Benefits Include Stronger Blood Vessels
Exercise during pregnancy is good for you, of course — it can lead to an easier delivery, and it can also help you get back into shape faster after birth. A new study, however, shows that it’s not just Mom who benefits from prenatal exercise.
Researchers from the U.S. and Germany said that a recent study, carried out on pigs, shows that maternal exercise can help a baby’s vascular function in adulthood. Pregnant pigs were exercised (on a treadmill) 20 to 45 minutes, five days a week. The quality of the blood vessels in the offspring pigs was found to be higher for those whose mothers “worked out” on a regular basis than their non-exercising peers.
They suspect that the exercise routines of the mothers helps condition and program the blood vessels of the babies, which can lead to fewer heart health problems in adulthood.
Pigs have been found to have human-like responses to physical activity, which is why they were chosen for this study. Prior research has focused on babies at an early age, so this is the first to address exercise benefits on adult offspring.
‘“We are only starting to understand how exercise during gestation influences offspring adult health and disease,” said Dr Sean Newcomer, of California State University San Marcos USA, and Dr Martin Bahls, of Universitätsmedizin Greifswald Germany. “Results like ours may help to create guidelines enabling women to make the best decisions for them and their children by providing evidence based health choices.”
The general recommendations for exercise during pregnancy is that you should speak with your care provider first. Usually moms who already have an exercise routine can continue, sometimes with modifications, and moms who don’t can work with their health team to determine what exercise they can begin.