Keep Diabetes in Check During Pregnancy

Staying healthy during pregnancy is important for both mother and child, but exactly how to stay healthy depends on who you ask. The rules for diet, for example, vary wildly across the board; while here in the U.S. it is considered common knowledge to steer clear of uncooked seafood and alcohol, doctors in Japan and France (respectively) would find such suggestions laughable.

However, there is one health suggestion that seems to find its way to every pregnant woman: if you want to be healthy while carrying your little one, you need to exercise.

Preventing Gestational Diabetes

Regular exercise is especially important for obese women, who are at a greater risk for gestational diabetes. In fact, a recent study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that regular exercise three times a week helped obese, pregnant women lower their blood pressure and decrease their risk of gestational diabetes.

For this study, researchers divided a group of 91 pregnant, obese women into two groups. The first group partnered their regular prenatal care with moderate exercise, either walking on a treadmill for 35 minutes or doing strength training for 25 minutes, three times per week. The second group also underwent regular prenatal care, but did not add any exercise to their routine. By the time these women delivered their babies, only two women from the exercise group had developed gestational diabetes – versus nine women from the group that did not exercise.

Kirsti Krohn Garnæs, doctoral candidate at NTNU, says that these findings indicate “that even a little training during pregnancy can be beneficial.”

Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby

While gestational diabetes is sometimes considered a “less serious” condition, it can cause problems during birth and after. “It's important to reduce obesity-related pregnancy complications because they can have long-term consequences for both the mother and her child,” Dr. Trine Moholdt, the principal investigator for the study, has said of NTNU's research.

Gestational diabetes has been linked with childhood obesity, which can cause problems for children later in life.

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