Lifestyle Changes to Manage Gestational Diabetes

Many women can control their blood glucose levels through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.


A dietitian can help some women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) keep their glucose levels in the right range. A diet can:

  • Eating 3 balanced meals and 2 to 3 snacks at the same time each day
  • Not going over their daily carbohydrate limit
  • Not skipping meals
  • Watching serving sizes
  • Eating foods and drinks that do not have sugar
  • Eating foods that are low in salt and fat
  • Limiting foods that are high in fat, such as fried foods

Get Regular Exercise

Physical activity for at least 2.5 hours per week can help lower blood glucose. It can also help the body use it better. Women with GDM who use insulin may also not need as much.

Exercises that do not put extra weight on the body are good choices, such as swimming, walking, and yoga.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Practice Bulletins—Obstetrics. Practice Bulletin No. 190: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Feb;131(2):e49-e64.
Gestational diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: Accessed January 14, 2020.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated December 18, 2019. Accessed January 14, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 11/18/2020

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