Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is the bedrock for the management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Several different types of dietary approaches are used globally, and there is no consensus among the various professional groups as to what constitutes an ideal approach. The conventional approach of limiting carbohydrates at the cost of increasing energy from the fat source may not be most optimal. Instead, allowing higher levels of complex, low-to-medium glycaemic index carbohydrates and adequate fibre through higher consumption of vegetables and fruits seems more beneficial. No particular diet or dietary protocol is superior to another as shown in several comparative studies. However, in each of these studies, one thing was common - the intervention arm included more intensive diet counselling and more frequent visits to the dieticians. For MNT to work, it is imperative that diet advice and nutrition counselling is provided by a dietician, which is easy to understand and use and includes healthy food options, cooking methods, and practical guidance that empower and motivate to make changes towards a healthy eating pattern. Various simple tools to achieve these objectives are available, and in the absence of qualified dieticians, they can be used to train other health care professionals to provide nutrition counselling to women with GDM. Given the impact of GDM on the future health of the mother and offspring, dietary and lifestyle behaviour changes during pregnancy in women with GDM are not only relevant for immediate pregnancy outcomes, but continued adherence is also important for future health.
- Gestational diabetes