How to Exercise with Gestational Diabetes
Developing gestational diabetes can add more worries to an already stressful time as you try to navigate your pregnancy, but exercise is one of the best ways to manage gestational diabetes and the stress it brings.
Gestational diabetes, or diabetes that develops during pregnancy, occurs in 2-10 percent of all pregnancies and is more likely to occur in women who are overweight, over 25, or have a family history of diabetes, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Pregnancy changes the way your body’s tissues and cells respond to insulin, the hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels. Exercise increases the efficiency with which your body uses insulin and helps control your weight, both of which are factors that affect your gestational diabetes.
Things to Know Before You Start
Always consult a doctor before starting an exercise program, especially while pregnant. Most pregnant women can exercise for 30 minutes a day, but be sure to avoid the hottest hours of the day (typically from 10 am to 2 pm). Exercise can lower your blood sugar levels, so keep some fruit or hard candies on hand in case your levels dip too low.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
As with any physical activity, it’s important to warm-up and cool-down to prevent injuries. This is especially true if you have gestational diabetes because injuries can inhibit your ability to exercise in the future. Maintaining your ability to exercise enables you to keep your gestational diabetes under control.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, walking is a relatively safe low-impact activity that can be appropriate for pregnant women. Try to walk at a pace that allows you to hold a conversation; any pace that leaves you breathless may be too strenuous for you and your child.
Yoga is a great form of gentle exercise that stretches and strengthens your muscles. Modify any poses that cause discomfort or pain, and remember that your center of gravity shifts with the development of your child.