How Much Exercise Do I Need to Do When I Have Gestational Diabetes?

Most women are reluctant to exercise during their pregnancy. They are afraid that some exercises might cause harm to the baby they are carrying. When they are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the fear of exercising increases since their condition becomes more delicate than normal pregnancy.

baby loveDespite this fear, doctors would even recommend exercising especially for pregnant women with gestational diabetes. The purpose of exercising is not to lose weight, but to maintain it and to prevent you from gaining excess weight that might be detrimental to you and your baby’s health. In gestational diabetes, your cells cannot utilize the excess glucose in your bloodstream because the insulin receptors in the cells are less responsive to insulin. That is the reason why you have to take the initiative of using up your excess glucose through exercising.

But exercising for pregnant women with gestational diabetes is not that simple. There are some considerations that you need to keep in mind to prevent adverse effects and complications. Here are some tips and guidelines that you need to remember to exercise safely during your gestational diabetes state:

  • Ask your doctor. First and foremost, your doctor should know about any exercise program that you are contemplating on starting. Your doctor will be able to advise you well on the dos and don’ts of exercising with gestational diabetes. In general, exercise is safe as long as you are not in danger of pre-term labor and delivery or you have no cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases that might hinder your ability to exercise. Ask your doctor for any warning signs or limitations in exercising during pregnancy.
  • Start slowly. If you were physically active before you got pregnant, take note that you cannot be as active as you were now that you are pregnant. High-impact sports should be avoided in general, and you have to start slow. You can try walking, yoga, and aerobics. Around 20 minutes per day three times a week is good to start, and you may increase your frequency as your body gets used to the exercise.  However, you should always ask your doctor about the amount of exercise that you should be doing. Ideally, you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably while exercising.
  • Drink lots of water. Hydration is very important when you are exercising. This helps you prevent dehydration, which could lead to pre-term labor because it raises your body’s temperature. Drinking water while exercising can also prevent excess sodium in your body, thus avoiding swelling or edema.
  • Do not forget warm-up and cool-down exercises. Warming up prepares your muscles for exercise, helping you avoid stiffness and soreness in your muscles during and after exercising. Cooling down, on the other hand, gets your heart rate back to normal in a gradual manner. Warm-up and cool-down exercises should be done for about five to ten minutes per exercise routine.

Your pregnancy or gestational diabetes should never be a hindrance to your physical activities.

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About Mathea

Thanks for listening, I am a registered dietitian who had gestational diabetes and I want to help you find your way through this tough time. I have written several books and I have a book on Amazon about Gestational Diabetes Meal Plans.

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