Exercise may solve diabetes dilemma

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Pregnant women will be asked to get on their bikes as part of a major WA study.

The Cycle Study, involving at least 200 women with a history of gestational diabetes, aims to prevent a recurrence and reduce the chances of obesity and diabetes in offspring.

... Gestational diabetes, which is glucose intolerance that first occurs during pregnancy, affects up to 8.8 per cent of pregnant women.

... the increased health risks for the child following a pregnancy complicated by poorly controlled gestational diabetes represented a grave future health problem in our community.

... The risk of a pregnant woman developing gestational diabetes was higher in those overweight or obese and for those with a history of the disease in pregnancy the risk of recurrence was 55 per cent but could reach 69 per cent.

... 35 per cent of women aged 25-35 were overweight or obese.

Gestational diabetes placed the mother and infant at great risk of many serious health problems.

... these included pre-eclampsia, infection and postpartum haemorrhage ... The disease also had ramifications for the infant, who could grow big in the womb. The excessive growth occurred disproportionately, mainly in the shoulders rather than the head.

The baby could also suffer from hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, at birth. Babies with high birth weights were at increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in later years.

In the Cycle Study, half the women will participate in three 60-minute exercise sessions each week, starting at 14 weeks gestation, for a total of 14 weeks.

... It is hoped the intervention will reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes by 40 per cent ...