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Yoga for Gestational Diabetes

Yoga is one of the best forms of additional treatment for people with gestational diabetes. Yoga, along with a planned balanced diet, can help keep stress under control and balance the vital parameters within the body by keeping diabetes under check. Let us understand the benefits of yoga for gestational diabetes.

Can Yoga protect from Gestational Diabetes? 

Many women get diagnosed with gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. In such cases, yoga asanas for gestational diabetes can help improve both physical and mental health parameters for pregnant women living with diabetes. Many yoga asanas effectively improve the gestational diabetes symptoms, and here is all you need to know about them.

Benefits Yoga asana for pregnant ladies

Yoga for diabetes has always been recommended as the asanas are scientifically proven to stimulate the pancreas into producing more insulin. Additionally, yoga is also a good way to burn fat and excess sugar in the body. This can also help in eventual blood sugar control. Yoga is also suggested for pregnant women and it is believed to be as important as any other type of childbirth-preparation class. Diabetes yoga asanas for women who are pregnant is a multi-faceted approach. It involves exercises that encourage stretching, focused breathing, and mental centering. Research and studies have also supported the engagement of yoga as it can have multiple benefits for women who are pregnant and also their babies.

Some of the benefits of yoga for sugar control and pregnant women are:

Reduced physical and emotional stress

  • Better sleep cycle
  • Reduction in back pain and sciatica
  • Fewer symptoms of nausea, controlled vomiting, and morning sickness
  • Reduced risk of preterm birth
  • An increase in the mother’s strength, endurance capacity, and flexibility.

Prenatal yoga can also be a good place for expecting mothers to meet other women like themselves and bond with them. Preparing for the stress and joy of being a new parent along with a sense of belonging in a community can also be of great help. Read more about diabetes in pregnancy treatment.

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Tips before starting prenatal yoga class?

Yoga exercise for diabetes is one of the most effective forms of sugar control. For women who are pregnant with or without gestational diabetes, yoga is a recommended form of exercise that can help the woman deal not only with the tougher symptoms of pregnancy and also with sugar control. If someone is looking to engage in yoga while pregnant, here are some guidelines that can be followed for maximum safety:

  • Speak with your healthcare professional - Make sure you have your doctor's approval before starting a prenatal yoga practice. If you are at a higher risk of premature labor or have certain medical concerns, such as heart illness or back issues, you might not be able to practice prenatal yoga. Getting your doctor’s approval or having your team of medical professionals working together will get you the best results without the threat of risks.
  • Set attainable objectives - On at least five days of the week, if not every day, moderate physical exercise for at least 30 minutes is advised for most pregnant women. Even shorter or less regular workouts, meanwhile, can still help you maintain your fitness and get ready for delivery. Exercising can be strenuous, therefore, ensure that you are doing all that is in your capacity and not more.
  • Take it slow - When doing prenatal yoga, if you find it difficult to talk normally, you are definitely pushing yourself too hard. Try engaging in exercises where you can maintain your breathing and can talk normally without labored breath.
  • Stay hydrated and cool – Conduct your exercises in a well-ventilated room so that you do not have to deal with the problems of overheating. Also, ensure that you are drinking plenty of fluids while performing the best yoga asanas for diabetes and pregnancy
  • Avoid certain postures – You need to be aware of what postures are healthy and which one might turn out to be harmful to prenatal yoga. Poses that allow you to bend from your hips and not your back to maintain normal spine curvature would be vital. Avoid lying on your back or stomach and do not bend deeply forward or backward. Twisting poses should not be done as they create pressure on the abdomen. You can modify your twisting poses to only move your upper back, shoulders, and rib cage. As your pregnancy progresses, use props and appropriate postures as instructed by the expert to be safe
  • Do not overdo it – Pay attention to how your body feels when you are engaging in yoga and other exercises. Start slow and avoid positions that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.

If you experience pains, vaginal bleeding, decreased fetal movement, contractions, etc, stop and contact the experts immediately.

