Gestational Diabetes and Morning Sickness: Food Tips

Nausea and vomiting, or morning sickness, affects about three-fourths of pregnant women in the U.S. , including women with gestational diabetes Mellitus (GDM). If pregnant and diagnosed with GDM you will naturally want to follow your medical team’s advice concerning diet and blood glucose monitoring. Those of you who are experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of morning sickness may also find the following helpful.

Expert GDM Morning Sickness Guidelines

The American Dietetic Association, in their Guide to Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, recommends the following ten practices to maintain healthy glucose levels and relieve symptoms of morning sickness.

  1. Eat a small amount of food every two to four hours. Eating large portions or having an empty stomach can exacerbate nausea or vomiting.
  2. Either before going to bed or during the night, eat a light snack.
  3. Put a morning snack (e.g., bread, crackers) by your bed before turning in at night. In the morning, eat the snack while in bed and remain lying down for a half-hour. Then, get up slowly, and avoid quick movements.
  4. Avoid brushing your teeth early in the morning or right after eating since toothpaste can trigger nausea. You might also try brushing with baking soda instead of a paste.
  5. Caffeinated beverages and chocolate can elevate stomach secretions so are best avoided. Consume liquids between meals—wait at least a half-hour after eating. Unsweetened carbonated beverages, especially carbonated water, are recommended.
  6. Most women find that low-fat foods such as lean meats, skinless chicken, and eggs are better tolerated than high fat or fried foods.
  7. Cold food or foods at room temperature might be better tolerated.
  8. Ginger has been used for centuries to treat nausea. There are delicious ginger teas available or you can take ginger as a supplement in capsule or powder form.
  9. Since nausea and vomiting can affect blood sugar levels, consume 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrate every two to three hours to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If your doctor provides different guidelines, follow those.
  10. Check urine ketones daily throughout periods of morning sickness.

Morning Sickness Tips from Women with GDM

The issue for most women with GDM and morning sickness is wanting the stomach comfort of eating starchy foods, but having to limit carbohydrates consumed. Diabetes blogs and forums offer some interesting suggestions.


Bland foods are frequently recommended such as toast, saltine crackers, or a half cup of regular oatmeal (regular has a lower glycemic value than instant or quick oatmeal). Some women put peanut butter on their saltines or toast since protein slows the digestive process and lowers the glycemic impact of crackers. Other nut butters would work as well, such as almond.

One woman writes that potatoes calm her stomach and she purchases low-starch potatoes grown in Australia, called Carisma, at her local grocery store.

There is also research evidence that cooled or cold boiled potatoes have less effect on blood sugar than when eaten hot. Apparently, the cooling process changes the structure of potato starch so it digests more slowly.

Another recommendation is to look down a list of low or moderate glycemic carbohydrate foods and experiment with those that appeal to you and your upset stomach.


Source: Low Carb
Photo: Pixabay


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