Understanding exercise beliefs and behaviors in women with gestational diabetes mellitus

Danielle Symons Downs, Jan S. Ulbrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to examine the exercise beliefs and behaviors of postpartum women who had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during a recent pregnancy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Postpartum women with GDM (n = 28) completed a mail survey assessing their self-reported exercise beliefs (advantages, barriers, and important social influences) and behaviors. RESULTS - We found that 1) the strongest perceived advantage of exercise during pregnancy was controlling blood glucose and postpartum it was controlling weight, 2) the most common barrier to exercise during pregnancy was fatigue and postpartum it was a lack of time, 3) women's husband/partner most strongly influenced their exercise during pregnancy and postpartum, 4) women exercised more during the postpartum period than before or during pregnancy, and 5) the number of exercise advantages was positively associated with women's pregnancy and postpartum exercise behavior. CONCLUSIONS - To increase exercise behavior and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women with GDM, researchers and health care professionals are encouraged to use women's exercise beliefs, that is, advantages, social influences, and perceived barriers to exercise, as a framework for designing effective diabetes treatment and prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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