better health management. These are extremely hazardous for people with any type of diabetes. Highly processed foods, ketchup, alcohols, and fast foods are some potential foods containing such undesired carbohydrates.

Starchy foods are another unwholesome diet for the same problem. Rigidly distant away potatoes, white bread, white rice, and pasta.


Eatables with extra added sugars which possibly are cakes, biscuits, puddings, pies, candies, soda and of course, readymade juices for which we often have cravings but right at this moment health is more important than anything else not just for yourself but also for the sake of your young one which is perhaps the incredibly valuable to you.

Concluding words

Diabetes is becoming an ever-increasing disease day by day grudging numerous victims each year. Moreover, diabetes during pregnancy is even more deplorable situation. All the medications and remedies need to be doubled up to meet the heightened burden raised by pregnancy bonded with the disease. As far as talking about diabetic diet during pregnancy, particularly for Indians, they need to improve a lot upon their diet primarily when we know that rice is the staple food of the majority of people here but this rice is something not at all an adequate choice for diabetics.

A lot of more refinements are needed for precisely tracking and tackling diabetic impediments during pregnancy. A healthy diet through balanced regular meals integrated with continual exercises and checkups along with other medications will altogether help to conquer the difficulty. The bottom line is that women with diabetes can definitely have hurdle free pregnancies once they retain correct insights of the problem so that they can be prepared in advance and follow all the right measures in a disciplinary intact manner.

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