Thursday, 3 April 2008

Pregnancy: how exercise is an effective as medication in treating gestational diabetes

As many as one in eight women will develop gestational diabetes sometime during their pregnancies, increasing health risks for themselves and their babies says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy. According to Dr Green (please see his excellent website researchers at the University of Southern California School of Medicine studied a group of women who had already developed gestational diabetes and who had fasting blood glucose levels high enough to require insulin. Half of the women in the study received the recommended insulin. The other half got personal trainers instead. The trainers supervised the women while they did simple twenty-minute stints on exercise bikes.

The results, says Dr. Green, were startling: moderate aerobic exercise was equally effective to insulin! Blood glucose levels were statistically the same in both groups.

Studies have already shown that exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and help to manage Type II diabetes, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, This adds to the weight of evidence that exercise is important during pregnancy and if you undertake moderate exercise during your pregnancy, you may avoid gestational diabetes in the first place.

A number of nutrients can also help prevent and alleviate gestational diabetes says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown as they are important in blood sugar regulation. They include: Magnesium, Chromium, Vanadium, Vitamin E, Vitamin C Zinc, Selenium and other anti-oxidants.

Making the correct food choices can ensure you include foods with the above nutrients which will in turn help you alleviate gestational diabetes or help you avoid this pregnancy health issue in the first place, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown.

To find out more about Nutritional support during or before your pregnancy, contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT), specialist in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2. I have also written a free e-book on how you can improve your diet during your pregnancy, which can be obtained by clicking on my link.

NB. Please talk to your midwife or GP before embarking on an exercise programme during your pregnancy (especially if you did not exercise regularly beforehand). Two useful websites regarding exercise include: and which supply pregnancy exercise balls/birthing balls.