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Prevention - Gestational diabetes

You can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes by following certain simple steps.

Keep active

The target is moderate intensity exercise. When you are doing moderate exercise, you may feel your heart beat raising but not too fast. For example, walking not too fast and not too slow.

Regular moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga or dancing helps keep your blood glucose in balance.

Discuss exercise with your GP, obstetrician, nurse or midwife if you have any medical conditions or injuries before starting.

Eat healthy food

It is really important to eat a wide range of foods for good nutrition. You do not need a lot of extra food when you are pregnant, but you do need good nourishment for your baby to develop well.

Cutting down on high fat and high sugar foods helps keep your weight healthy and lowers your risk of gestational diabetes.

Choose healthier options for meals and snacks – use wholegrain instead of white breads and cereals, and eat plenty of vegetables.

Stay away from food and drinks that are high in fat (crisps, chips, chocolate and fried foods) or sugar (fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, biscuits and sugary cereals).

Maintain a healthy weight

You can stay at a healthy weight by eating healthily and exercising. You will gain about 0.5 kg (1lb) a week during the second and third trimester.

If you are overweight, you can safely gain less than 0.5kg a week, as long as you are eating good food and having regular meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). This means you have enough nourishment (calcium, iron, vitamins, protein and energy) for your baby’s healthy development. If you do not eat enough good food, you and your baby miss out.

Page last reviewed: 5 July 2023
Next review due: 5 July 2026