This review aimed to examine the literature related to non-medical strategies used to improve pregnancy outcomes of women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and to determine the risk of bias of the selected studies. Treatment for GDM is changing due to the increased prevalence of GDM-related maternal and neonatal complications. A growing body of evidence suggests that early detection, aggressive monitoring and management of GDM using non-medical strategies can greatly improve outcomes for pregnant women and their babies. PubMed® (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, USA), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature® (EBSCO Information Services, Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA), SCOPUS® (Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands) and other electronic databases were searched for relevant literature published between 2005–2015. A total of 15 studies on women with GDM that met the inclusion criteria were included in this review and assessment of risk of bias was performed for each study. The results of the studies were consistent with findings of significant improvement in maternal and neonatal outcomes when diet was combined with moderate exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose and individualised health education. Future intervention studies in this area should be focussed on identifying and implementing factors that enhance and encourage adherence to the healthy behaviours mentioned above.
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