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Physically active moms-to-be give babies a head start on heart health
Date:4/7/2011

hat an extra Zumba class or lap around the park could put her baby on a path to heart health puts an extra spring in her step.

"I had been regularly exercising many hours a week for years before I got pregnant and felt no need to change anything after I became pregnant," said Gifford, who was not involved in the study. "Of course, I checked with my doctor and researched websites to make sure I wasn't causing my baby any harm, but it seemed to be the consensus to keep doing what I was doing as long as I felt OK -- and I have! I feel great and haven't been sick a day. It's been really beneficial to both me and my baby, and I hope it helps both of us long-term as well."

May's research team's latest investigation involved 61 moms-to-be and monitored maternal-fetal and infant heart function four times over the course of the study. The women's aerobic activity levels ranged from power walking to running. Some of the more active participants also lifted weights and practiced yoga.

"The system that controls heart function is known to improve with regular aerobic exercise," May says, "and improved heart control function is evidence of a healthy cardiovascular system and overall health. Not only did the mothers' exercise help maintain and improve their own health, but it set their babies up for a healthier start."

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Room 101 of the Walter E Washington Convention Center in D.C., May will present her findings during a 30-minute talk before the American Association of Anatomists at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting.

The research team's work is funded by the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

May's collaborators include: Kathleen Gustafson, a research assistant professor at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at KUMC; Henry Yeh, a statistician at KUMC; Alan Glaros, a statistician at KCUMB; and Richard Suminsk
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Contact: Angela Hopp
ahopp@asbmb.org
301-634-7389
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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