Study: Increasing exercise during the first trimester may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes
A new study found that pregnant women who did more exercise in the first trimester of pregnancy were at lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The analysis found that at least 38 minutes of moderately intense exercise per day was associated with a lower risk, which is slightly higher than the current recommendations of at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.
Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy and, according to the study’s authors, can cause serious health problems, including pregnancy and delivery complications, and an increased future risk of mother and child diabetes.
“We know that exercise is safe and beneficial for healthy pregnant women. These results show that exercise is helpful in preventing gestational diabetes, although you may need to do a little more than is currently recommended to get this benefit, “said Samantha Ehrlich, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in a press release.
The study was based on the stress levels reported by women during their first trimester of pregnancy. Exercising for at least 38 minutes a day was found to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes by 2.1 cases per 100 women and the risk of abnormal blood sugar by 4.8 cases per 100 women, according to the study authors.
“We know that 6 to 10 women per 100 have gestational diabetes,” Ehrlich said in a press release. “If more active work could reduce that by two women per 100, that’s a clear benefit.”
The study analyzed data collected for the Pregnancy Environment and Lifestyle Study, which included a physical activity questionnaire from 2,246 pregnant Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California. The women in the study were racially and ethnically diverse and had a wide range of pre-pregnancy weight classes.
The study’s authors suggest that current recommendations may need to be reconsidered to improve women’s chances of preventing gestational diabetes through exercise. The latest guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were updated in 2020, and those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were updated in 2018.
The team, led by a researcher, notes that increased exposure in the first trimester may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. University of Tennessee Knoxville. https://news.utk.edu/2021/01/11/team-led-by-researcher-finds-increased-first-trimester-exercise-may-reduce-gestational-diabetes-risk/. Published January 11, 2021. Accessed January 12, 2021.