Self-management

Coping and support

It's stressful to know you have a condition that can affect your unborn baby's health. But the steps that will help control your blood sugar level — such as eating healthy foods and exercising regularly — can help relieve stress and nourish your baby and help prevent type 2 diabetes in the future. That makes exercise and good nutrition powerful tools for a healthy pregnancy as well as a healthy life — for you and your baby.

You'll probably feel better if you learn as much as you can about gestational diabetes. Talk to your health care team. Read books and articles about gestational diabetes. Join a support group for women with gestational diabetes. The more you know, the more in control you'll feel.

Prevention

There are no guarantees when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes — but the more healthy habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better. If you've had gestational diabetes, these healthy choices may also reduce your risk of having it in future pregnancies or developing type 2 diabetes down the road.

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising taste or nutrition. Watch portion sizes.
  • Keep active. Exercising before and during pregnancy can help protect you from developing gestational diabetes. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps.

    If you can't fit a single 30-minute workout into your day, several shorter sessions can do just as much good. Park in the distant lot when you run errands. Get off the bus one stop before you reach your destination. Every step you take increases your chances of staying healthy.

  • Lose excess pounds before pregnancy. Doctors don't recommend weight loss during pregnancy. But if you're planning to get pregnant, losing extra weight beforehand may help you have a healthier pregnancy.

    Focus on permanent changes to your eating habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the long-term benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.