The effect of treadmill exercise prior to and during pregnancy on maternal and fetal outcome was studied in nondiabetic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Animals were exercised daily on a motorized treadmill (16.1 m/min, 45 min/d) for three weeks prior to mating and throughout gestation. The catabolic state of diabetes was evidenced by changes in maternal body composition. Overall, fetuses of diabetic dams were smaller, lighter, had less calcified skeletons and had more malformations compared to control fetuses. Exercise in the nondiabetic dams resulted in a retardation of skeletal ossification compared to fetuses from sedentary controls. However, exercise improved fetal outcome in diabetic rats, resulting in increased fetal weight and a lower frequency of malformations compared to fetuses from sedentary diabetic dams.
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