Optimizing blood glucose control through timing of exercise in pregnant individuals diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus

  • Author / Creator
    Reid, Ly-Anh
  • Exercise is known to help control blood glucose values in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Research has shown that controlling postprandial blood glucose values is key in improving glycemia and maternal/fetal health outcomes. However there is no research on the optimal timing of exercise. Exercise prescriptions that can better manage postprandial blood glucose values and can be translated into clinical practice are critically needed for women with GDM. This study was developed to investigate the optimal timing of light-to-moderate intensity exercise on postprandial and 24h blood glucose values in pregnant individuals with and without GDM. Five pregnant women with GDM and five without wore a flash glucose monitoring system for 14 days. They each completed two exercise interventions in random order. The first intervention required participants to walk for 10 minutes immediately following meals three times per day (SHORT), while the complementary condition required participants to go for one 30-minute walk each day at any time other than within the hour immediately following their meals (LONG). Both conditions occurred for a duration of 5 days with a two day washout in between, for a total of 150 mins of light to moderate intensity physical activity per week. Dietary intake and physical activity were not different between groups prior to the intervention. Fasting, 24h mean, peak, nadir glucose values and time > 7.8 mmol/L were significantly higher in the women with GDM compared to the normoglycemic group pre-intervention. There was a significant effect of group by condition whereby the GDM group had significantly higher 1 hour postprandial blood glucose values after lunch and dinner in the NORMAL and LONG condition, but not in the SHORT. Shorter, more frequent bouts of physical activity compared to one longer bout of physical activity more effectively normalize GDM 1h post-lunch and dinner glucose values to be comparable with that of a normoglycemic pregnant group. Fasting, 24h mean, and nadir glucose values were not influenced by exercise. Both exercise conditions were effective at reducing peak glucose values and time spent > 7.8 mmol/L in women with GDM to be comparable with that of the healthy pregnant population. Results from this study may have clinical relevance and may help healthcare providers and patients better manage blood glucose values during GDM.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.