Exercise is essential for a healthy life, especially if you are pregnant and have to control your blood sugar. If you don’t know where to start, here are some exercises for gestational diabetes.

Exercise is one of the guidelines to follow for a healthy life, so it is highly recommended during pregnancy, whether you have gestational diabetes or not. Sport can not only help you control your weight, keep fit and feel better physically and emotionally during pregnancy, it will also help you control your blood sugar to keep it at the right levels. Here are some exercises for gestational diabetes. 

Why is exercise important for gestational diabetes control?

Physical activity lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. It is very important that diabetes, whether type 1, 2 or gestational, is controlled during pregnancy, otherwise different complications may arise with the baby. Therefore, it’s recommended to exercise at a low intensity and on a regular basis, unless there are medical contraindications. 

On the other hand, exercising during pregnancy will also help you avoid the well-known back pain, abdominal distension and swelling. And above all to sleep improving that you will appreciate when you feel more tired than usual.

Without forgetting the benefits that exercise has for mental health. Helping you face all the physical and hormonal changes that a pregnancy entails. And to prepare yourself for all the challenges that await you. Also, if you don’t exercise regularly, pregnancy is a good time and a great motivation to start.

General tips

exercises for gestational diabetes - Ejercicios para diabetes gestacional

Keep the following ideas in mind when choosing the sport you are going to do, so as not to put yourself and your baby at risk.  Remember to maintain a balanced diet too!

  1. Talk to your doctor to see if you have any contraindications when it comes to exercise. He/she will make personalized recommendations according to your physical condition and specific case. 
  2. Monitor your glucose before and after exercise. Cori will give you the option to do it easily with your cell phone and you will be able to see how your blood sugar level in the last 7 days improves. 
  3. Avoid risky exercise. The accidents that can occur can be very serious, and you should avoid putting yourself in risky situations. 
  4. Don’t overdo it with intensity! If you had a sedentary lifestyle, start slowly and with easy goals. However, if you were an athlete before, continue with the exercise by adapting the intensity to your condition. In short, adapt the exercise you choose to your previous physical condition and your current condition. 
  5. It may be a good idea to make a training plan, so that you don’t lose the habit, stay consistent and achieve the goals you set for yourself.
  6. Remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and watch out for intensity.

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Exercise ideas by trimester

exercises for gestational diabetes - Ejercicios para diabetes gestacional

For most women with gestational diabetes, at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-intensity exercise is recommended. Walking can be a great exercise to start with and one that’s easier to adjust your routine to. It provides good aerobic conditioning and won’t put stress on your joints.

The first thing is to assess your current physical condition:

  • If you haven’t exercised for a long time and have decided to resume it with your pregnancy. First of all congratulations. It’s a great time to start! Start little by little in the exercise, the most important thing is perseverance. So you can start small with 10 minutes a day. Progressively increasing to 15, 20 minutes progressively. Until you reach the recommended 30 minutes per day.
  • If you already exercised before pregnancy, during the first months you can continue exercising at the same level as long as you feel comfortable. As the months go by, you should gradually lower the intensity and always advised by your gynecologist.

And assess what trimester you are in pregnancy:

In the first trimester, you may experience symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, extra fatigue, among others. If this is your case, it’s recommended to do light cardio exercises, such as walking or stationary cycling without resistance. Another option is to tone your muscles with small weights and short series. With this you will be able to control weight gain.

The second trimester is the best time to work on endurance. You can add to the cardio exercises of the previous trimester pool exercises or simply swimming. Thanks to the water and its weightlessness, you and your baby will be protected. 

Finally, in the third trimester, due to the advanced stage of pregnancy, low-intensity exercises such as walking, or dancing are recommended. Any exercise that makes you lose your balance is discarded, to avoid falls. If you had an active lifestyle before, you could adjust the intensity of the above exercises to your physical condition and at any stage you can include yoga, elasticity work and breathing training.

Listen what your body says

exercises for gestational diabetes - Ejercicios para diabetes gestacional

Although it is very important to exercise for gestational diabetes, you should also be attentive to any type of signal that makes you set off the alarm. Stop exercising and contact your doctor or gynecologist if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Migraines
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Uterine contractions
  • Muscle weakness that affects your balance

Take time

Yoga is one of the best exercises for gestational diabetes and for any pregnancy. It is a low-impact activity that will help you control your breathing, strengthen your pelvic area and relax in such an exciting and stressful time as pregnancy. Always being careful not to perform very complicated postures or that can oppress your abdomen


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