19517 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Reducing Your Risk of Gestational Diabetes

    Maintain a Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy

    The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine makes the following recommendations regarding weight gain during pregnancy:
    Weight classification before pregnancy* Institute of Medicine recommended gestational weight gain
    Underweight (BMI 19.7 and under) 28 to 40 lb
    Normal (BMI 19.8-24.9) 25 to 35 lb
    Overweight (BMI 25-29.9) 15 to 25 lb
    Obese (BMI 30 or greater) 15 to 25 lb
    *These values are based on body mass index (BMI)—the ratio of your weight in kilograms to your height in meters squared. Recognize that these values are for Caucasians, which may not apply to Asians who have smaller body frames and different percentage of body fat.
    Besides increasing your risk for gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain during pregnancy is also a risk factor for obesity post-pregnancy. It should be noted that the subject of recommended pregnancy weight gain remains somewhat controversial and that some feel that the above guidelines are too high. Talk with your doctor about what range of weight gain is right for you.

    Eat a Healthy Diet

    Even before pregnancy begins, nutrition is a primary factor in the health of the mother and the baby. Besides lowering your risk of gestational diabetes , eating a healthy diet lowers your and your baby’s risk of serious complications during and after pregnancy. A healthy diet is one that is low in saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    Exercise Regularly

    Participating in a regular exercise program can lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes by helping you maintain a healthy weight. But, it is very important that you discuss exercise with your doctor before you begin.
    Choose exercises that do not require your body to bear any extra weight. Good examples are:
    • Swimming
    • Stationary cycling
    • Walking
    • Low-impact aerobics
    • Yoga
    When you exercising, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. If your body temperature goes up too high, it can be dangerous for your baby.
    Avoid contact sports or vigorous sports. Also, avoid any exercises that increase your risk of falls or injury.


    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Diabetes and pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient%5Feducation/bp051.cfm . Accessed July 2010.

    American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/ .

    Chung S, Song MY, Shin HD, et al. Korean and Caucasian overweight premenopausal women have different relationship of body mass index to percent body fat with age. J Appl Physiol. 2005;99:103-107.

    Institute of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.iom.edu/ .

    Mottola MF. The role of exercise in the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus. Cur Sports Med Rep . 2007;6:381-386.

    MyPyramid for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding website. Available at: http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramidmoms/index.html . Accessed October 30, 2007.

    National Institute of Child Health & Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/ .

    Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2006 III. Detection and diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:S7

    Tieu J, Crowther CA, Middleton P. Dietary advice in pregnancy for preventing gestational diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2008;16(2):CD006674.

    Yun S, kabeer NH, Zhu BP, Brownson RC. Modifiable risk factors for developing diabetes among women with previous gestational diabetes. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007;4:A07.

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