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Exercise Key to Lowering Risk for Gestational Diabetes

However, authors say amount of exercise needed may be more than current recommendations

pregnant woman exercising

THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy reduces the risks for abnormal glucose screening and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), according to a study published online Dec. 21 in Diabetes Care.

Samantha F. Ehrlich, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues used data from a prospectively followed pregnancy cohort of 2,246 women (79 percent minorities) to estimate the effects of exercise during the first trimester on the risks for abnormal screening and gestational diabetes mellitus.

The researchers found that 24.3 percent of women had an abnormal screening, while 6.5 percent had GDM. There were decreased risks for abnormal screening and GDM (4.8 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 8.5] and 2.1 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.2 to 4.1] fewer cases per 100, respectively) among participants with exercise meeting or exceeding the 75th percentile.

"Exercise reduces the risks of abnormal screening and GDM, but the amount needed to achieve these risk reductions is likely higher than current recommendations," the authors write. "Future interventions may consider promoting ≥38 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise to prevent GDM."

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