12. tbl. 105. árg. 2019

Prescribing physical activity after labour, for women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus

Meðferð með hreyfiseðli í kjölfar meðgöngusykursýki

Background: The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has been rapidly increasing in Iceland and 19% of women who gave birth at Landspítali – University hospital in 2018 were diagnosed with GDM. Women who develop GDM in pregnancy have an increased risk of recurrence in future pregnancies, as well as an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are known risk factors for the development of GDM. Prescribing physical activity has become an available treatment option in all Icelandic primary healthcare centres. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of prescribing postpartum exercise for women with a history of GDM on their physical activity level, quality of life, BMI and biochemical markers typical for metabolic syndrome.

Materials and methods: Women who delivered from 1st January 2016 to 30th June 2017 and sought prenatal care at healthcare centres within the Primary Health Care of the Capital Area were offered participation in the study. Participants were randomly divided into two groups, with one group being prescribed physical activity for five months while the other group received standard treatment of care. Blood tests (fasting blood sugar, HbA1c, cholesterol and insulin levels), BMI, general activity level and the patient‘s quality of life were measured at both three and eight months postpartum.

Results: 84 women participated, 45 were assigned to the treatment group and 39 to the control group. General activity levels
increased significantly in the treatment group, but no significant changes were seen in their blood test values. The treatment
suggested an improvement trend in the women‘s BMI and quality of life, but the results were not significant. Women who breastfed had significantly lower insulin levels than women not breastfeeding. There was a stronger positive correlation between BMI and insulin levels than between fasting blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

Conclusion: Prescribing physical activity after delivery for women with a history of GDM significantly increased their general activity level and breastfeeding seems to have a lowering effect on insulin levels.

Figure I.  The correlation between s-insulin and BMI (r=0,69) and between s-insulin and fasting blood sugar (r=0,44) in the beginning of the study period.

Table I.  Number of participants (N), mean value (M), standard deviation (SD) and p-value (p) at the beginning and at the end of the study period. * see appendix.

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