The American Diabetes Association (ADA) defines gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) as diabetes
diagnosed in the second or third trimester of pregnancy that was not clearly overt diabetes prior to
GDM can reach up to 14% of the population worldwide . Insulin may or may not be
necessary in this case, regardless of the degree of metabolic disorder. In addition, this pathology can
persist once the pregnancy has ended .
Pregnancy causes major biochemical changes that cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity, o set by
an increase in insulin production. Good control of a woman with GDM through diet and exercise can
avoid the use of insulin, requiring only 20–30% insulin . According to this statement, the consensus
of the Spanish Group on Diabetes and Pregnancy defines that GDM should be treated with dietary
measures and physical exercise first. However, this does not mean that pharmacological treatment,
such as insulin, is not necessary when adequate metabolic control is not achieved with the above
indications [9,10]. Nurses and midwives, among other professionals, are in charge of monitoring a
pregnancy and carrying out the diagnostic tests for GDM—indications for physical activity—and are
in the closest contact with pregnant women .
It is important to treat this complication of pregnancy because patients with GDM are at an
increased risk of developing type II diabetes after pregnancy . There is also the possibility that
the child will su er complications as macrosomia, impaired intrauterine growth, obstetric trauma,
hyperbilirubinemia, hypoglycemia, intection, and a length of stay in the intensive care unit .
A combination of diet and exercise reduces excessive weight gain during pregnancy and GDM because
weight gain is directly related to GDM development [13,14]. In addition, obese women tend to have an
unbalanced glucose tolerance and higher insulin resistance during pregnancy than those with a healthy
weight . Thus, pregnant women who are overweight or obese have between 2.14 and 3.56 times
more risk of GDM than those with a healthy weight.
There has always been a controversy about exercising during pregnancy . For this reason,
around 80% of pregnant women are physically inactive, increasing this inactivity during the last
trimester of pregnancy . However, today it is known that there are many benefits that exercise
o ers to both the fetus and the mother. Among the maternal benefits are a general decrease in cramps,
lower back pain, oedema, depression, urinary incontinence, the duration of labour, and constipation as
well as the number of caesarean sections of the mother . Physical activity has benefits for the fetus:
decreased fat mass, improved stress tolerance, and advanced neurobehavioral maturation, among
others . In addition, physical activity reduces the rate of GDM to those who perform it between
three to twelve months regularly before or during the gestation period .
Las mujeres embarazadas pueden realizar ejercicio físico de forma segura para prevenir el aumento de peso excesivo, la macrosomía, la hipertensión arterial, la DMG, el síndrome de dificultad respiratoria, la hipoglucemia neonatal y la hipocalcemia [21-24]. Los beneficios de la actividad física requieren actividad física durante 30 minutos a una intensidad moderada durante cinco días, o 150 minutos de actividad aeróbica cada semana en promedio, dependiendo del nivel de actividad física o estado físico de la mujer antes del embarazo . No se debe tener en cuenta que tanto la intensidad como el tipo de actividad dependen de cada persona y siempre deben recomendarse individualmente .
Physical exercise can be carried out safely by pregnant women preventing excessive weight
gain, macrosomia, high blood pressure, GDM, respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal hypoglycemia,
and hypocalcemia [21–24]. The benefits of physical activity requires physical activity for 30 min at a
moderate intensity for five days, or 150 min of aerobic activity every week on average, depending on
the women’s physical activity level or fitness status before pregnancy . It should not be noted that
both the intensity and the type of activity depend on each person and should always be recommended
erobic, resistance exercise, or a combination of both are e ective in controlling glucose, HbcA1,
and insulin. Due to the variability of the exercises of the analyzed studies and the variability of
the shape of the di erent pregnant women, it does not allow recommending a particular type of
exercise. However, any type of physical activity of sucient intensity and duration can have benefits
for pregnant women with DMG.
Pregnant women with GDM should exercise at least 20–50 min a minimum of two times a week.
The intensity of the activity should be at least moderate.
While exercise provides the greatest benefit according to the analyzed studies, diet is also important
to control glucose values, HbcA1, and the required amount of insulin.
This entry is adapted from the peer-reviewed paper 10.3390/ijerph17176151