The Effect of Exercise Interventions on Gestational Diabetes: A Systematic Review


  • Şafak YİĞİT Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Graduate Education Institute Biruni University, Istanbul, Turkey;Department of Therapy and Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Program Vocational School, Istanbul Galata University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Büşra ÜLKER EKŞİ Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Graduate Education Institute Biruni University, Istanbul, Turkey;Department of Therapy and Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Program Vocational School, Istanbul Galata University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Arzu RAZAK ÖZDİNÇLER Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Biruni University, Istanbul, Turkey



Blood sugar, Diabetes, Exercise, Gestational


Objective: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most common metabolic disease occurring during pregnancy and it has been observed that GDM rates have increased significantly worldwide in the last 20 years. It has been reported that being physically active during pregnancy is beneficial for the fetus and mother, and that exercise can be effective in preventing possible complications associated with GDM. The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the effects of exercise interventions on glycemic index, gestational age, obstetric and neonatal outcomes in gestational diabetes. This study was prepared according to the PRISMA-P (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis Protocols) guideline.

Materials and Methods: Articles to be included in the study; articles between 2012-2022 were searched in Web of Science, Cochrane Library, PUBMED, Scopus and Science Direct electronic databases. In the scans, the terms “gestational diabetes”, “exercise” and “combined exercise”, “pregnancy” or “pregnant” and “diabetes” and “exercise”, and “gestational diabetes” and “exercise” and MeSH terms the keywords were used and clinical studies were filtered out.

Results: Nine randomized controlled studies with 1228 pregnant women with GDM were included in the review. As a result of the compiled randomized controlled studies, it was found that the exercise intervention in pregnant women diagnosed with GDM changed the fasting blood glucose level between 0.3-1.2 mmol and the 2-hour postprandial blood glucose level between 0.2-0.5 mmol, so exercise was an effective factor on fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels.

Conclusion: This systematic review suggests that women diagnosed with GDM can improve their physical activity motivation during pregnancy and in the prevention of complications that may arise due to glycemic management, insulin use, blood sugar level, maternal and neonatal glucose intolerance with exercise intervention. Interventions should aim to follow-up participants postpartum to understand the long-term benefits of antenatal exercise intervention.


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How to Cite

YİĞİT, Şafak ., ÜLKER EKŞİ, B., & RAZAK ÖZDİNÇLER, A. (2023). The Effect of Exercise Interventions on Gestational Diabetes: A Systematic Review. WORLD WOMEN STUDIES JOURNAL, 8(2), 291–307.