From the Journals

Intensive exercise didn’t improve glycemic control for obese pregnant women



An intensive exercise intervention for obese pregnant women did not improve maternal glycemia, but did attenuate excessive gestational weight gain, according to the a single-center, randomized controlled trial published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The Healthy Eating, Exercise and Lifestyle Trial, conducted from November 2013 through April 2016 at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin, randomized 88 pregnant women with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater at their first prenatal visit to either a medically supervised exercise program or to the control group. The intervention consisted of 50-60 minutes of exercise at least once per week, including resistance or weights and aerobic exercises (Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130:1001-10).

Woman standing on a doctor's scale, weighing herself Keith Brofsky/thinkstock
The researchers found no difference in mean fasting plasma glucose between the control group (90.0 plus or minus 9.0 mg/dL) and the exercise group (93.6 plus or minus 7.2 mg/dL) at 24-28 weeks’ gestation (P = .13). The incidence of gestational diabetes also was not statistically different at 24-28 weeks’ gestation between the groups; 48.8% in the control group, compared with 58.1% in the exercise group (P= .51).

However, excessive gestational weight gain at 36 weeks’ gestation (greater than 9.1 kg) was lower in the exercise group at 22.2%, compared with 43.2% in the control group (P less than .05), Niamh Daly of Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital and her coauthors reported.

“Our study may have failed to improve maternal glycemia because the ideal time to begin such a program could be before pregnancy,” the researchers wrote. “Pregnant women who are obese, however, should be advised to exercise because it attenuates excessive gestational weight gain.”

The study was partially funded by Friends of the Coombe, a charity organization. The authors reported having no financial disclosures.

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