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Physical activity is an important part of any healthy pregnancy.

For women with gestational diabetes, the benefits include:

  • Helping to reduce insulin resistance
  • Helping to manage blood glucose levels

Always check with your doctor prior to commencing physical activity or an exercise program. This is especially important if you were not exercising regularly prior to your pregnancy or your diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

Generally, moderate intensity activity (a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate) is beneficial. This is not the same as routine activities such as housework and shopping.

Aim for 30 minutes per day. For example a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

You can break up your activity into smaller chunks of time during the day as long as you are doing your activity at a moderate effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.

You may find it helpful to include some walking after meals to assist in controlling blood glucose levels.

Swimming, aqua aerobics, pregnancy yoga, tai chi or an antenatal exercise class are beneficial alternatives.

General guidelines for physical activity

Do

Don't

Participate in moderate and regular physical activity unless your health care provider advises you not to.

Don't do any activity while lying on your back after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The weight of the uterus can put pressure on a major vein in the abdomen and impede blood flow back to the heart. This may cause you to faint.

Eat a healthy diet and aim for a healthy weight gain.

Don't skip meals or do physical activity when you are hungry

Choose activities like walking and swimming that don’t require a lot of balancing or standing.

Don't perform activities that may cause you to lose your balance or involve sudden movements such as jumping, bouncing or sudden change of direction.

Drink plenty of water during and after exercise.

 

Wear loose, light clothing that wont make you overheat.

Don't exercise in hot or humid conditions.

Watch your level of exertion – stop exercising if you become breathless or fatigued.

Don't overexert yourself

Seek advice regarding exercise if you are taking insulin.

Don't exercise if you are feeling unwell or have a temperature

 

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The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.