Supervised workouts mitigate risk of diabetes in pregnancy
Undergoing in-facility physical activity (PA) programmes initiated before the 20th week of gestation helps reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among high-risk mothers, according to the results of a meta-analysis.
The meta-analysis included 11 trials evaluating PA interventions in relation to the risk of GDM. These studies involved pregnant women who were overweight or obese, with prior GDM or macrosomia, or high-risk status on a GDM risk assessment tool. The total population comprised 1,467 participants.
One trial was from Asia, three from Oceania, three from Europe, and four from North America. Five trials conducted a supervised PA intervention in a healthcare facility, while the other six were delivered outside of a healthcare facility. Recruitment was held prior to the 16th gestational week in seven studies and up to 20 weeks in four studies, with the intervention continuing up to approximately 36 weeks across all of them. All studies provided participants with pregnancy-specific dietary advice as per local guidelines.
Pooled data revealed that compared with usual care, PA significantly lowered the risk of GDM, but only when it was delivered in a healthcare facility (risk ratio [RR], 0.53, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.38–0.74).
The number needed to treat with PA in pregnancy to prevent one GDM event was 18 (95 percent CI, 14 – 29).
More studies are needed to compare PA in-facility vs outside a healthcare facility to pinpoint the determinants of its success in GDM prevention.