Study... Physical Activity Programs Effective for Controlling Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a form of elevated blood sugar that affects pregnant women. Gestational diabetes can lead to health risks for both mothers (high blood pressure or preeclampsia, need for a caesarian section, and type 2 diabetes later on) and babies (large birth weight, hypoglycemia, and breathing difficulties). A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reviewed physical activity in women with gestational diabetes. The authors reviewed seven studies that include 782 women from Italy, Croatia, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom.
They demonstrated that physical activity exerts beneficial effects on post-meal blood glucose, fasting glucose, and hemoglobin A1C, a longer-term blood glucose measure. In studies that measured insulin use, insulin needs were lower in the active group. Despite diverse physical activity interventions—40 minutes of walking three to four times per week, increasing cycling intervals up to 45 minutes, a set of eight resistance circuits building in intensity throughout the pregnancy, yoga, and aerobic dance—all studies showed similar benefits.
The authors conclude that, “Aerobic, resistance exercise, or a combination of both are effective in controlling glucose, HbcA1, and insulin… any type of physical activity of sufficient intensity and duration can have benefits for pregnant women with [gestational diabetes].”