Dietitian Shares 5 GDM-friendly Fruits to Enjoy This Pregnancy

GDM-friendly Fruits to Enjoy This Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which blood glucose levels are not controlled due to changes in hormones during pregnancy, making insulin function less efficient. If left unmanaged, it can have detrimental effects on both mother and baby. One of the best ways to manage blood glucose levels is through diet during pregnancy.

Generally, blood glucose increases or decreases due to the presence or absence of carbohydrate-containing foods. Thus, it has been found that managing carbohydrate intakes can help support and improvise blood glucose levels. One of the sources of carbohydrates in our foods is fruits! Including GDM-friendly fruits in your diet can be particularly beneficial. Apart from providing your body with carbohydrates to produce energy, fruits also provide your body with fibre, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for optimal growth and development for babies during pregnancy. 

Why is it important to have fruits during pregnancy, even with GDM?

Supports fetal development

It is important to have fruits during pregnancy, even with GDM, as fruits carry multiple benefits, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for good health. Adequate Vitamin C intake is linked with a lower risk of premature membrane rupture. One research found that adequate intake of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy is linked to a lower risk of preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Another study showed that mothers with GDM who had increased intake of fruit and vegetables had better parameters such as better random blood glucose, interleukin-6, higher levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)

Healthy digestion

Besides that, fruits also promote fibre intake, which is essential for healthy digestion. Inadequate fibre intake can put mothers at higher risk of constipation during pregnancy, especially when bowel movements may be slower than normal due to the pregnancy hormones.

Support gut health and immunity

Fruits are also known to carry prebiotic fibres that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This helps to create a healthier gut microbiome, which produces antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that support an optimal functioning immune system. The beneficial gut bacteria also create a protective barrier on the intestinal wall, which prevents harmful bacteria from passing easily into the bloodstream. 

Smiling pregnant lady

With GDM, choose fruits that…

fit your overall eating plan. Most fresh, whole fruits have a low glycemic Index (GI) value and can be a valuable addition to your diet even if you have diabetes. Whole fruits support healthy blood sugar levels and prevent spikes.

So, here are fruits that are lower than 55 on the glycemic index, which means they will only cause a gradual increase in blood sugar levels instead of a sudden spike. 

Cherries Grapefruit Apricots Pears Apples
Oranges Plums Strawberries Peaches Grapes

When to have fruits, how much to have

Technically, no fruits are off-limits, as GI is not the only factor to consider. It is also about having moderate portions (1-2 servings per day) of fruits to avoid large fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This means that if you have large portions of low-glycemic-value fruits in a day, that will also cause a large increase in blood glucose levels.

Here is an example of what one serving of fruit looks like:


One serving


¾ cup (112g)


½ whole


5 pieces


1 medium


1 medium


1 medium


2 small


4.5 cups


1 medium


8 pieces

Achieving good blood glucose control requires relatively consistent carbohydrate distribution throughout the day. Grains and starchy vegetables are also sources of carbohydrates that are often consumed during main meals, which means it is best to have fruits in between your main meals. For instance, one serving of fruit can be taken during morning tea or afternoon tea, and another serving of fruit can be taken two hours after dinner. This way, the carbohydrate load per meal is not too large, which will cause large fluctuations in blood glucose levels. 

Some fun ways to incorporate fruits into your diet today!

Having fruit alone is totally fine. However, combining your fruits with some protein or healthy fats would not be a bad idea either. It would not only help to regulate blood sugars better, but it would also make your snack more satisfying and satiating! 

So, if you’re looking at more creative ways to enjoy your fruits during snack time, here are some ideas!

  1. A handful of berries with a handful of mixed nuts
  2. Cut mangoes or passion fruit in a cup of yoghurt
  3. Sliced apples or pears with some peanut butter
  4. Strawberries or cherries dipped in some melted dark chocolate.
  5. Peach or plums in chia seed puddings 


Following a diet with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to support a healthy pregnancy. If you are wondering, what about postpartum? It is still important to have fruits regularly for similar reasons above and more! Thankfully, these days, many confinement Chinese food practices do try to include some fruits for mummies to have during confinement as a warm dessert. Albeit not often enough, it is in the right direction towards acknowledging the importance of including fruits regularly during this recovery period. Fruits are sources of vitamin C, which plays an important role in collagen production, wound healing and increased iron absorption, all of which are needed to support a smooth postpartum recovery, too!

So, the next time you go grocery shopping, choose two to three different types of fruits you would like to have for the next week. Aim to have at least two servings of fruits daily! You can do it!