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World J Diabetes. 2013 Dec 15;4(6):256-62. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v4.i6.256.

Prescribing physical activity to prevent and manage gestational diabetes.

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  • 1Sheri R Colberg, Human Movement Sciences Department, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, United States.


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most prevalent metabolic disorder during pregnancy. Women diagnosed with GDM have a substantially greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years after delivery, and the risk is increased by excess body weight. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia during pregnancy is potentially harmful to both mother and fetus, resulting in a greater need for Caesarian-section deliveries, delivery of larger infants with more excess body fat, a greater risk of infant death and stillbirth, and an elevated risk of infant hypoglycemia immediately after birth. Fortunately, engaging in physical activity prior to and during pregnancy may lower the risk of developing GDM. Pregnant women should also be advised how to safely increase their physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period. An initial approach to becoming more physically active can simply be to encourage women to incorporate more unstructured physical activity into daily living, both before and during pregnancy. Giving women an appropriate exercise prescription can encourage them to participate in physical activity safely and effectively throughout pregnancy to prevent and/or manage GDM. Engaging in 30 min of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week has been adopted as a recommendation for all pregnant women.


Blood glucose; Exercise prescription; Gestational diabetes; Physical activity; Pregnancy

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