Blood sugar control during pregnancy is important for your health and the health of your baby. The following tips will help you control your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Carbohydrates in food turn into sugar (also called glucose) when digested. Glucose is important for you and your baby, but too much glucose in your blood can lead to problems. It is important to eat the right amount of carbohydrate and to choose healthy foods. Carbohydrates are found in starches, fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt so these food portions should be measured. Sweets and desserts should be avoided as they may lead to high blood sugar levels.
1. Eat 3 meals and 2–3 snacks per day
Eating too much at one time can cause your blood sugar to go too high. Eat smaller meals and have snacks. You have increased nutritional needs during your pregnancy, and your baby is counting on you to provide balanced nutrition.
2. Measure your servings of starchy foods
Include a starch choice at every meal. A reasonable serving size is about 1 cup of cooked rice, grain, noodles or potatoes, or 2 pieces of bread, per meal.
3. One 8-ounce cup of milk at a time
Milk is a healthy food and it is an important source of calcium. Because it is a liquid, milk sugar is absorbed quickly. Having too much milk at one time can lead to high blood sugar. It is best to limit milk to one cup at a time.
4. One small portion of fruit at a time
Fruits are nutritious, but because they have natural sugars, eat only one serving at a time. A serving of fruit is one small piece of fruit, or ½ large fruit, or about 1 cup of mixed fruit. Avoid fruit that has been canned in syrup. Do not drink fruit juice.
5. Eat more fiber
Try whole grain bread, brown rice, wild rice, whole oats, barley, millet or any other whole grains. Include split peas, lentils and any type of bean: pinto, red, black, or garbanzo. These foods are high in fiber and help to keep your blood sugar levels lower than when you eat refined grains such as white bread and white rice.
6. Breakfast Matters
Blood sugar can be difficult to control in the morning because that is when pregnancy hormones are very strong. These hormones can cause your blood sugar levels to rise even before you eat.
Dry cereals, fruits, and milk are not the best choices for breakfast because they are digested very quickly and can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.
A breakfast of whole grains plus a protein food is usually best.
7. Avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks
It takes several pieces of fruit to make a glass of juice. Juice is high in natural sugar. Because it is liquid, it raises blood sugar levels quickly. Avoid regular sodas and sugary soft drinks for the same reason. You may use diet drinks and Crystal Light.
8. Strictly limit sweets and desserts
Cakes, cookies, candies, and pastries are high in sugar and are likely to raise blood sugar levels too much. These foods often contain a lot of fat and offer very little nutrition.
9. Stay away from sugars
Do not add any sugar, honey, or syrup to your foods.
10. These artificial sweeteners are safe in pregnancy
- Aspartame; Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste
- Acesulfame K; Sunett
- Sucralose; Splenda
- Stevia; Truvia, Purevia
11. Look out for sugar-alcohols in sugar-free foods
Sugar alcohol is often used to make sugar-free desserts and syrups. These products can be labeled "sugar free" but may contain the same amount of carbohydrate as the versions made with regular sugar. Look at food labels to see the grams of total carbohydrate.
Sugar alcohols may have a laxative effect, or cause gas and bloating. The following are examples of sugar-alcohols: mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate.
Great Expectations Pregnancy Classes
Get ready for the baby! Choose from a variety of classes that prepare moms and partners for pregnancy, birth, baby care, breastfeeding and parenting.
Lactation Consultant Support
Get support for all your breastfeeding needs. Troubleshoot with a lactation consultant, find equipment and supplies, join a support group and more.
Women's Health Resource Center
Access a range of UCSF women's health resources, such as classes, support groups, a lending library and services focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. Learn more.
Anemia and Pregnancy
During the last half of pregnancy, your body makes more red blood cells which can cause Anemia. Learn more about causes and prevention here.
Domestic Violence and Pregnancy
Domestic violence is the most common health problem among women during pregnancy. It greatly threatens both the mother's and baby's health. Learn more here.
Eating Right Before and During Pregnancy
It is important to get the nutrients you need both before getting pregnant and during your pregnancy. Find more nutrition information including macros here.
Exercise During Pregnancy
Most women can, and should, engage in moderate exercise during pregnancy. Exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare your body for labor and delivery
FAQ: Prenatal Tests
Commonly asked questions regarding Prenatal Tests including, types available, positive screenings, diagnostic testing, health insurance coverage, and more.
HIV and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, we recommend you be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) even if you do not think you are at risk. Learn more here.
Recognizing Premature Labor
Premature labor occurs between the 20th and 37th week of pregnancy, when uterine contractions cause the cervix to open earlier than normal. Learn more.
Sex During Pregnancy
The pregnancy may alter how a woman and her partner feel about making love, and differences in sexual need may arise. Learn more here.
Substance Use During Pregnancy
While pregnant, it is best to eat well, stay healthy and avoid ingesting anything that might be harmful to the mother's or baby's health. Learn more.
The Circumcision Decision
If you give birth to a boy, you will be asked if you'd like him circumcised. This is a matter to be considered carefully before the baby is born. Learn more.
Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mission Bay – Owens Street
1500 Owens St., Suite 380
San Francisco, CA 94158
Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mount Zion
2356 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94143
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Perinatal Specialties at Mission Bay – Fourth Street
Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building
1825 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158