Gestational Diabetesand Hypokenisis
Like all the forms of diabetes gestational diabetes is concerned with the inadequate metabolism of glucose, fats, and proteins for energy. Gestational diabetes is similar to type II diabetes in that in involves a resistance to the action of insulin. The inability of the insulin secreting pancreatic beta-cells to compensate for the increased demands for insulin is the cause gestational diabetes 25 . The reason why gestational diabetes occurs is currently unknown, but it is suggested that hormones produced during pregnancy block the action of insulin.
Most cases of gestational diabetes are diagnosed during the second and third trimesters. Five to seven percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabete, but the condition is more prevalent in low socioeconomic populations. A physician may perform a glucose tolerance test to check how the body is utilizing glucose and may then make the diagnosis of gestational diabetes if blood sugar levels are elevated.
Women with no clinical risk factors for gestational diabetes (lean, young, white women with no family history) will most likely not be tested. All other women will be tested for gestational diabetes between 24-28 weeks’ gestation or possibly earlier if they exhibit one or more risk factors for gestational diabetes. For a list of risk actors for gestational diabetes click here.
Exercise is beneficial to both mother and child. Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels during pregnancy reduces the risk complications from gestational gestational diabetes. The severity of complications is related to the degree and duration of elevated blood sugars during pregnancy 25.
Dietary therapy is the first intervention used with gestational diabetes, but for at least 40% of people this is not enough and insulin therapy is necessary to achieve control of blood sugars 25. Overweight women with gestational diabetes can delay the usage of insulin therapy through resistance training. Women who control their diet and participated in resistance training have to take less insulin and are able to delay the usage of insulin longer into the pregnancy than women who only controlled their diet 25. Feto-maternal complications during the second part of pregnancy can be reduced when blood sugars are kept under control 25.
There is also evidence that gestational diabetes increases both mother and child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes 25. Little data exists on the exercise recommendations for the prevention of type II diabetes after gestational diabetes, but research has shown that regular exercise can delay or prevent type II diabetes. Therefore it is logical to assume that similar exercise protocols which are beneficial in the prevention of type II diabetes are useful in post gestational diabetes prevention of type 2 diabetes.