Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a condition that may develop in some pregnant women between 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy due to a reduced insulin sensitivity that result in higher blood sugar levels. Normalizing blood glucose concentrations usually requires changes in dietary habits and increasing daily physical activity. Exercise works by improving insulin sensitivity so glucose uptake by muscles is increased, which in turn, helps maintain a good metabolic control of glycemia.
Although exercising is highly recommended during pregnancy, not all types of physical activities are equally appropriate if you have GD. Ideally, it would be best to perform a continuing program of moderate, low-impact exercises.
Since exercise will help your body burn excess glucose without using medicaments, the best time to start your exercise routine would be when your blood glucose is high. Now, what type of exercises are more suitable for controlling GD? As indicated above, recommended forms of exercise include low-impact aerobics, swimming, outdoor walking, and stationary bicycling that will stimulate heart function and burn excessive blood sugar. Besides, exercise will increase breathing capacity and consequently improve blood oxygenation. It is important to exercise daily beginning with a 5-10-minute warm up period followed by a 30-min session of your preferred exercise routine. Do this at least 4-5 times / week.
On the other hand, you can also practice other forms of exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, or stretching. Yoga may help you relax, release tensions, relieve muscle aches, and improve breathing. Pilates increases muscle tone and flexibility. Exercising during pregnancy will help you stay healthy and facilitate the baby’s birth by improving the mother’s breathing capacity. However it is important to choose exercise routines that are especially designed according to the needs of pregnancy.
Despite the beneficial effects of exercising during pregnancy, you have to be aware of any of the following symptoms while performing your exercise routine:
- Short of breathing.
- Vaginal hemorrhages.
- Chest pain.
- Baby is not moving normally.
- Strong uterine contractions.
- Muscle weakness.
- Swollen legs or leg pain.
In summary, regular physical activity and dietary improvements are usually sufficient to manage Gestational Diabetes bringing blood glucose down to normal levels. Management of blood glucose levels ensures better pregnancy outcomes and improves the health of both mother and fetus. Exercise improves blood circulation and oxygen delivery to body tissues. Consult your doctor about the best exercise routine for you, during pregnancy.