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Diabetes Metab. 2009 Nov;35(5):418-21. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2009.04.008. Epub 2009 Sep 10.

Supervised home-based exercise may attenuate the decline of glucose tolerance in obese pregnant women.

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School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.



The significant deterioration of insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance during pregnancy can have serious health implications for both the pregnant woman and her baby. Although it is well established that regular exercise benefits insulin sensitivity in the nonpregnant population, the effect on glucose tolerance in obese pregnant women is not known. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a supervised 10-week, home-based, exercise programme, beginning at week 18 of gestation, on glucose tolerance and aerobic fitness in previously sedentary obese women.


Twelve sedentary obese women were randomized into an exercise (EX; n=6) or control (CON; n=6) group at 18 weeks of gestation. Those randomized to EX engaged in 10 weeks of supervised home-based exercise (three sessions a week of stationary cycling), while those in the CON group maintained their usual daily activity. Their glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), as well as their aerobic fitness, were assessed both pre- and postintervention.


Reduced glucose tolerance in the CON, but not EX, group was indicated by a tendency postintervention towards higher blood glucose levels at 1h of the OGTT (P=0.072). Furthermore, at 2h of the postintervention OGTT, blood glucose tended to remain elevated from baseline in the CON (P=0.077). There was also a trend towards increased fitness in the EX (P=0.064), but not the CON group.


Regular aerobic exercise begun during pregnancy may have favourable effects on glucose tolerance and fitness in obese women, and warrants further investigation in a larger sample population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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