By Amanda Dolan for Uterus1
If you're trying to prevent yourself from giving birth to a baby that weighs too much--exercising during pregnancy is not going to do it. New studies from Norway found that exercising during pregnancy has little effect upon the birth weight of the infant. Exercising during pregnancy, which is still considered a good idea for both the health of the mother and baby, does not impact the effectively add or subtract from the weight of the developing fetus. However, the studies did find a strong association between women who were overweight or heavy before becoming pregnant having a baby that weighed more upon birth. So, if you are hoping to conceive, it is important to consider getting your weight and overall health in check beforehand.
The study focused on the pre-pregnancy weight, exercise during pregnancy, and birth weight of 43,705 women ages 15 to 49 who became pregnant with one fetus. They used the standard measure of weight Body Mass Index (BMI), which among the studied women was a 24 on average. While a BMI over 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. The team of researchers found that for every single unit increase of a woman's prepregnancy BMI led to 20 grams (0.7 ounces) heavier weight at birth. For example, a BMI increase of 5 units (29 instead of 24) would result in a birth weight increase of 103 grams (3.63 ounces).
The women studied walked briskly, jogged, bicycled, did aerobics, worked on fitness of weight training, and participated in other physical activity about 6 times per month during the first 17 weeks of pregnancy and about 4 times per month until week 30. The average weight of the infants at birth was 3,677 (~8lb) and showed little change due to the aforementioned exercise and physical activity by the mother. This showed, to researchers, that exercising during pregnancy could not be used as a way to "normalize" am infant's birth weight. The researchers suggest that health care professionals and doctors should focus, instead, on preventing and treating overweight and obese women of childbearing age as a way to reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby that weighs too much. As always, exercise is a great way to feel happy and healthy so those who choose to exercise during pregnancy should go for it but feel free to ask their doctor for any recommendations regarding regimens or questions about healthy fetuses, birth weight, or BMI.
Read the whole story from Reuters here
Yet another study points to the great importance of keeping obesity and unhealthiness due to extra body weight as a foremost concern of patients and doctors. What do you think?
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