Physical activity protects against gestational diabetes
High levels of physical activity (PA) during pregnancy, especially moderate-intensity and household/caregiving activities, may lower the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), as shown in a study from Vietnam.
The study included 1,987 pregnant women. PA and GDM status were evaluated at baseline and during 24–28 weeks of gestation. The Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire was administered to get PA data during the previous 3 months prior to enrolment.
A total of 432 women (21.7 percent) had GDM. Women with GDM were significantly older, had higher body mass index and blood pressure levels, and more likely to have a family history of diabetes relative to those without GDM.
Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed an inverse association between GDM risk and PA. Specifically, the risk of GDM was significantly lower in women undertaking the highest level (upper tertile) of PA during pregnancy (odds ratio [OR], 0.70; 95 percent CI, 0.53–0.94; p=0.017 for trend) than in those at the lowest PA tertile.
Specifically, higher levels of moderate-intensive activity and household/caregiving activity during pregnancy showed a protective association with the risk (OR, 0.66; 0.50–0.86; p=0.002 and OR, 0.72; 0.55–0.95; p=0.020, respectively).
The observed associations were not influenced by sitting time. Finally, there were no relationships seen between GDM risk, sitting time, light-intensity or vigorous-intensity activity, occupation, sports/exercise, commuting, or meeting exercise guidelines.
The present data provide evidence of the added benefit of PA in preventing GDM and aid in the development of guidelines or appropriate programmes in encouraging pregnant women to have an active lifestyle, researchers said.
Additional studies evaluating time, duration and compliance to PA regimens are warranted to identify the optimal amount of PA to prevent GDM, they added.