Exercise Key to Prevent Diabetes after Pregnancy

Diabetes after pregnancy is a very real risk for new mothers who have had gestational diabetes. In a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Wei Bao and colleagues found that after pregnancy, sufficient physical activity can cut the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes by almost half.

As part of the ongoing Diabetes and Women’s Health study, Bao et al analyzed data from 4,454 women with a history of gestational diabetes, followed from 1991 to 2007. In this cohort, they documented 635 new cases of type 2 diabetes. Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are more than seven times more likely to go on to develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

In a commentary accompanying this study, Monique Hedderson and Assiamira Ferrara called for more attention to evidence-based interventions to promote physical activity for at-risk populations of women. Said Hedderson:

The healthcare system needs to do a better job of understanding what works at preventing type 2 diabetes among high-risk women. It’s a challenging time for women during the post partum period when they have a baby. It’s important for young women to be physically active before, during and after pregnancy. That is the bottom line.

It’s time to translate these findings into meaningful action. We can do much more than just selling lots of trendy yoga togs to affluent women.

Click here to read more from Reuters, click here to read the study, and click here to read the commentary.

The Stroller Moms, photograph © Serge Melki / flickr

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