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Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Date:9/21/2009

Low-impact aerobics safe, beneficial throughout pregnancy, study suggests

MONDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Along with keeping mom healthy, regular exercise during pregnancy helps prevent excessive newborn weight, a new study shows.

Published in the October issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Norwegian researchers found that the odds of delivering a too-big baby dropped by as much as 28 percent in women who exercised regularly in their second and third trimesters during their first pregnancy.

"Women often adopt healthier habits before and during pregnancy, like stopping caffeine use. This study suggests that adding exercise to that list may be icing on the cake," said Dr. Robert Welch, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich.

Known medically as fetal macrosomia, a heavier birth weight poses a risk to both the baby and the mother. If a baby weighs more than 8.8 pounds, the risk of delivery problems, C-sections, postpartum hemorrhage and low Apgar scores all increase, according to background information in the study. Larger birth weights have also been associated with an increased risk of obesity later in life, according to the researchers.

The study also reported that the number of too-big babies appears to be on the rise, while the number of women exercising during pregnancy is on the decline.

To measure what effect regular exercise has on newborn weight, the Norwegian researchers reviewed data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. That database included information on nearly 37,000 women, whose pregnancies lasted at least 37 weeks.

All of the women were pregnant with one child. Two-thirds of the women were normal weight, and 20 percent were overweight, but not obese.

Exercise information was gathered at weeks 17 and 30 of the pregnancies. In women who'd never been pregnant before, 43 percent said they exerc
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