In new research from Quanzhou, China, scientists have found that resistance training can improve blood glucose and reduce the need for insulin in women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)
However, according to the report, less than 15% of pregnant women do the amount of physical activity that is recommended internationally, which is at least 150 min of moderate-intensity activity per week.
GDM is usually diagnosed around 24-28 weeks, and a growing bump can make it challenging for women to keep up an exercise routine. Resistance training is one option for being physically active, which is healthy for mum and bub. This can be done by performing strength-based exercises such as squats, bicep curls or calf raises at a gym or at home. Cardiovascular activity can be achieved by walking, stationary cycling or exercising in water. Both types of physical activity count towards the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.
In the randomised control trial, women did 30 minutes of resistance training, at least three times per week. Results showed a significant improvement in fasting blood glucose levels and average 2-hour post-meal blood glucose. Insulin requirements also decreased, as did the incidence of macrosomia (larger than an average baby).
While further studies are needed to define optimal types of physical activity, frequency, and duration, the results suggest the inclusion of resistance training in a pregnancy physical activity routine should be considered by clinicians, health professionals and expectant mothers as part of a GDM management plan. These recommendations are currently part of the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.
Xie Yaping, Zhao Huifen, Liu Chunhong, Huang Fengfeng, . Zhao Meijing