Exercise for diabetic pregnant women

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Last Updated on 2009-11-07

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Abstract

Background

Diabetes in pregnancy may result in unfavourable maternal and neonatal outcomes. Exercise was proposed as an additional strategy to improve glycaemic control. The effect of exercise during pregnancies complicated by diabetes needs to be assessed.

Objectives

To evaluate the effect of exercise programs, alone or in conjunction with other therapies, compared to no specific program or to other therapies, in pregnant women with diabetes on perinatal and maternal morbidity and on the frequency of prescription of insulin to control glycaemia. To compare the effectiveness of different types of exercise programs on perinatal and maternal morbidity.

Search strategy

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 December 2005). We updated this search on 1 October 2009 and added the results to the awaiting classification section.

Selection criteria

All known randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of exercise in diabetic pregnant women on perinatal outcome and maternal morbidity.

Data collection and analysis

We evaluated relevant studies for meeting the inclusion criteria and methodological quality. Three review authors abstracted the data. For all data analyses, we entered data based on the principle of intention to treat. We calculated relative risks and 95% confidence intervals for dichotomous data.

Main results

Four trials, involving 114 pregnant women with gestational diabetes, were included in the review. None included pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Women were recruited during the third trimester and the intervention was performed for about six weeks. The programs generally consisted in exercising three times a week for 20 to 45 minutes. We found no significant difference between exercise and the other regimen in all the outcomes evaluated.

Authors' conclusions

There is insufficient evidence to recommend, or advise against, diabetic pregnant women to enrol in exercise programs. Further trials, with larger sample size, involving women with gestational diabetes, and possibly type 1 and 2 diabetes, are needed to evaluate this intervention.

[Note: The six citations in the awaiting classification section of the review may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.]

Plain Language Summary

Exercise for diabetic pregnant women

Insufficient information available to recommend or advise against diabetic pregnant women enrolling on exercise programs.

Exercise was proposed to improve glycaemic control in pregnant women with diabetes. Four small trials involving 114 pregnant women evaluated this intervention. None included pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. There is insufficient evidence to recommend, or advise against, diabetic pregnant women enrolling in exercise programs. Further trials, with larger sample size, are needed.

Citation

Ceysens, Gilles; Rouiller, Dominique; Boulvain, Michel; Ceysens, Gilles; Exercise for diabetic pregnant women (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library 2010 Issue 1. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.