The aim of this review is to provide general suggestions on physical activity (PA) in pre-gestational and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and encourage women to take part in safe and effective activities throughout pregnancy, in the absence of other contraindications. PA before and during pregnancy and in postpartum has many positive effects on the mother, as it could reduce the risk of GDM, excessive weight gain and lower back pain and also prevents, in the postpartum, diabetes mellitus. It may also reduce the duration of labour and complications at childbirth, fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression, thereby leading to an improved sense of wellbeing. Clinically, it is thought to help prevent preeclampsia and premature birth even though RCTs provide conflicting evidence with regard to the prevention of GDM. The main reason for this rests on the fact that the majority of clinical trials have not been able to replicate the preventive effect of PA on the onset of GDM, such as the different adherence of the patient to PA. Herein, we survey the literature regarding exercise and PA on GDM prevention and treatment as well as on clinical outcomes in pre-GDM in pregnancy. On the basis of the current literature, we also present a series of general recommendations and suggestions on PA and exercise training in pregnancy among both diabetic patients and those at risk for GDM.
Keywords: Diabetes; Exercise training; Gestational diabetes; Physical activity.
Copyright © 2018 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.