A new study in mice has found that exercise can benefit obese pregnant mothers. Exercise before or during pregnancy can restore the key tissues of the body. That enables a person to regulate the blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of long term health issues. The journal Physiological Reports has published these results.
Exercise can prevent excessive weight gain and diabetes during pregnancy
In the UK, more than 50% of women of reproductive age are overweight or obese. While 1/3rd of pregnant women are obese. Obesity in pregnancy is one of the major health concerns. It can lead to health issues like gestational diabetes. That makes both the mother and infant prone to diabetes type 2 in the years after pregnancy.
Exercise may benefit obese pregnant mothers as it can prevent excess weight gain and diabetes during pregnancy. It can improve blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes in non-pregnant women. In pregnant women, it is helpful for both the mother and her baby.
In women who already have gestational diabetes, it can also avoid the need for insulin. Up till now, only a little info was present about the effect of exercise on the tissues of obese pregnant mothers.
In this study, the research team has fed mice with high fat and sugary diet until they became obese. Then these obese mice did a daily exercise of 20 minutes (on a treadmill) for at least a week before pregnancy.
And for 12.5 minutes a day up till the 17th day of pregnancy. While in mice, the pregnancy lasts for about 20 days. The team has also found that the positive effects on the health of obese mothers are related to the changes in key signaling pathways.
Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and avoids the risk of long-term health problems
A moderate level of exercise before and during pregnancy can bring notable changes in tissues of the obese mother. The tissues may appear more similar to those of a non-obese mother. The key organs affected by exercise are skeletal muscles, liver, and adipose tissues.
Exercise affects the key signaling pathways engaged in the body’s response to insulin. In the case of low insulin sensitivity, a large amount of insulin is required to control blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that increases the uptake of glucose by skeletal muscle and white adipose tissues.
Exercise can also affect pathways that have a role in the storage and breakdown of lipids, and in growth, and the synthesis of proteins. The research team has found that the greatest number of changes were present in white adipose tissues in response to exercise.
These tissues in obese pregnant women became similar to that in non-obese pregnant mothers. This suggests that the insulin resistance by white adipose tissues may have led to poor control of blood sugar levels in obese pregnancies.
The previous work has shown that in obese mothers, exercise can improve glucose handling and insulin sensitivity in the whole body. Also, it can avoid the risk of insulin resistant in the babies of obese mothers after birth.
Exercise can benefit many pregnant obese mothers. It may be important to reduce the risk of adverse health issues in the mother and her child. These results stress the importance of an active lifestyle and a healthy diet before and during pregnancy.