Best Yoga Asanas for Gestational Diabetes

Yoga for gestational diabetes during pregnancy is effective for both preventing and managing the symptoms of gestational diabetes. Many yoga asanas help maintain blood glucose levels. Yoga asanas, along with a healthy, well-balanced diet, can help control gestational diabetes to a large extent. By learning simple and helpful yoga poses, pregnant women can improve their health. These poses are great for gestational diabetes and maintaining weight, and improving blood sugar levels during pregnancy. 

Some yoga asanas for gestational diabetes include savasana (corpse pose), viparita karani (legs up the wall pose), tadasana (mountain pose), mandukasana (frog pose), and halasana (plough pose- not for pregnant women).  Here are some of the most effective yoga asanas for gestational diabetes and how you can do them:

1. Legs up the Wall 

Legs up the wall pose is also known as viparita Karani. This pose helps to stimulate the internal organs. This pose has a remarkable impact on gestational diabetes. This yoga for gestational diabetes helps lower the sugar level and improve the energy levels in the body. This pose is ideal for pregnant women as well. 

Here is how you can do this pose:

  1. Keep a towel under your head and lie alongside the wall for some support.
  2. Raise your legs and make an angle of 90 degrees with your legs parallel to the wall. 
  3. Relax your neck, chin, and head.
  4. Keep your arms beside the body and stretch them.
  5. Keep up with this pose for about 5- 10 minutes, and gently slide your legs towards the floor/ ground.

2. Reclining Bound Angle

The reclining bound angle pose is also known as supta baddha konasana. This pose is very effective in managing gestational diabetes. It relaxes your whole body and helps normalise the levels of blood sugar. This pose also improves blood circulation. This pose is ideal for pregnant women as well.

Here is how you can do it:

  1. Lean on your hand by bending your back towards the floor. Bring your torso near the floor and support your head and neck by keeping a towel under it.
  2. Start rotating your inner thighs in an outward direction. Widen your knees by bringing them away from your hips. Laying arms on the floor, make an angle of 45 degrees from the torso. 
  3. Stay in this pose for about 1 minute.
  4. Press your thighs together with your hands and push your back away from the floor.

3. Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend pose is also known as paschimottanasana. This yoga for gestational diabetes is best for relieving stress, stimulating internal organs such as kidneys, uterus, ovaries, liver, etc. and improving flexibility. This pose is ideal for pregnant women as well. Here is the process to do it:

  1. Sit on a mat. Place your heels away from your body and put palms beside your hips.
  2. Hold your feet with your hands if you can reach them by keeping your torso long and straight. 
  3. With every inhale, lift your torso a little bit, and with every exhale, bend more forwardly. 
  4. Stay in this pose for about 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Lift your torse by inhaling to come up from this position. 

4. Plough Pose

The plough pose, or the halasana, brings flexibility and improves blood circulation in the body. This pose has many health benefits, including managing symptoms of gestational diabetes. This pose is not for pregnant women.

Here is how you can do it:

  1. Stack up some blankets and place a mat. Lie on the mat and rest your back over the stack of blankets. 
  2. Straighten legs towards the roof by bringing knees near the chest.
  3. Support your back with a hand on the mid-back. Lift your hips against the floor. 
  4. Now gradually move your legs backwards of the head until it starts to touch the floor behind your head.
  5. By achieving this pose, remove your hands from the back and stay in this pose for a few minutes.
  6. Now slowly bring your legs back and place them on the floor.

5. Cobra Pose 

Cobra pose is also known as bhujangasana. This pose increases energy and reduces fatigue. This pose is beneficial for people who have gestational diabetes. Pregnant women should avoid this pose but it can be practised in the first trimester.

Process: 

  1. Lay down on your belly.
  2. Extend your legs and toes straight backwards.
  3. Press down with your hands and start lifting your chest and opposing the shoulder by keeping them back and down.
  4. Keep your neck straight. 
  5. Keep shoulders away from ears and arms straight. Stay in this pose for about 1 min.

6. Bow Pose

Bow pose is also known as dhanurasana. This pose stimulates adrenal glands. It is best for stretching shoulders, chest, hips, abdomens, and other parts. It maintains the blood sugar level very effectively. It is not ideal for pregnant women.

