Gestational Diabetes – The Risks, the Dietary Management & a Recipe

In light of National Diabetes Week, let’s have a chat about Gestational Diabetes.

It is estimated that 10-14% of all pregnancies in Australia result in Gestational Diabetes.

Gestational diabetes (or GDM) is defined as high blood sugars (hyperglycaemia) first detected at any time during the pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes is most common among women who are:

  • Over the age of 30
  • Who are overweight
  • With a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Who are indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Of Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Polynesian ethnicity
  • Who have had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies

Being above your healthy weight before pregnancy or gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing Gestational Diabetes.  Studies have demonstrated that the most effective way to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes is by looking at dietary patterns prior to pregnancy. This means, during the preconception period or time leading up to becoming pregnant.

Gestational Diabetes management involves a number of approaches. Namely, healthy eating, monitoring blood glucose levels, physical activity and for some women, insulin injections.

What does a healthy diet for a woman with Gestational Diabetes look like? Think….an even distribution of carbohydrates, small regular meals distributed throughout the day, choosing low glycaemic index carbohydrates, all while meeting your nutritional requirements.

Carbohydrates that digest more slowly are known as having a low glycaemic index and are the better choice when trying to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Below is a delicious low glycaemic index meal to help you get started. If you need more support in the prevention or management of Gestational Diabetes, contact Fitwise today to book in for a comprehensive dietetic assessment and management plan. Enjoy!

Chickpea Curry with Pumpkin and Baby Spinach

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 500 g plain tomato pasta sauce
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 320 g peeled pumpkin, chopped into small pieces
  • 120 g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped coriander


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  1. Mix in chilli powder, coriander, cumin, tomato pasta sauce and ½ cup of water. Stir well.
  1. Add chickpeas and pumpkin pieces, and bring to boil. Adjust flavour with extra salt, if desired.
  1. Reduce heat and simmer for around 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
  1. Stir through baby spinach leaves until they start to wilt, followed by coriander, and serve immediately.

Curry goes well with steamed wholegrain and red rice. Garnish with extra coriander leaves, if desired. Store curry in the fridge for several days or freeze individual portions on top of leftover rice.


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