Exercise Is Associated with a Reduction in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Jul;47(7):1328-33. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000547.


Purpose: The objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of a maternal exercise program (land/aquatic activities, both aerobic and muscular conditioning) in preventing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Methods: Three hundred and forty-two pregnant women from Spain (age, 33.24 ± 4.3 yr) without obstetric contraindications were recruited for a clinical randomized controlled trial. The intervention group (IG, n = 101) exercised for 60 and 50 min on land and in water, respectively, three times per week. The control group (n = 156) received usual standard care.

Results: The prevalence of GDM was reduced in the IG group (IG, 1%, n = 1, vs control group, 8.8%, n = 13 (χ1 = 6.84, P = 0.009)) with a significant risk estimate (odds ratio = 0.103; 95% confidence interval, 0.013-0.803).

Conclusion: The exercise program performed during pregnancy reduced the prevalence of GDM by preserving glucose tolerance.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01790412.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes, Gestational / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Swimming
  • Weight Gain


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01790412