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Gestational Diabetes: Getting Exercise

Exercise can help you keep your blood sugar within a normal range. That’s because your body uses more blood sugar when you exercise. Woman swimming.

Exercise Regularly

Your health care provider may want you to exercise each day. The best time depends on when your blood sugar is highest. Your health care provider will work with you to make an exercise plan that fits your needs:

  • Aim to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day.

  • Try breaking up daily exercise into 2 or 3 sessions. For example, go for a 15-minute walk after each meal.

  • Exercise with a friend or your partner. This may help you stick to your exercise plan.

  • Go at a comfortable pace. Don’t tire yourself out.

Exercise Safely

Walking, swimming, and low-impact or water aerobics are the safest things to do:

  • Avoid activities in which you jump, turn, twist, stop or start quickly, or lift heavy weights.

  • Be sure not to get overheated. Make sure you don't elevate your heart rate to a level that makes talking uncomfortable.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • If you use insulin, be sure to carry a carbohydrate snack with you. 

  • If you walk or do low-impact aerobics, be sure to wear sturdy shoes.

  • If you haven’t eaten in 2 or more hours, have a light snack before exercising.

When to Stop Exercising and Call Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Shortness of breath before starting exercise

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Dizziness or feeling faint

  • Chest pain

  • Headache

  • Decreased fetal movement

  • Preterm contractions 

  • Muscle weakness

  • Calf pain or swelling

  • Fluid leaking from the vagina

 

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