[<< wikibooks] Exercise as it relates to Disease/Gestational Diabetes in Pregnant woman and the benefits of physical activity
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) in pregnancy is a metabolic short term condition and is one of the most common complications during pregnancy. It can be characterised when blood glucose levels are higher than normal for the first time during pregnancy and not previously diagnosed with other forms of diabetes. This is a results of an inability of the insulin receptors to receive glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy and insulin is what allows the glucose to be uptaken by the tissue. Due to the hormonal changes in the female body during pregnancy these receptors decrease in sensitivity. GDM affects 1 in 20 pregnancies each year in Australia, however it commonly goes undiagnosed. GDM retracts after birth and blood glucose levels return to normal. Even so, after pregnancy the risk of developing type II Diabetes significantly increases to both the mother and child.Typically, 3 to 8% of pregnant woman will develop gestational diabetes and it generally occurs around the 24th – 28th week.Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
BMI >25
Family history
Having gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
Age (higher risk if 30 years or older).
Being known to have insulin resistance
Previously having a large baby
A previous unexplained stillbirth
Lifestyle (poor diet, smoking, inactivity)Gestational Diabetes is also common in indigenous Australian’s, Torres Strait Islanders, Vietnamese, Chinese, middle eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background 

== Symptoms ==
GDM doesn’t often have any symptoms which is why it is commonly undiagnosed. It is typical of a woman to have a glucose-screen tests around the 3rd trimester to eliminate any risk of complications. Even so, having high levels of glucose in the blood may cause some of the following: 

Excessive thirst
Passing a lot of urine
Blurred vision

== Complications ==
GDM poses serious short- and long-term consequences for both mother and child. Monitoring and good management of blood glucose levels can limit and avoid complications.

===== Complications for the mother include =====
20-50% increase risk of developing type II diabetes within 5–10 years after giving birth.
Increased risk of maternal infection postpartum
Increased risk of thrombosis
Still born
Increased risk of maternal infection postpartum
Caesarean section (due to large baby)
Preterm delivery

===== Complications for the fetus =====
Birth injuries
Macrosomia/Increased weight
Fetal distress
Glucose intolerance
Memory deficits in childhood
Increase risk of developing type II diabetes
Congenital malformation (birth defect. Most commonly cleft palate)
Hypoglycaemia, hypocalcaemia and hypomagnesaemia

== Treatment/Management ==
Managing GDM is done by monitoring blood glucose levels and maintaining a sufficient level. 4 to 6 mmol/L in a fasting state is recommended. Diabetes Australia recommends blood glucose monitoring (monitors are provided by Doctors and each patient is trained to use them at home) but also adopting a healthy eating diet and include physical activity. Insulin injection is only recommended if lifestyle changes are not improving the blood glucose levels. 10-20% of woman will need insulin injections during the pregnancy.

=== Physical Activity ===
Studies show that moderate exercise helps to improve the body’s ability to process glucose, keeping blood sugar levels at a reasonable level. Research also suggests that being physically active before pregnancy reduce the risk of developing GDM during the pregnancy by 56%. Further being active before and during reduces the risk by 75% 

===== Before Pregnancy =====
To gain the most health benefit, alternate both moderate exercise and vigorous exercise on different days.                  

===== During pregnancy =====
Flexibility exercise such as yoga have been recommended 2 days/wk Caution should be noted and exercise should not be undertaken if experiencing; weakness, dizziness and light headed.

===== Post Birth =====
To prevent developing type II diabetes, if GDM had been developed during pregnancy, physical activity is highly recommended for both mother and child as the risk of development is significantly increased 5 to 10 years after birth. Research as well as the American College of Sport Medicine guidelines all suggest similar amounts of physical activity which reflect the Australian’s physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines. These guidelines are outline below Adults age 18–64 years  

Children age 5–12 years

Click on this link to view more detail and the sedentary behaviour guideline

== Further reading ==
Diabetes Australia
American Diabetes Association – Gestation Diabetes
Australian Diabetes Council – Healthy Eating
Australian Diabetes Council – Physical Activity 

== References ==