Why isn't Exercise a Primary Treatment for Gestational Diabetes?
Exercise is commonly reduced during pregnancy, often due to practical barriers such as time or misconceptions around safety of commencing or continuing exercise. These barriers, in part, contribute to 60-70% pregnant women being insufficiently active for health benefits. This relative reduction in exercise is counterproductive to the management of metabolic health, including prevention or management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
GDM is associated with obstetric risks for mother and baby, as well as post-partum metabolic changes that can advance to chronic cardiometabolic dysfunction later in both mother and offspring. This intergenerational effect of GDM has been identified as a critical contributor to increases in the prevalence of both obesity and diabetes.
Exercise is an established essential treatment for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Yet the utilisation of exercise as a primary therapy for GDM remains limited.
This webinar will provide an overview of the physiological complexities of glycaemic control in women with GDM, the current evidence for effectiveness of exercise for GDM prevention and management, and the practical implications for exercise prescription for glycaemic control in pregnant women, including those with GDM.
Specifically, this will explore normal and abnormal metabolic changes in pregnancy; the short and long-term adverse effects of poor maternal glycaemic control on cardiometabolic responses in mother and offspring; the current challenges that beliefs and behaviours of pregnant women provide in utilising exercise as a strategy for improving glycaemic control; and what the evidence currently supports in terms of the effectiveness of exercise for women at risk of, or diagnosed with GDM.
The recording is of a webinar presented by ESSA on 25 September 2019.
Presented by Ms Angela Douglas, MSc(Res), BExScRehab(Hon 1), ESSAM, AEP
Angela currently works at the University of Canberra, teaching across a range clinical domains and professional practice areas of the EP degree and managing the clinical placement program. She previously held a similar role at the University of Wollongong. Angela has worked as an AEP since 2006 and has been fortunate to gain a wide range of clinical practice experience in multidisciplinary services within hospitals, private practice, medical centres, and community-based programs.
Angela completed her M.Sc (Research) degree looking into therapeutic effects of exercise for glycaemic control during pregnancy. She recently presented the outcomes of her study at the British Association for Sport and Exercise Science (BASES) annual conference in Harrogate, UK.
Her interest in metabolic health also extends to mental health, particularly around reducing physical health disparity and enhancing mental health consumer access to allied health services as part of standard care. She has a strong interest in fostering true person-centred care, therapeutic relationships, community engagement and emerging student placements in non-traditional settings as a means for growing allied health in critical areas.
Angela has been on the ESSA Professional Standards Council since 2015, and prior to that was part of the NSW ESSA State Chapter since 2009.
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