Doing some physical activity both before and during pregnancy can really help lower the risk of gestational diabetes, says a new study from the US. Research coming out of the Harvard School of Public Health has revealed that physical exercise undertaken before pregnancy can cut the chances of gestational diabetes by up to half, while exercise during the early stages of pregnancy can also reduce the risk by a quarter.
The research team looked at studies of the physical activity of nearly 35,000 patients before pregnancy and the resultant rate of gestational diabetes, with a total of 2,813 cases of gestational diabetes being reported. They also did a similar analysis of 4,401 patients in early pregnancy, of which 361 developed the condition.
It was found that women that did the most exercise before pregnancy were 55 per cent less likely to later develop gestational diabetes than those that did the least exercise. The benefit of this went down to 24 per cent for those exercising during early pregnancy.
Based on their evidence, the study recommends an physical activity could help prevent gestational diabetes and also its complications, and the NICE study also advises that pregnant women should undertake half an hour of moderate intensity exercise every day.
Deepa Khatri, who is a clinical advisor at the charity Diabetes UK, commented “Women should try to achieve a healthy weight before conceptio, as active weight reduction during pregnancy is not appropriate because of the risk of compromising maternal and foetal health . But it is important to encourage expectant mothers to avoid excess weight gain.”

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