The Importance Of Exercise For Gestational Diabetics

The recommendation for diabetics to exercise is fortunately gaining ground as a complementary method of managing the disease. The condition gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), occurring in pregnant women, is now also proven to benefit from this measure. New research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that sufferers of the disease can prevent its worst effects by taking regular moderate-intensity exercise during the second half of their pregnancy.

Jonatan Ruiz, head of the study held at the University of Granada, assessed the benefits of exercise on 510 pregnant women. The study’s participants undertook exercise in the second half of their pregnancy only; a period extending from week 10-12 to week 38-39. All of the women were healthy and diabetes free at the start of the research project. Just under twenty per cent of the exercise group developed GDM during the second half of their pregnancy, a figure found to be higher among the control group (28%).

While this initial difference seems to be marginal, the study had several additional successes. The risk of macrosomia, a foetal complication commonly associated with GDM, was 58 per cent lower for women who developed GDM within the exercise group. Furthermore, the risk of having a child with macrosomia was much lower for the exercise group. The study also provides good news for those set on a natural birth – women with GDM in the exercise group were seen to be 34 per cent less likely to require a caesarean section, when compared with the control group.

The results of the study contribute to a growing consensus on the importance of exercise for diabetes sufferers. Additionally, it validates the notion that pregnant women should maintain a healthy exercise routine throughout their pregnancy. The benefits of this are greatly significant and mean a better sense of daily wellness for the mother as well as superior growth and wellbeing for the child.


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