Pregnancy and post-partum muscle and cerebral oxygenation during intermittent exercise in gestational diabetes: A pilot study


Objective: This pilot, prospective, observational, cohort study aimed to examine, for the first time, the in vivo alterations in the oxygenation of the forearm skeletal muscles and the prefrontal lobes during intermittent exercise in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), during and after pregnancy. Study Design: Nine pregnant women, diagnosed with GDM, performed a 3-min intermittent handgrip exercise protocol (at 35% of Maximal Voluntary Contraction) during pregnancy (mean 27th gestational week) and following labor (mean 71 weeks). During the protocol, muscle and cerebral oxygenation were assessed with near-infrared spectroscopy. Resting vascular parameters [carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and hemodynamic parameters (using rheocardiography)], and hematological/biochemical parameters during pregnancy and after delivery have been compared. Results: Although changes were observed in certain hematological parameters (p< 0.05), cIMT and hemodynamic parameters were not altered post-partum. In addition, both muscle and cerebral oxygenation parameters during handgrip were not significantly altered post-partum. Conclusions: Despite significant changes in specific hematological parameters in women with GDM, impairments in muscle and cerebral oxygenation during exercise remained at one year after labor. These results indicate that alterations in vascular parameters and muscle/cerebral oxygenation associated with GDM do not entirely reverse post-partum. Future studies are needed to examine which interventions will lead to improvements in microvascular parameters and prevent type 2 diabetes.

European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology