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Exercising and Gestational Diabetes

About three to five percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually develops between 20 to 24 weeks, and is caused by the changes in hormones in your body during pregnancy.  In most women, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to combat this insulin resistance. When the pancreas makes all the insulin it can, and there still isn’t enough to fight the effect of the placenta’s hormones, gestational diabetes results.

Gestational diabetes is not specific to one type of woman, any one can develop it, however if you are obese or have a family history of diabetes you may be more likely to develop it.  Women who are older than 25 are at a greater risk than younger women.

Gestational diabetes usually gos away as soon as the baby is born, because once the placenta is removed your insulin is able to work normally without resistance.

In the mean time exercising is a great way to combat gestational diabetes.  A regular exercise program is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, this is especially true if you test positive for GD.  Regular exercise will increase the efficiency of your own insulin.  This will help keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range.

Exercising regularly will also keep your appetite in check which will help keep your weight gain in the normal range.  Maintaining a healthy weight gain in pregnancy is very important in the fight against gestational diabetes.

It is important to speak with your doctor about beginning and/or maintaining an exercise program.  Usually you can continue with an exercise program or sport that you were participating in before becoming pregnant.  Just take caution and avoid activities that can cause you to fall or take a blunt force to your belly. 

Bicycling, walking, jogging and swimming are all great activities that will help maintain your weight and your blood sugar levels.  Exercising frequently, 4 to 5 days per week, is necessary to get the “blood sugar lowering” advantages of an exercise program.  Be sure to always include at least 5 minutes of warming up and 5 minutes of cooling down.

If at any time you feel light-headed, dizzy, pain, shortness of breath, faintness, palpitations, back or pelvic pain, or experience vaginal bleeding STOP exercising and consult with your health care provider.

Gestational diabetes will make things a bit harder during your pregnancy but being diagnosed with it is not the end of the world.  Proper nutrition and exercise should keep everything in check and you and your baby will be happy and healthy. 

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