Corresponding Author: Mark Wilson

Co-Authors: Rami Shenouda

Article in press:

Exercise As Therapy for Gestational Diabetes:  What’s the Evidence?

Rami Shenouda 1, Mark Wilson 1

1Orthopaedic Registrar, North West Regional Hospital, Burnie, Tasmania,

ABSTRACT: Men and women differ greatly in their physiology; they are able to undertake different types and levels of activity, and also respond differently physiologically to aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Women have an additional capacity for pregnancy and their ability to undergo significant physiological change in a short period of time. They are, however, subject to further conditions that men are not susceptible to, such as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). This review will aim to analyse the recent literature regarding exercise and GDM and determine whether exercise can reduce the risk of developing GDM and any potential sequelae. Despite there being a lack of clear consensus on the subject, exercise is a useful adjunct in the treatment of gestational diabetes and may attenuate some of its more harmful sequelae.

KEY WORDS Exercise; Diabetes; Health benefits; Sports Medicine





1.     Bennell, K., & Alleyne, K. (2007). Women and Activity-Related Issues Across the Lifespan. In P. Brukner, & K. Khan, Clinical Sports Medicine (Third Edition ed., pp. 749-772). Sydney: McGraw-Hill.


2.     Nankervis, A., & Conn, J. (2013, August ). Gestational diabetes mellitus: Negotiating the confusion. Retrieved September 21, 2016 from Australian Family Physician:


3.     Simmons, D. (2011). Diabetes and obesity in pregnancy. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology , 25-36.


4.     Artal, R. (2015). The role of exercise in reducing the risks of gestational diabetes mellitus in obese women. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology , 123-132.


5.     Kokic, I. S. (2014). Exercise and gestational diabetes mellitus. PERIODICUM BIOLOGORUM , 83-87.


6.     Padayachee, C., & Coombes, J. S. (2015). Exercise g (Simmons, et al., 2015)uidelines for gestational diabetes mellitus. World Journal of Diabetes , 1033-1044.


7.     Tobias, D. K., Zhang, C., Van Dam, R. M., Bowers, K., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Physical Activity Before and During Pregnancy and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care , 223-229.


8.     Simmons, D., Jelsma, J., Galjaard, S., Devlieger, R., van Assche, A., Jans, G., et al. (2015). Results From a European Multicenter Randomized Trial of Physical Activity and/or Healthy Eating to Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: The DALI Lifestyle Pilot. Diabetes Care , 1650-6.


9.     Oostdam, N., van Poppel, M., Wouters, M., Eekhoff, E., Bekedam, D., Kuchenbecker, W., et al. (2012). No effect of the FitFor2 exercise programme on blood glucose, insulin sensitivity, and birthweight in pregnant women who were overweight and at risk for gestational diabetes: results of a randomised controlled trial. BJOG , 1098-1107.


10.  Stafne, S. N., Salveson, K. A., Romundstad, P., Eggeborn, T. M., Carlsen, S. M., & Morkved, S. (2012). Regular Exercise During Pregnancy to Prevent Gestational Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY , 119 (1), 29-36.


11.  Price, B. B., Amini, S. B., & Kappeler, K. (2012). Exercise in Pregnancy: Effect on Fitness and Obstetric Outcomes—A Randomized Trial. MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE , 2263 - 2269.



12.  Halse, R. E., Wallman, K. E., Dimmock, J. A., Newnham, J. P., & Guelfi, K. J. (2015). Home-Based Exercise Improves Fitness and Exercise Attitude and Intention in Women with GDM. MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE , 1698–1704.


13.  Zhang, C., Tobias, D. K., Chavarro, J. E., Bao, W., Wang, D., Ley, S. H., et al. (2014). Adherence to healthy lifestyle and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study. The British Medical Journal (349), g5450.


14.  White, E., Pivarnik, J., & Pfeiffer, K. (2014). Resistance Training During Pregnancy and Perinatal Outcomes. Journal of Physical Activity & Health , 1141-1148.


15.  Hui, A., Back, L., Ludwig, S., Gardiner, P., Sevenhuysen, G., Dean, H., et al. (2011). Lifestyle intervention on diet and exercise reduced excessive gestational weight gain in pregnant women under a randomised controlled trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology , 70-77.


16.  McGiveron, A., Foster, S., Pearce, J., A., T. M., McMullen, S., & Langley-Evans, S. C. (2015). Limiting antenatal weight gain improves maternal health outcomes in severely obese pregnant women: findings of a pragmatic evaluation of a midwife-led intervention. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , 29-37.


17.  Wang, C., Wei, Y., Feng, H., Su, R., & Yang, H. (2015). Exercise intervention during pregnancy can be used to manage weight gain and improve pregnancy outcomes in women with gestational diabetes mellitus. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth , 15 (255), 1-8.


18.  Cordero, Y., Mottola, M. F., Vargas, J., Blanco, M., & Barakat, R. (2015). Exercise Is Associated with a Reduction in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE , 1328-1333.


19.  Chasan-Taber, L., Silvelra, M., Lynch, K., Pekow, P., Braun, B., Manson, J., et al. (2014). Physical activity before and during pregnancy and risk of abnormal glucose tolerance among Hispanic women. Diabetes & Metabolism , 67-75.


20.  Nobles, C., Marcus, B. J., Stanek III, E. J., Braun, B., Whitcomb, B. W., Soloman, C. G., et al. (2015). Effect of an Exercise Intervention on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstetrics & Gynaecology , 1195-1204.


21.  Morkrid, K., Jenum, A. K., Berntsen, S., Sletner, L., Richarsen, K. R., Vangen, S., et al. (2014). Objectively recorded physical activity and the association with gestational diabetes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports , e389-397.’


22.  Currie, L. M., Woolcott, C. G., Fell, D. B., Armson, B. A., & Dodds, L. (2014). The Association Between Physical Activity and Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes: A Prospective Cohort. Maternal and Child Health Journal , 1823-1930.


23.  Hawkins, M., Hosker, M., Marcus, B. H., Rosal, M. C., Braun, B., Stanek III, E., et al. (2015). A pregnancy lifestyle intervention to prevent gestational diabetes risk factors in overweight Hispanic women: a feasibility randomized controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine (32), 108-115.


24.  Hawkins, M., Hosker, M., Marcus, B. H., Rosal, M. C., Braun, B., Stanek III, E., et al. (2015). A pregnancy lifestyle intervention to prevent gestational diabetes risk factors in overweight Hispanic women: a feasibility randomized controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine (32), 108-115.



Journal name: Int J Appl Exerc Physiol

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


You may download this article in original website of journal.

Asian Exercise & Sport Science Association


Please email us if you would like to publish your article in "Article in Press".