The Role of Lifestyle Interventions in the Prevention and Treatment of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Medicina (Kaunas). 2023 Feb 1;59(2):287. doi: 10.3390/medicina59020287.


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common pregnancy-related endocrinopathies, affecting up to 25% of pregnancies globally. GDM increases the risk of perinatal and delivery complications, and the chance of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications, including cardiovascular diseases. This elevated risk is then passed on to the next generation, creating a cycle of metabolic dysfunction across generations. For many years, GDM preventive measures have had inconsistent results, but recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have identified promising new preventative routes. This review aims to summarize the evidence investigating the efficacy of lifestyle treatments for the prevention of GDM and to summarize the effects of two lifestyle interventions, including physical activity and dietary interventions. Based on the present research, future studies should be conducted to investigate whether initiating lifestyle interventions during the preconception period is more beneficial in preventing GDM. In addition, research targeting pregnancy should be designed with a personalized approach. Therefore, studies should customize intervention approaches depending on the presence of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors at the individual level.

Keywords: GDM; diet; gestational diabetes mellitus; lifestyle interventions; physical activity; prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / prevention & control
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Pregnancy

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.