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Vol. 23. Issue 2.
Pages 148-155 (01 March 2019)
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Vol. 23. Issue 2.
Pages 148-155 (01 March 2019)
Original research
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.11.005
Exercise during pregnancy has a preventative effect on excessive maternal weight gain and gestational diabetes. A randomized controlled trial
Ruben Barakata,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author at: Martín Fierro 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain.
, Ignacio Refoyoa, Javier Coterona, Evelia Francob
a AFIPE Research Group, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
b Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid, Spain

  • Exercise in pregnancy is associated with better control of maternal weight gain.

  • Moderate regular exercise throughout pregnancy prevents gestational diabetes.

  • Healthy pregnant women should be encourage to exercise regularly.

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Figures (1)
Tables (3)
Table 1. Maternal characteristics.
Table 2. Maternal weight gain, oral glucose tolerance test and gestational diabetes.
Table 3. Other maternal and newborn outcomes.
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Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with several adverse events and pathologies during pregnancy.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an exercise program throughout pregnancy on maternal weight gain and prevalence of gestational diabetes.


A randomized controlled trial was designed that included an exercise intervention group (EG) and standard care control group (CG). The exercise intervention included moderate aerobic exercise performed three days per week (50–55minutes per session) for 8–10 weeks to 38–39 weeks gestation.


594 pregnant women were assessed for eligibility and 456 were included (EG n=234; CG n=222). The results showed a higher percentage of pregnant women gained excessive weight in the CG than in the EG (30.2% vs 20.5% respectively; odds ratio, 0.597; 95% confidence interval, 0.389–0.916; p=0.018). Similarly, the prevalence of gestational diabetes was significantly higher in the CG than the EG (6.8% vs 2.6% respectively; odds ratio, 0.363; 95% confidence interval, 0.138–0.953; p=0.033).


The results of this trial indicate that exercise throughout pregnancy can reduce the risk of excessive maternal weight gain and gestational diabetes.

Physical therapy
Weight gain
Gestational diabetes


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