While we all benefit from eating well, during pregnancy this becomes even more important. Your diet during pregnancy can affect your child’s future health, long after they have been borni.
Studies have found that a mother’s diet during pregnancy can ‘program’ her child’s metabolism in both good and bad ways. A poor diet during pregnancy predisposes a child to developing obesity or type 2 diabetes when he or she is older, where as a healthy low GI diet helps protect themii.
Eating for two?
While being pregnant increases your nutritional needs, the amount of extra food needed is probably much less than you might expect. In fact, your energy needs during the first trimester remain the same as they were before you fell pregnant and in the second and third trimesters you only need around 10% more energy. However, your need for certain nutrients (such as iron and folate) increases significantly so it is more important than ever to make every mouthful count.
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is important – too much will increase your risk of gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears after the birth but may reoccur in the next pregnancy. GDM occurs when the hormones made by the placenta during pregnancy stop the body’s own insulin from working properly, causing blood glucose levels to rise. As glucose is the main fuel for your baby’s development, if your levels are too high, your baby may grow too fast, be born with excess body fat and is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes down the track.
Go Low for Pregnancy
Reducing the GI of your diet is one of the safest and most effective ways of ensuring the baby grows at a healthy rate. Unlike many diets, a healthy low GI eating plan is not difficult and is completely safe during pregnancy. It is not restrictive and doesn’t require any major food groups or nutrients to be cut out. It benefits both mother and child.
Want to know more? Download a pregnancy fact sheet here.
Note: To view references please click on the subscript within the relevant paragraph