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Effect of relaxation exercise on fasting blood glucose and blood pressure in gestational diabetes

02 September 2019
10 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 9

Abstract

Background

Gestational diabetes is a growing problem worldwide, with risks for both the woman and the baby. Stress has been shown to be linked with diabetes, and therefore research is examining the effect of relaxation on blood pressure.

Aim

To assess the effect of relaxation on blood glucose and blood pressure in women with gestational diabetes mellitus.

Methods

This quasi-experimental study was performed with a sample of 80 participants. Fasting blood glucose and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured before and after the intervention, which was a 10-week programme of home mind-body and relaxation.

Findings

Both systolic blood pressure and fasting blood glucose in the control group were significantly higher (P<0.001). Diastolic blood pressure in both groups was not found to be significantly different (P=0.151).

Conclusions

Relaxation exercises reduce fasting blood glucose and systolic blood pressure in women with gestational diabetes mellitus.

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common complications of pregnancy (Spaight et al, 2016). The prevalence of gestational diabetes in developed and developing countries is increasing (Donovan et al, 2016). It has been reported to occur in 1–14% of pregnancies globally (Schwarz et al, 2015) and 3.4% of pregnancies in Iran (Jafari-Shobeiri et al, 2015). Gestational diabetes results in adverse outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth, including development of type 2 diabetes, gestational hypertension, and increased risk of childbirth and congenital anomalies due to impairments in blood glucose control (Shang and Lin, 2014; Ekhtiari et al, 2016).

Knowledge of the risks of gestational diabetes can increase women's fear, anxiety and depression, and women who have gestational diabetes mellitus have been shown to worry more than other women (Byrn and Penckofer, 2015). Despite the fact that diabetes has a strong link with stress and tension, physical and mental stress also leads the body to diabetes (Çakir et al, 2014; Kaviani et al, 2014). The effect of daily stress on diabetes control is less recognised. Endocrinologists have found that stress and psychoactive stimuli cause hyperglycaemic conditions and increase blood pressure in women with diabetes (Zare et al, 2013; Khani et al, 2017). Decreasing stress in people with diabetes is therefore important (Seidi et al, 2016).

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