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Development of this material is supported by Federal Title V Funds, received from the California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division.


Gestational Diabetes and Postpartum Care

After Pregnancy: Lifestyle Choices and Diabetes

Women exercising

Lifestyle choices affect diabetes. The following information may help you decrease your chance of developing diabetes. If you already have diabetes, this information may help you control your blood sugar.

Type 2 diabetes is common in both adults and children. This is true even when no one else in the family has diabetes.

There are many lifestyle choices you can choose that may help reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Choices include:

  • Exercising
  • Breastfeeding
  • Eating healthy foods in the right amounts
  • Achieving a healthy weight
  • Stop nicotine use


Exercise and healthy eating are as important as your family’s health history when it comes to developing diabetes. A healthy lifestyle should include regular exercise. Aim to exercise every day for at least a total of 30 minutes. Speak with your health care team to verify how often and how much exercise you should do.


Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby. It helps lower your blood sugar. Breastfeeding may lower the chance of you and your baby developing diabetes later.

Eat Healthy

Healthy eating includes a well-balanced diet and correct portion sizes. Talk to a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RD/RDN) or health care provider if you need help deciding what and how much to eat.

Healthy Weight

Healthy eating and being physically active supports you reaching and maintaining a healthier weight. Ask your health care team what weight is healthy for you.

Stop Nicotine

Ask your doctor or nurse to help you stop nicotine use. Nicotine is unhealthy for you and for your baby.

Reduce Stress

Everyone has to deal with stress sometimes. Learning to lower or manage your stress will help you stay healthy.

You can:

  • Get some fresh air; take a short walk.
  • Find a little quiet time for yourself, even if it is only 5 minutes.
  • Talk to your family, friends, or social worker as they may have some ideas to help lower stress.

Next Steps

  • Be positive. Tell yourself "I can do this". You have done it before.
  • Learn how to work through challenges. Take things one step at a time.
  • Plan your time. Decide what is most important to you.
  • Be safe. Try to walk with a friend or partner.
  • Make time to take care of your needs.
  • Ask for help from family and friends who can support your efforts. How do you want them to help you?
  • Make a plan.
Group exercising

Make a Plan

  • Check your blood sugars

  • Pay attention to how you feel

  • Keep all your medicalappointments

  • Have all your lab tests doneand ask for your results anddiscuss them with yourhealth care provider

Set Goals

What do you want to change? By when? Make sure it is something you can do. Be specific. For example: “Starting Monday, I will walk every day after lunch for 30 minutes” is specific and you can do it!!

Figure out the steps you need to follow. For example, if you are going to go for a walk at work, you need to:

  1. Pack your walking shoes
  2. Pack a snack and a bottle of water
  3. Check your blood sugar
  4. (what would your next step be?)

Your Plan

Parents with their newborn
  1. One thing you want to change.
  2. Your goal for that change (make sure it is something you can do).
  3. When you are going to start.
  4. The name of someone who can help you.
  5. How you will ask that person to help you.
  6. What makes it hard for you to reach your goal.
  7. What can you do to work around that challenge.
  8. Postpartum follow up: It is important you follow up with your health care team to talk about the status of your diabetes, birth control and medications.
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