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Exercise during pregnancy leads to a healthier heart in moms- and babies-to-be
Date:4/7/2008

ng the MCG in order to determine fetal state and to track heart rate accelerations. The recordings were done at four-week intervals. The data were derived from fetal MCG conducted in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and in the postnatal period. The data captured was used to measure fetal heart rate (HR) as derived from the fetal MCG recordings.

Ten women participated in the study. Each was classified as either an exerciser (n=5) or control (n=5). The women were grouped according to the frequency, intensity, and length of physical activity they engaged in (i.e., moderate-to-heavy intensity aerobic activity for 30 minutes per session three times per week or the metabolic equivalent).

Findings

The researchers found:

  • there were significantly lower heart rates among fetuses that had been exposed to maternal exercise. The heart rates among non-exposed fetuses were higher, regardless of the fetal activity or the gestational age.

  • at each stage of gestation the differences between the fetal heart rates of the two groups were statistically significant (p<0.05 using a t-test with equal variances).

  • the analysis of short- and long-term heart variability at 28, 32 and 36 weeks of gestation in exercise-exposed vs. non-exercise-exposed fetuses were statistically different at 32 wks. This trend is still seen at 36 wks, however it is not significant.

Conclusions

According to Dr. May, This study suggests that a mother who exercises may not only be imparting health benefits to her own heart, but to her developing babys heart as well. As a result of this pilot study, we plan to continue the study to include more pregnant women.


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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@the-aps.org
619-525-6202
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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