Author(s): Ruchat SM, Mottola MF
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Abstract The actual pathophysiology behind gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is still unclear, but a deterioration in insulin resistance beyond that induced by pregnancy, combined with beta cell dysfunction, plays a key role. Interventions that help improve glucose tolerance by attenuating pregnancy-induced insulin resistance or achieve glycaemic control may therefore help in preventing and managing GDM. In non-pregnant populations, physical activity has been associated with an improvement in glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity and a risk reduction for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and is a cornerstone for T2DM treatment. However, there is still controversy regarding the benefits of physical activity in preventing and managing GDM. The objective of this review is therefore to provide a comprehensive overview of the effect of prenatal physical activity-based interventions on (1) glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and GDM prevention and (2) glycaemic control and insulin use in GDM women. On the basis of the available literature, there is a lack of consistent evidence regarding the benefits of physical activity on improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and preventing GDM. However, it appears that physical activity may help to achieve good glycaemic control and limit insulin use in GDM women. Compliance appears to be a major problem in physical activity-based intervention studies aimed at GDM prevention. Rigorous scientific research is still required to make an informed decision about the role of physical activity in the prevention and management of GDM and to develop evidence-based physical activity guidelines for GDM prevention and management. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in Diabetes Metab Res Rev
and referenced in Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health