How exercise affects blood glucose levels
Exercise is good for most pregnant women. Exercise helps insulin work better and can help control your blood glucose level. In addition, exercise:
Walking for 10 to 15 minutes after every meal may help control your blood glucose. If you are able to do this, count it as your exercise, not as an addition to your exercise program.
- maintains your strength and pre-pregnancy conditioning
- helps you feel well during pregnancy
- improves your tolerance to labor and delivery
- helps you recover after delivery.
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program or before adding to your exercise routine.
You should be able to carry on a conversation during exercise. If you can't talk, slow down the pace.
Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes, four to seven days a week or exercise for 10 minutes after every meal.
Your exercise should be light to moderate, keeping your heart rate under 140 beats per minutes (23 beats in 10 seconds) during exercise.
Since hypoglycemia can occur during exercise if you're taking insulin injections, carry a fast-acting sugar with you, like glucose tablets or Lifesaver® candies.
- Choose an exercise with a repeated movement, such as walking, water exercise, swimming, or arm cranking with an arm ergometer.
- Avoid exercises that are new to you.
- Don't be too ambitious at first. Set a modest goal that you can truly keep, and gradually build up, if your health care provider agrees.
- Limit each exercise session to no more than 30 minutes.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Drink lots of water before, during and after exercising.
- Avoid exercise that requires balance -- your center of gravity will keep shifting!
- Don't choose strenuous, high impact or contact exercises. Pregnancy softens your cartilage, so you might hurt your joints with jarring exercises.
- Stop when your tired. Don't over-exercise to the point of exhaustion
- Stop if you have cramping or contractions.
- After your first trimester, don't exercise lying on your back.
- Exercise during the cooler hours of the day in the summer.
Your health care provider may advise you to not exercise if you: