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During pregnancy, you’re more aware of your health, and what’s safe and what’s not, and you learn about certain conditions that can occur, like gestational diabetes. According to a 2021 study in JAMA, rates of gestational diabetes have increased 30% in the last decade. While there’s no denying that gestational diabetes can lead to complications, you may not be getting the whole story. 

In this interview, I sat down with Lily Nichols, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), certified diabetes educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Lily is also the author of two bestselling books, “Real Food for Gestational Diabetes” and “Real Food for Pregnancy.

Lily talks about why rates of gestational diabetes are on the rise, how your own mother’s health can have an effect on your pregnancy, and which tests you should be asking for. She also talks about why a lot of guidance from providers about a gestational diabetes diet and what to eat during pregnancy may be contributing to the problem and what to do instead.

1:26 Let’s talk about your story!

3:34 What is gestational diabetes? 

7:00 Is there research that shows how many women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes before becoming pregnant?

9:38 How common is gestational diabetes and what are the causes and risk factors?

11:59 Are there certain risk factors that you think are driving up rates of gestational diabetes?

14:17 How should women talk to their providers about which screening tools are right for them? 

18:19 If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, what are the risks to you and your baby? 

22:35 What is the conventional nutritional approach to treating gestational diabetes?

26:16 What is the gestational diabetes diet you think is best? 

28:19 What are the best pregnancy superfoods to focus on to manage blood sugar?

33:38 Is keto safe during pregnancy?

37:25 How should women with gestational diabetes approach exercise?

39:03 Studies show gestational diabetes increases your risk for type-2 diabetes. What should women do after pregnancy to reduce their risk? 


Lily mentions that the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program (CDAPP) Sweet Success recommends using HbA1c as a first trimester screening tool for gestational diabetes.

Lily talks about this 2015 study in JAMA which found that between 49% and 52% of the population have either type-2 diabetes or prediabetes.

Lily mentions the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO) study.

Lily mentions this 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition that shows protein requirements in late pregnancy (32-28 weeks) are 73% higher than the current recommendations.

Julie mentions that the recommendations for exercise during pregnancy are 150 minutes a week yet research shows women aren’t meeting them.

Purchase a copy of Lily Nichols’ books, “Real Food for Gestational Diabetes” and “Real Food for Pregnancy.

Learn more about Lily Nichols’ online course, “Real Food For Gestational Diabetes.”

Learn more about Lily Nichols on her website, LilyNicholsRDN.com, and follow her on Instagram.


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Author Details
Julie Revelant teaches parents how to raise children who are healthy, adventurous eaters. Through blog posts and videos, her goal is to shift the conversation from short-term, problem picky eating to lifelong, healthy eating and healthy futures. Julie has written for FoxNews.com, FIRST for Women magazine, WhatToExpect.com, EverydayHealth.com, RD.com, TheBump.com, Care.com, and Babble.com.