Physical activity energy expenditure and glucose control in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes

Kavita Kumareswaran, Daniela Elleri, Janet M Allen, Karen Caldwell, Kate Westgate, Soren Brage, Philippa Raymond-Barker, Marianna Nodale, Malgorzata E Wilinska, Stephanie A Amiel, Roman Hovorka, Helen R Murphy

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OBJECTIVE: To describe activity patterns in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes and evaluate the impact of increased structured physical activity on glucose control.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) and glucose levels (continuous glucose monitoring) were measured in 10 pregnant women with type 1 diabetes (age 33.2 years, gestation 20 weeks, BMI 27.9 kg/m(2), diabetes duration 16.6 years, HbA1c 6.5% [48 mmol/mol], insulin pump duration 2.4 years) during a day at home (free-living) and during a 24-h visit incorporating controlled diet and structured physical activity with light intensity activity (three 20-min self-paced walks) and moderate intensity activity (two 50-min sessions of brisk treadmill walking). PAEE was evaluated through individually calibrated combined heart rate and movement sensing.

RESULTS: Free-living PAEE was comparable to that under controlled study conditions (3.8 and 5.1 kcal/kg/day, P = 0.241), with women achieving near to the recommended 30 min of moderate physical activity (median 27 min [interquartile range 14-68]). During the free-living period, more time was spent in light activity (10.3 vs. 7.2 h, P = 0.005), with less sedentary time (13.0 vs. 14.9 h, P = 0.047) and less moderate activity (27 vs. 121 min, P = 0.022). The free-living 24-h mean glucose levels by continuous glucose monitoring were significantly higher (7.7 vs. 6.0 mmol/L, P = 0.028). The effect of controlled diet and exercise persisted overnight, with significantly less time spent hyperglycemic (19 vs. 0%, P = 0.028) and less glucose variability (glucose SD 1.3 vs. 0.7 mmol/L, P = 0.022).

CONCLUSIONS: A controlled diet and structured physical activity program may assist women with type 1 diabetes in achieving optimal glucose control during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1101
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies

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