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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Gestational Diabetes: Safe Exercise
Exercise is an important part of treating
gestational diabetes. It can help lower your
blood sugar level. It also can improve your posture, relieve back pain and
other discomforts related to pregnancy, and prepare you for the challenge of
childbirth. If you exercise regularly, you may be able to avoid having to take
insulin. If you do take insulin, regular exercise may
make it possible for you to take a smaller amount.
Most women can
begin or continue to exercise during pregnancy. Try to do at least 2½
moderate exercise a week.1, 2 One way to do this is to be active
30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of
10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
you have never exercised regularly or were not exercising before you became
pregnant, talk with your doctor before you start exercising. Exercise that does
not place too much stress on your lower body—such as using an arm ergometer, a
machine that just works your arm muscles; or riding a recumbent bicycle, a type
of bike with a seat that looks like a chair—are especially good for pregnant
women. You may also want to try special exercise classes for pregnant women or
other low-impact activities such as swimming or walking.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This
is very important when it's hot out and when you do intense exercise.
early stages of pregnancy, most women can do the same type of exercise they
were doing before pregnancy including jogging, biking, roller-skating, or
skiing. As your pregnancy advances, you may want to slow down or do less
strenuous activities such as walking and swimming.
Unless you are a competitive athlete,
avoid strenuous activity, and exercise in moderation. You should be able to
talk while working out and you should never feel exhausted. Stop and call your
doctor if you notice any symptoms such as:
After the fourth month, avoid any exercise that requires
you to lie flat on your back on a hard surface. The increasing size and weight
of your uterus will press on the large blood vessel that returns blood from
your lower body to your heart.
As you get further along in your
pregnancy, you may feel less stable on your feet or have trouble balancing
well. At this point, you should avoid any activities that may cause you to
fall, such as skiing or roller-skating.
During pregnancy, do not:
If you have a history of repeated miscarriages, your doctor
may advise you to avoid exercises that require your body to bear extra weight
(such as running) during the first 3 months. There is no evidence, though,
that exercise causes miscarriage.
Your baby will not be harmed if
you can't exercise because of a complication of your pregnancy or an existing
chronic illness or condition. You may be able to do simple exercises in bed,
with your doctor's approval.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008).
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP
Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(2002, reaffirmed 2007). Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
ACOG Committee Opinion No. 267. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 99(1): 171–173.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lois Jovanovic, MD - Endocrinology
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