Lifestyle Interventions During Pregnancy Reduce Gestational Diabetes Risk

Three pregnant women doing yoga.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends lifestyle interventions delivered during the first two trimesters of pregnancy to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Compared to usual care, lifestyle interventions reduced the overall risk of developing gestational diabetes by 32%.

The recommendation is based on strong evidence of effectiveness for lifestyle interventions that provide supervised exercise classes, either alone or in combination with lifestyle education and counseling. The CPSTF also finds sufficient evidence of effectiveness for lifestyle interventions that provide education and counseling for diet or physical activity, diet activities, or a combination of these components.

A team of specialists in systematic review methods and in diabetes management research, practice, and policy assessed evidence from 29 studies identified in the following published review:

Song C, Li J, Leng J, Ma R C, and Yang X. Lifestyle intervention can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews 2016; 17: 960 9.

About half of all women who develop gestational diabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life (CDC, 2017). Babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes are at higher risk of being born early, having low blood sugar, and developing obesity later in life (CDC, 2017).

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