Process:

  1. Lie on your belly on a mat.
  2. Grab the ankles from the outer edges.
  3. Lift your head and chest by pushing down your thighs while grabbing the ankles.
  4. Maintain this pose for about five breaths. 

7. Half lord of the Fishes

This pose is also called Ardha matsyendrasana. This pose helps build up strength and improve the stimulation of the blood. This pose is ideal for pregnant women as well.

Process:

  1. Sit in sukhasana. Keep the right knee on the left knee. 
  2. Put the right foot on the mat outside of the left knee.
  3. Raise your left hand towards the ceiling. Put the left elbow on the right knee.
  4. Inhale and exhale more often. 
  5. Repeat this pose on the other side 

Are there styles of yoga that aren't recommended for pregnant women?

Yoga for gestational diabetes in pregnant women is highly recommended as it can help holistically. There are several different forms and styles of yoga that exist – some can be highly rigorous while others revolve more around breathing and centering oneself. Prenatal yoga, restorative yoga, and hatha yoga are the best choices for pregnant women. It would be important to talk to your doctors and yoga instructors before you begin to engage in these exercises- they must always be done under the care, guidance, and supervision of an expert.

Make sure that you are not engaging in hot yoga. This involves yoga exercises in vigorous poses in a room that is heated to increase the temperature. For example, avoid indulging in the Bikram form of hot yoga wherein the room is heated to approximately 40 degrees Celcius with a humidity quotient of 40%. Hot yoga can raise the body temperature too much too fast and can cause a condition called hyperthermia.

Yogasana for pregnant ladies that puts too much pressure on the abdomen should also be avoided. Other poses that prenatal yoga should not involve twists, putting pressure on the organs, and ones that lie flat on the back (especially later on in pregnancy) as it can restrict circulation.

Yoga for sugar control

Yoga is an extra kind of treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. It aids in enhancing all health indicators to support both physical and emotional well-being. If you do yoga for enough time, it improves diabetes management. Additionally, it will lessen the chance of diabetes-related problems. When your diabetes is in its early stages, practicing yoga will yield the best results. You may regulate your blood sugar levels by engaging in all the asanas that may help stimulate the pancreas and lead to better sugar control. “Is yoga good for diabetes” – yes, both type 1 and type 2. It helps with the synchronization of body movements and can aid with better breathing techniques. This can soothe your nerves and can catalyze faster and better chemical transformation within the cells of the body. It can also activate your internal organs which play a role in balancing blood sugar levels.

Yoga can:

1. Keep the stress levels low

2. Protect cardiac health

3. Prevent the risk of diabetic neuropathy

4. Boost strength and balance

Bottomline

Yoga for gestational diabetes is an effective way to prevent and improve gestational diabetes. Women during pregnancy can also do yoga asanas like reclining bound angle and half lord of fishes. Blood sugar levels and stimulation of internal organs are maintained with these asanas. Doing these yoga poses every day for about 20-30 minutes with a balanced diet will reduce gestational diabetes. 

FAQs

1. Is it safe to do yoga with gestational diabetes?

Any low-exerting poses in yoga and pranayama can be beneficial for both – the mother and the fetus. In the case of gestational diabetes, it is often recommended that the mother engages in certain practices and yogic asanas as they can help to significantly reduce the overall blood sugar levels in the body and can prevent any adverse effects of diabetes and related complications.

2. At what week does gestational diabetes develop? 

This can differ between mothers based on situational and medical factors, however, it is commonly noticed that gestational diabetes can develop around the 24thweek of pregnancy. In case there is the onset of any symptoms that can give an indication of high or low blood sugar levels during pregnancy, it would be vital to get tested to be able to catch the condition early and start treatment. Keep a lookout for high-risk factors and genetic reasons as well. High-risk mothers should get tested regularly.

3. Does prenatal yoga help with gestational diabetes?

Yes, prenatal yoga is known to be advantageous for a person with gestational diabetes. It helps to regulate the hormones in the body and stabilize them, it also affects blood sugar levels positively, and it can also lower the cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body.

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