Exercising during pregnancy is a great way to keep feeling fit and healthy, with gentle physical exertion ideal for most women, however the benefits of exercise during pregnancy may be further reaching than first thought according to a new report.
A new US study has found that pregnant women who take up exercise regularly throughout their pregnancy may be helping their children to counter high blood pressure in later lie.
The researchers found that when they monitored physically active pregnant mothers to be, particularly those who kept active during the final three months of the pregnancy, that their children were then found to have significantly lower levels of blood pressure when they reached the age of 10.
This research is of particular interest to children who are born with a low birth weight as they have been found in the past to have an increased risk of high blood pressure which could potentially be counteracted by the exercise done by mothers during pregnancy.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, James Pivarnik, lead author and kinesiology professor at Michigan State University, said: ‘We looked at a range of normal birth weight babies, some falling at the lower end of the scale, and surprisingly we found that this lower birth weight and higher blood pressure relationship in these offspring is not supported if the women were physically active.
‘The connection was disrupted, indicating that exercise may in some way alter cardiovascular risk that occurs in utero (in the womb).”
During the research, studies were undertaken on 51 different women over a five year period with levels of physical activity both during pregnancy and after giving birth being monitored in relation to the future health of the child.
Within the study it was found that 12 women fitted into the regular exercise category and all of these women gave birth to children with lower blood pressure.
Prof Pivarnik said in the Daily Mail: ‘This told us that exercise during critical developmental periods may have more of a direct effect on the baby.
‘This is a good thing as it suggests that the regular exercise habits of the mother are good for heart health later in a child’s life’ he added.
The study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, concluded that regular physical activity by the mother is associated with ‘an alteration in the relationship between birth weight and systolic blood pressure’.