9 of 10 Indian pregnant women lack exercise, run risk of gestational diabetes

9 of 10 Indian pregnant women lack exercise, run risk of gestational diabetes

Doctors have found that only one in 10 pregnant women do the required exercise during pregnancy

Many women treat pregnancy as a time to relax and take as much rest a they can before the baby arrives. And if you happen to put on a few kilos in the process, you take it as something that comes with it.

But, don't be surprised when your doctor asks you to exercise more than you think is required during pregnancy. Doctors have found that only one in 10 pregnant women do the required exercise during pregnancy. Most of them don't even realise that just sitting around can increase health risks manifold.

Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy

A study on physical activity patterns and gestational diabetes by a team of doctors from city-based Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre and Seethapathy Clinic and Hospital along with scientists at the International Diabetes Federation, Belgium, and Purdue University, US, has derived that a low cost model of care can help improve the physical activity in women with gestational diabetes and can help control their sugar levels, reducing resulting adverse neonatal outcomes.

The study called`WINGS' (women in India with gestational diabetes strategy) involved nearly 800 pregnant women and looked at effects of exercise intervention on change in physical activity patterns, blood glucose levels and pregnancy outcomes. It found that only 10.7% of pregnant women did the recommended level of physical activity.

Recommended activity for pregnant women

The recommended level of physical activity for pregnant women is at least 30 minutes of brisk walking every day in the first two trimesters and as much as one can in the last trimester.

The study also observed that those with gestational diabetes- 189 in the study -led a more sedentary life compared to the other women. However, brisk walking reduced risks of adverse impact on the infant's health by up to 70%.

In 2014, another major national study had found that less than 10% of Indians did any kind of physical activity and 54.4% of the population was physically inactive.

The study showed that one in two Indians was inactive. In an attempt to increase physical activity in women with gestational diabetes, the doctor encouraged them to use a pedometer, an instrument that counts steps.

After intervention, moderate activity increased from 15.2% to 26.5% and sedentary lifestyle decreased from 84.8% to 73.5%.

This lead to decrease in daily sugar levels, but no major changes in HbA1C. Overall, 19.3% of women had adverse outcomes - 13.3% children with higher birth weight, 3.2% admissions to neonatal ICUs and 1.3 % with low blood sugar.

But deeper analysis showed a 70% decrease in risk for adverse neonatal outcomes even after adjusting for confounding variables.

This news was originally published in The Times Of India

Also Read: Potato-rich diet may increase the risk of Gestational Diabetes

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